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Archive for July, 2011

crab

Yellow Flower Crab Spider

crab2

Mellow Yellow

See My Favorite Spider for information about crab spiders.

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Frans Hals

Frans Hals (Flory 1955)

It’s been an amazing summer for daylilies here. Although it has been very hot and dry, a few thunderstorms have rolled through and kept things from becoming totally parched. Some of the plants have put on wonderful displayed, but the daylily season is beginning to wind down now. Early bloomers are finished, middle bloomers are getting down to their last few buds, and there are only two or three plants left that are just now about to open their first flowers. Here is a display of some of the flowers that have been brightening the garden this week, everything from an old favorite, Frans Hals, introduced in 1955 to Old King Cole, a new spring arrival in my garden.

Priscilla's Dream

Priscilla's Dream (Shooter 1993)

Prince Redbird

Prince Redbird (Sellers 1986)

Dragon Dreams

Dragon Dreams (Salter 1991)

Old King Cole

Old King Cole (Moldovan 1995)

Red Patent Leather

Red Patent Leather (Wild 1977)

Umbrella Parade

Umbrella Parade (Temple 1990)

Moonlight Orchid

Moonlight Orchid (Talbott 1986)

Cat Dancer

Cat Dancer (Moore 1992)

Later Alligator

Later Alligator (Reed 1997)

Eloquent Silence

Eloquent Silence (Salter 1993)

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bigbullfrog

It’s been interesting to observe the changes to the frog community in our little pond. Just a few weeks old, the pond already looks quite settled, with water plants and duckweek created interesting patterns on the water surface. Within a few days of set up, frogs were already moving in, little Green Frogs (Rana clamitans melanota). Then I noticed that some of the Green Frogs were, in fact, Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). The two species are rather similar, but Bullfrogs are bigger, the largest frog species in North America. Knowing this isn’t too helpful, though, when you are looking at two juveniles of similar size, and a big Green Frog can attain impressive proportions too.

twofrogs

When I looked carefully at this pair, sitting together on a log, I could see that the individual on the right is a Bullfrog, while the leaper on the left is a Green Frog. The green on the Bullfrog’s face is more broad and shades into his body colour, while the bright green on the Green Frog’s face more closely resembles a moustache. Also, you can easily see the distinctive line formed by the dorsolateral fold running along the upper side of the Green Frog.

For a while, the little frogs all shared the pond. On one day, I counted 15 of them. Then, a very large, mature Bullfrog moved in. That’s him in the opening photo. That cleared the pond! It’s a big frog eat little frog world, and the juveniles decided it was time to seek out new living quarters. I heard the Bullfrog singing last night, but this morning when I looked in the pond, I couldn’t see any frogs. Not one. It will be interesting to see how the population changes over the remainder of the season. Below is a photograph of one of the smaller frogs resting in duckweed. I like the way his pattern camophlages him so well in the vegetation.

pond1

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break1

Light horsekeeping is one of the many attractions of summer. Once the weather is nice and there is sufficient pasture, my horses are very happy to be living outside. In winter, they stay in their stalls, out of the weather, at night, but once hot summer days arrive, nighttime is the best time for grazing, out of the daytime flies and heat.

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They still come back to their stalls twice a day to enjoy a small serving of grain. This lets me check them over and make sure they are alright and apply bug spray or attend to scrapes as necessary.

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In the morning, I walk out to the field and call them to come in. Teddy often leads the way.

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Everyone returns to their own stall. Mostly. Here’s Mousie, getting down to business.

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The donkeys share a stall, where they each have their own bucket. Once Teddy has finished his own grain, he heads over to see if he can finish off Louis’s.

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Easy-going Louis doesn’t mind sharing. He’s a bit on the tubby side anyway.

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Soon everyone is heading back outside. Czarina usually leads the way.

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Mousie stops and looks back at me, sticking out her tongue! “You can’t catch me, I’m a wild horse!”

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Soon they’re all back in the pasture, happily grazing.

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Flaming Wildfire

Flaming Wildfire

On Monday, we were blessed with a beautiful, soothing rain, a steady daylong drizzle. You could almost hear the overheated earth sigh with relief. The fine mist of rain was perfect for the garden, with no driving downpour to beat down stalks; just a gentle wash of much-needed moisture.

Laura Harwood

Laura Harwood

An overcast day, even with a bit of rain, can be great for capturing photographs of brightly coloured flowers that can look washed-out in full sun. The vibrant reds and deep purples seem to shine even more brilliantly in the gloom. Here are photographs of some of the flowers that were singing in the rain.

Alabaster Angel

Alabaster Angel

Nile Crane

Nile Crane

Texas Gal

Texas Gal

Beautiful Edgings

Beautiful Edgings

Starman's Quest

Starman's Quest

Tigerling

Tigerling

Scarlet Pansy and Catherine Neal

Scarlet Pansy and Catherine Neal

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viceroy

Viceroy on echinacea 'Ruby Star'

If you want to attract butterflies to your yard, echinacea, or coneflower is a good choice to add to your border. On Sunday, I was able to photograph both Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and Viceroys (Limenitis archippus) as they visited the echinacea in the garden. These very similar butterflies are easily confused. Last September, I wrote about telling Viceroys and Monarchs apart and will repeat an excerpt here. You can read the full post and view more photographs of Viceroys and Monarchs by following this link to Royal Butterflies.

Viceroys are a bit smaller than Monarchs but the easiest way to tell them apart is to look for the black line that loops across the Viceroy’s hindwing. This line doesn’t appear on a Monarch’s wing. The line can be spotted whether the wings are open or closed. Viceroys aren’t closely related to Monarchs, but derive some protection from predators by mimicking the colour of the larger butterfly, well-known for its noxious qualities. It is now thought that the Viceroy may be equally distasteful to predators in its own right.

monarch

Monarch on echinacea 'Tangerine Dream'

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frogg

Keeping Cool

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laugh1

The summer garden is at its most magnificent. In spite of the gruelling heat and lack of rain, flowers are everywhere. Whenever I walk through the garden, I am reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s line: Earth laughs in flowers. Emerson’s Earth laughs that we mere mortals should think that we can possess the land, the soil, which will carry on long after we are gone to the grave. We are not landowners at all, but merely temporary stewards. Take good care.

Country Melody

Rococco

Smuggler's Dream with Tangerine Dream

Chesapeake Crablegs

Hamatreya

(excerpt)

Minott, Lee, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, ” ‘Tis mine, my children’s, and my name’s:
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows’ on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds;
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.

Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882)

Elegant Candy

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Garden Stroller

turk

When I glanced out the window yesterday evening, I was surprised to see someone strolling in the garden…a turkey! The big bird seemed to be on its own, and appeared to be enjoying the floral display. It casually paced up and down the yard before disappearing into undergrowth at the side of the lawn. Although we do occasionally have a small flock of turkeys drop by to check out the bird feeder, I don’t put out seed in the summer, and haven’t had any turkey visitors in quite a while.

Today it was hot, hot, hot. Like much of the continent, we have been caught up in a major heat wave. Over a dozen daytime heat records were broken across southern Ontario and southern Quebec, and in Ottawa, the temperature climbed to 36, with the accompanying high humidity resulting in a Humidex reading of 45 degrees C (113 F). No gardening today!

turk2

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Palomino Moon

Palomino Moon (Stamile 1989)

For anyone who may be suffering from daylily withdrawal, here are the latest in daylily blooms. The name of each plant is followed by the name of the hybridizer and the date the cultiver was registered or introduced.

Outrageous

Outrageous (Stevens 1978)

Unique Purple

Unique Purple (Childs 1979)

Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait (Hansen 1990)

Asterisk

Asterisk (Lambert 1985)

Roswitha

Roswitha (Trimmer 1992)

South Seas

South Seas (Moldovan 1993)

New Series

New Series (Carpenter 1982)

Malaysian Monarch

Malaysian Monarch (Munson 1986)

Priscilla's Rainbow

Priscilla's Rainbow (Spalding 1986)

Pink Super Spider

Pink Super Spider (Carpenter 1982)

Tralyta

Trahlyta (Childs 1982)

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