Sunday, June 19, 2011

birds and the bees

This bundle of fireworks is butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). It is a host plant for Monarch butterflies who eat the leaves as caterpillars.

The sweet yellow blooms here are evening primrose, sometimes called sundrops (Oenothera biennis).

Tall bell flower (Campanula americana) is seen here, bells drooping. I think they would be aptly called wedding bells instead because they bloom in June and the white blossoms are so stunning.

This sad little scene will be something truly special when I'm finished! I've started our first vegetable garden (on the left) with tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and carrots. The empty grassy area will become a little patio with an outdoor easel, table, and chairs for E to make art. Or help in the garden!
My garden has been keeping me busy this spring! I've got more weeds than common sense yet I still make new planting beds. The existing ones have sprung into action. A good friend of mine, a certified Master Gardener, told me "the first year they (your plants) sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap!" She's so right.

One of my favorite things about gardening is all the bugs. I am completely taken with insects, spiders, and all manner of creepies. (Well, they're not creepy to me, anyway.) But I really love BEES! Sadly, bee populations are in sharp decline. There are many theories about why nearly 1/3 of them are gone, but very little action to help them. Read up at the Huffington Post or this NRDC article. My father always said if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. For me, I hope I'm helping the little buzzers with plenty of nectar and pollen from native wildflowers.

As for the birds, they're more like pigs in my yard! I can hardly keep the feeders full. And, this is big excitement folks, our ruby-throated hummingbird has returned!!! I saw it yesterday drinking from my bee balm. Today the hummingbird feeder will go up - and I hope to get a picture of it to share!

This is bee balm, one of my favorites and a favorite for hummingbirds, too. (Monarda didyma).

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Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!
Our little guy at 15 months, February 2011.