Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Around The Yard

Another drizzly day. The damp dogs are all stretched out in their favorite napping places around the house, so I ventured out into the yard alone. How novel !! First, of course, I had to scoop. Then I had a look at some of the garden life.

This year I planted a Mandevilla. I saw my first one at Longwood Gardens years ago. It was winding it's way around the upper wall of the conservatory. It was so beautiful, but I didn't really have an area for it and the weather in Maryland didn't seem right for it. Since moving here, I've seen sev
eral wrapped around a lamp post or a trellis, so this was the year. I didn't plant much this year because the Crazy Dogs of Portugal like to trample or eat flowers or use them to play tug with each other.

My little plant is safely planted in a large pot on the front deck and I wanted to coax it to wrap around the deck post. The plant had other ideas. Each day I would carefully unwrap it from the stick and place it around the post. The next morning it would have unwrapped itself from the po
st and again be tied tightly around the stick. Finally , last week I won. It stayed around the post. Then I started noticing something that might possibly develop into a bud. Yes, a couple days later I took this picture of the first buds.

These flowers take forever to develop and open. Every couple of days I documented their progress.

This looks like it's ready to open, doesn't it. Nope ! It had days to go.

Yesterday really looked promising. It can't be much longer, now.

This morning I was feeding Lucy, who has decided that she will only eat if fed from a spoon. I know, I shouldn't let her get away with it, but she's so old and sick that I just want her to eat and the fastest way is to just spoon feed her. Besides in a couple days she'll change her mind and only eat if Rob holds an umbrella over her or some other crazy idea. Anyway I was feeding Lucy when Rob called me from the front porch and said to bring my camera. It has opened.

Isn't it pretty !! On the other side of the post is another one that should be open tomorrow. I hope they last more than a day.

On my solitary trip around the back yard, first I had to release a baby bluebird that somehow got trapped in the chiminea. I don't know how it got in there, but it's parents were sitting on the fence screeching and it was beating it's little wings against the screen. I opened the screen and the baby flew directly to it's parents who started feeding it.

Next I checked on my pink coneflowers. With the fencing protecting them from my dog stalkers, they're thriving. This is the best year they've had.

The two butterfly bushes are in flower and although I haven't seen any neat butterflies yet, just a few tiny moths, today one of my favorites was here, a hummingbird moth. We have lots of them every year and last year counted sixteen at one time feeding on the butterfly bush. They were all sizes, maybe some family groups.

They don't seem very concerned about people getting close and Rob likes to put his finger out and feel the movement of their wings as they hover.

Today there was only one.

Our big toad that lived with us all last summer came back a few nights ago. I think she dug into the dirt under the steps for the winter. I've only seen her a couple times so far, but with all this rain, she's probably living in the garden feasting on bugs. We have seen several tiny little toad, about the size of a penny. They come out in the evening and jump around on the bricks of the patio. I have to try to distract the dogs. Actually, only Tsar seems to notice them.

I hope someone moves into the toad house soon. I would prefer that to living under the dog bowls.

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