Painted ladies all flown

May 20, 2007 - Rich and I are empty nesters! :( After watching our Painted Lady caterpillars grow up and turn into butterflies, we decided to let them free today. Our backyard is so full of nectar, they weren’t quite sure which flower to fly to first! I got some cool pictures as they discovered their new world. Then […]

Roses!

May 19, 2007 - I was finally home for long enough to be outside to take some pictures today! Most of my roses are blooming. Shown here is ‘Gemini’. A nice surprise was the bloom show put on by ‘Black Cherry’ this week…this was the rose that took the longest to start blooming, but now it is absolutely covered […]

Purple coneflower

May 11, 2007 - With all the smoke in the air this week, we haven’t been outside that much. I did run out to snap this picture of my first purple coneflower bloom. I haven’t seen any butterflies on it, but tons of insects have been crawling all over it. Here’s hoping for some butterbird sightings for the cats […]

New rosebed complete

May 6, 2007 - The rose bed is all done!!! It looks so good! This bloom is ‘Peace’. I can’t wait to see them all in bloom! I’m also really excited about my new mandevilla vine, which color coordinates quite nicely with my Rambo daylily. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we started planting. Take a […]

Another trip to Lukas

May 4, 2007 - What was Rich thinking? He offered to take me to Lukas after a bad week at work!! I went looking for the red mandevilla to put by the back door, but saw the display of limited-edition ‘Pope John Paul II’ roses that I’ve been drooling over and, well, of course one had to come home […]

Cardinal

April 30, 2007 - They say that you learn something new every day. Today’s lesson was that cardinals chew with their mouths open!

New visitors to the yard

April 28, 2007 - Squirt had an exciting day watching over the backyard from his grill today. We had two new visitors — a Sleepy Orange butterfly and a female Brown-Headed Cowbird. We also realized that our two finches are actually at least four finches. It was a good day to be a porch cat!

First floribunda blooms

April 25, 2007 - More roses! I just can’t resist the temptation to take lots of pictures of my new bed. Here are all the first blooms of the roses that I planted bareroot just about six weeks ago.

Rose mania

April 24, 2007 - Look at ‘Honey Perfume’!! Tonight we were walking through the neighborhood and came across a beautiful rose bed in someone’s front yard. They were very well established (canes over an inch thick!!) and just bursting with blooms. Now I want to plant some more roses!

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2007 - We don’t have room to add another tree to our yard, but we did add an extra hummingbird feeder today. :) I got a picture of the two house finches together. They visit our yard several times a day to sample from our feeders. Their song is so sweet!

There was a hummingbird in our yard!!!!

April 20, 2007 - We saw a hummingbird in the yard today!!!!! It was really truly a hummingbird, not one of those imitation moths. He came to nectar at the red hibiscus tree. Later I saw him again at Carla’s oleander. He was so little, and he moved so fast, but he was definitely a Ruby-throated hummingbird! It’s so […]

New rose blooms

April 18, 2007 - The first bloom on my new roses opened today! This one is ‘Simply Marvelous!’ (Although I think Goldy is more concerned about watching a bird than watching the rose…)

Bobby the Mockingbird

April 17, 2007 - Meet Bobby the Mockingbird. His name is Bobby because of the way he perches on the oleander branches, under the suet feeders, and bobs up and down for his dinner. Here he seems to be searching the yard for twigs…hopefully he’s helping his wife Bobetta build a nest! (Now we need a name for the […]

Windy spring

April 15, 2007 - The wind tried to blow the garden away today, but luckily it did not succeed! I guess ‘Butterscotch Ruffles’ liked the wind and rain, because it opened this beautiful flower late in the afternoon. The rain was good for the new flower bed, though. See the Garden Craze page for a picture. The house finches […]

Grass-aholics Anonymous

April 13, 2007 - Grass-aholics Anonymous: Hi, my name is Jess, and I pulled five bags of grass today… Looks like the house finches we’ve been seeing in the last week or so may be a mating pair. Today’s picture is of the male.

Well, the bird bath works

April 11, 2007 - For the first time today we saw a bird actually take a bath in the bird bath. Normally it’s used simply as a birdie water fountain. We enjoyed watching this brown-headed cowbird splash around!

Bobwhite visitor

April 8, 2007 - Happy Easter! The cold kept me indoors this morning, but luckily it warmed up enough for me to be outside to see this Northern Bobwhite scurrying through the yard. First he visited Goldy’s feeder, then my big one, then Carla’s next door. It’s fun to watch different birds pass through!

Sunflowers

April 7, 2007 - Another sunflower bloomed! I planted these during our warm snap in January. The mourning doves got to most of the seeds, but this one managed to germinate. Note to self: plant sunflowers in pots away from birds first, then put in ground after they’re a few inches tall! I think the next seeds will go […]

Sunflower

April 6, 2007 - Another bird sunflower has bloomed…and this one is really pretty. :) Unfortunately I’m learning that the flowers, in order to face the sun, face away from the house, into the neighbors’ yards. Although I’m sure that’s nice for them, that’s not exactly what I was going for! Now I know where to plant my next […]

Common Buckeye in the backyard

April 3, 2007 - Poor butterfly! I was so excited to see our first Common Buckeye in our backyard, and then I saw that half his wings are missing. :( I hope none of our birds are the culprit…there is plenty of seed in the bird feeders, they don’t need to go eating poor defenseless butterflies!

Freaky-looking caterpillar

April 1, 2007 - I was pulling out a dead pentas plant today when suddenly I realized that it was staring back at me…upon closer examination, there was a freaky-looking caterpillar eating away at the plant. Apparently this is the caterpillar form of the Sphinx Moth, the moth that I mistook for a hummingbird last summer.

House finches

March 31, 2007 - Two female House Finches visited our tube feeder today. Their sweet little calls and tidy eating habits were a treat for people used to hosting the squawking grackles!

Rose vs. Gardenia…who will bloom first?

March 30, 2007 - My ‘Tuscan Sun’ rose has four little buds on it! I couldn’t believe it when I saw them. The rose was planted just three weeks ago. Now it’s a race between the roses and the gardenia to see who will bloom first…the silly gardenia has had little buds for almost two months now, and it […]

Sharp-shinned hawk

March 26, 2007 - Yesterday another hawk visited the yard. I heard a rustle of feathers and went outside to make sure the cats didn’t get too excited. Then I saw the hawk sitting on top of my big bird feeder, acting as if he owned the yard! I fussed at him to leave my birds alone, and he […]

‘Yangtze’ daylily

March 25, 2007 - I think I pulled enough grass for the next three months of garden craze, all in this one weekend! The side yard by the patio is now all mulched in, with a small bed of zinnias to line the stepping stones to the side yard. I added a bed in the front of the house […]

New caterpillar

March 21, 2007 - I saw this caterpillar on my heliotrope plant today. I have no idea what kind it is…I can’t find it in my field guide. :-p

Happy Bird-watching

March 18, 2007 - This is the reason we started putting out bird feeders…Miss Goldilocks loves to watch her birds through our windows. Here a mourning dove was so excited to pig out in my tray feeder that he hardly realized that he was on center stage in Goldy’s window!

Growth in the garden

March 16, 2007 - My roses started putting on new growth the day after they were planted! Today the first little leaves appeared (see below). I’m amazed at how fast they are growing! :) Spring has definitely sprung! The crape myrtles are starting to put on new growth, and I saw the first blooms on my groundcover ruellia that […]

Bareroot roses

March 10, 2007 - Roses! Finally! They arrived yesterday, soaked last night, and went in the ground this morning. Pictured below is ‘Tuscan Sun’. Look in the Garden Craze for a picture of the whole new rose bed. They look like stubby little things now, but in a few months they’ll be gorgeous! :-)

Hummers

March 8, 2007 - It sounds like the hummingbirds are back in Florida! I’ve been reading this discussion on GardenWeb for the last year or so, and there was just a post that there was a hummingbird sighting in Clermont, just a few miles west of us. I hope the hummers find our yard! The feeders are full of […]

Suet consumption

March 7, 2007 - For the past few nights one of our neighborhood mockingbirds has been visiting our suet feeders after the blackbirds leave for the night. He hasn’t quite gotten the hang of perching, though! Occasionally he is joined by the bright red cardinal, who also enjoys having the feeder to himself late in the evening. We haven’t […]

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal

March 3, 2007 - Goldy had two cardinal visitors today…and I got this wonderful picture of both of them together! We asked them to please make a nest in our trees!

New customers

March 2, 2007 - This afternoon a flock of brown-headed cowbirds joined our regular red-winged blackbirds at the feeder. We didn’t even notice until the new customers started singing, and it sounded very different than our usual afternoon regulars. The male birds pigged out at the feeder, leaving the poor female birdies (like the one below) to sit in […]

Garden craze continues…

February 24, 2007 - The Garden Craze continues as I finished planting my “Carla Extension Bed” this weekend. I wanted to get roses at Lukas this weekend, too, but since they didn’t have the ones I wanted, I finally ordered them online. They’ll arrive bareroot in two weeks. I can’t wait to get some more plants into the nice […]

Sunflowers, courtesy of the birds

February 23, 2007 - I guess spring really is here! :) To celebrate this sunflower bloomed in my backyard. I should reconsider pulling the little sunflower sprouts from under my bird feeders – the flowers are really pretty!

It’s time for spring!

February 20, 2007 - OK, enough freezing weather, it’s time for spring! Luckily the flowers don’t seem bothered by our 30-degree temperatures from over the weekend. I went ahead and pruned back the crape myrtles and my roses, so the warmer weather had better be here to stay!

Great Backyard Bird Count

February 16, 2007 - Today is the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count. We counted over 100 birds this afternoon, including this close-up that I finally got of our neighborhood Loggerhead Shrike.

Cedar waxwings and robins

February 10, 2007 - The oak trees in front of the house have been full of cedar waxwings for the last couple of mornings. There’s been a flock of robins hanging around, too. Some of both stopped in at my fountain for a drink… Most of the waxwings stayed in the trees. There were so many!!

Female cardinal

February 3, 2007 - I was pleased to get a picture of the female cardinal I saw this afternoon (see below). I know cardinals are fairly common, but in our yard anything that isn’t a blackbird or dove is a welcome change! We also saw two Loggerhead Shrikes. I’ve seen them before but never gotten close enough to identify […]

Groundhog Day

February 2, 2007 - It’s Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow…I think our early spring has already started, but I’m hoping the groundhog is right and this cold snap we’ve been having will go away soon!

Hawk

January 31, 2007 - I saw a hawk sitting on my neighbor Ken’s house today. It’s the third time I’ve seen a hawk in our yard in the last couple of months. No wonder there were very few birds singing this evening!

Bird-bird-bird!

January 27, 2007 - The blackbirds have definitely discovered my new feeder in the front window. I think Goldy, has, too, given the amount of time she spends lying on the living room couch these days. Actually, there are two blackbirds that just hopped to the feeder as I type…so I sound the “bird-bird-bird!” call to the cats…and right […]

House Finch

January 26, 2007 - We had a visit from a House Finch today! My field guide says these birds live only in the north of Florida, but some have been reported in the Orlando area. The finch appeared first in the oak tree in front of the house, then later at the feeder, and then later in a neighbor’s […]

Monarch on angelonia

January 23, 2007 - This monarch surprised me being in the garden at sunset tonight. Usually the butterflies are long gone by that hour. I wondered if he was sick, because he was crawling all over the angelonia very slowly. Then I wondered if he might be laying eggs. The angelonia is not a host plant for him, but […]

Red-wing blackbirds

January 17, 2007 - Birds-birds-birds! We are getting visits from at least 50 red-wing blackbirds and grackles each morning and evening. Goldy and Squirt like the mourning doves, too (their call as they try to land on the feeder reminds us of a call “watch out below!!!”). It’d be fun to have more songbirds in the yard, but it’s […]