Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gardening Philosophy

Part of my personal gardening philosophy is that I have a moral imperative to share "my" garden with the other animals that live there. I do have exceptions for potentially dangerous animals. No yellow jackets allowed, for example (The Husband is allergic and yellow jackets are too aggressive). But otherwise I live and let live. 

My philosophy is sometimes strained. The year we had a sawfly outbreak and their larvae munched on my Aqueligia leaves (columbine) so bad that they actually killed a couple of plants (the Denver Gold was the only the only thing that didn't come back) was rough. But, unlike most of my fellow tool using primates, I restrained from dumping poison into the environment for the sake of aesthetics and most of my Aquelegia came back just fine.

Yes, I am a bit rabid about environmental protection.

This year I have a new challenge.

"Tamias minimus" by Phil Armitage - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Chipmunks. We seems to have a large number of them in our area this year. The Husband (and The Cats) have spotted them in our yard. I've seen several of them in our neighborhood and I've seen the signs in my garden.

It's hard to see but there is a chipmunk hole under the crocus foliage.

Sadly for me chipmunks eat bulbs. So much for my tulips. I guess I'll plant them in pots this winter.

Good for me chipmunks also eat seeds. They can have ALL of the maple seeds they can eat!

It may be a challenge for my garden but my belief system says I need to let them stay. Besides it would be really difficult to get rid of them. I'm a biologist and I understand how niches work. Got a niche? Something will fill it.  I get rid of the girl in my garden and someone else will move it.Better a chipmunk than a ground hog or a skunk!

Besides. It entertains the cats.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I'm Ready for My Close Up

Working with my new Macro Lens is both fun and challenging. Fun because you get up close and personal with the garden (I'm sure the neighbors think I'm weird when they see me contorting to get the lens at the right angle that close to the ground) 

Aqueligia fragrans (columbine) against the sky -  a fragrant variety I grew from seeds I had to order from Plant World Seeds in the United Kingdom. Shot from BELOW.

and challenging because I live about 2 miles from the ocean as the gull flies and there is almost always a breeze blowing. This is nice on warm afternoons and miserable when you're trying to photograph plants.

Here's my latest stuff.

Hope you don't mind insect photos. I really enjoy all of the invertebrate life my garden attracts and now I can take pictures of all the little guys and gals!
I don't know what this is. Looks kind of like a small crane fly. I'll have to hit

Pansies (Viola tricolor var. bigboxus) are still looking good. I suspect they'll be done after this week of temperatures in the 80s.

A friendly Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) wanting to know what I'm doing down on the ground by the pansies. She eventually turned around and went back in her hiding spot. I have at least three that are frequenting my front garden this year and helping me stay slug-free!

A Petunia (Petunia lgc) that was planted around the pansies that will hopefully replace them as the pansies die from the heat.

So many of today's shots are from the area by the fireplace because that area is somewhat protected from the breezes. 

And this Hymenopteran (bee or wasp) is what really makes my new lens exciting. It was crawling across the petunia as I was photographing the bloom and I just caught it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Toy

I had a busy and challenging semester this past spring so The Husband bought me a new toy. A macro lens for my camera. It's the Venus (Laowa Lens) V-DX 60 mm F2.8, 2:1 super macro lens.

In laymens' terms - it takes pictures of tiny things very close up.

Like ants eating a nut.

Not close enough? How about this..

It was windy today (as usual) so I took the lens into the woods to take close ups of some native plants.

Fiddlehead, up close

Jack in the Pulpit

Solomon's seal

The thing is, when you are close enough to the ground to take pictures this up close and personal you notice other things, too.

Like a tiny spider hiding among the blooms on the Solomon's seal (the black dot is caterpillar frass!)

And the fly that keeps landing on the fiddlehead near the one I'm photographing.

And the wasp (I think) with bright red "thighs."

I wish I'd taken entomology when I was in college. Or that an entomology class was offered at a university near me at a time I could attend the class (the only one I've found near by meets at the same time as our weekly faculty meetings - I'd much rather take the class!).

For you, dear reader, this will (hopefully) mean more and better photographs.

If I can muster enough patience to wait out the sea breezes.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2015

What a relief. A long, hard, snowy winter, even by New England standards, a challenging semester at work and now, finally, it's spring like weather and summer break (I love being a lecturing professor!) and my garden is full of blooms. Here's a sampling.

 All these irises are from Rainbow Iris Farm
Want something out of the ordinary? This is the place to go.
I wish I had room for more...

Guess which bulb got in the wrong bag...

Very fragrant Viburnum - can you smell it from there?

Some annuals. I have a lot of pots around the yard that I fill with annuals. These are just a sample.

And my volunteers. The "wild" violets that I allow to grow as a cheerful ground cover.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bothering the Neighbors

I have several plants that will re-seed in the garden - Liatris, Penstemon, Agastache - mostly I don't mind because I can ID the seedlings and pull them out if I don't want them. But I do sometimes worry they're spreading into my neighbor's yard.

Notice the Penstemon is right at the edge of their yard (and yes, I have seen it show up in their yard, too. I guess I need to be better about dead heading).

But what I didn't expect to spread was one of my species tulips! This is a seedling of Little Beauty, a great species tulip that comes back every year [from Brent and Becky]. This looks so good that I may have to order some more and plant them IN my lawn. The foliage would be disguised in the grass and I'd have a spring blooming lawn!

If my neighbor's complain I'll point to their even more problematic bamboo that keep sneaking under the fence! Guess which one will be harder to manage.