Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer is Half Over


I know you don't want to hear that, and believe me, I don't either - but it's true. If you haven't done anything exciting yet that you were planning on doing during the nice weather then it's time to schedule that activity now and DO IT! before the weather cools off. . .

Can't believe that summer is half over. Where did it go? The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooling off. We've been below 60 F overnight, and some birds are already heading south like the tree swallows and purple martins.

Turkey Vulture soaring in the thermals

This summer certainly has been a comfortable one here in northern/central New York. We've only had a few hot days with high humidity, and most of the days have been in the 70's with low humidity. It's been a pretty good gardening season, too. We had a sufficient amount of rain for the most part earlier in the summer so the gardens have needed little supplemental watering, but the past few weeks have seen little rainfall and now the trees and gardens are showing their stress.

Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario with Association Islands in the background

From my observation, the Lake Ontario water level has been high since early spring. It hasn't gone down much at all yet. From all the rain throughout the Great Lakes this has contributed to the high water levels. There is a significant amount of large debris being washed into Lake Ontario from the tributaries that empty into it as well as from the other four Great Lakes. Several large logs and roots can be seen along the shorelines, and boaters have reported seeing these large logs floating out in the lake several feet from shore. Boaters beware because sometimes these large logs are floating just below the surface.

My daylilies have proved to be very beautiful this year. I'm not sure why, but it could be from all the rain we've had this spring and summer. Also, my husband cleared out a few dead trees in our backyard and that's opened it up a little to provide more sun for one of the daylily gardens.
I wasn't sure how my daylilies were going to do, because it looked like some of them were not going to come up this spring and when they did come up they were extremely little. I don't know if they got damaged by all the snow and long winter or something else. I was remembering that last year I used some Slug Bait around the perimeter of the daylily gardens, and the directions advise not to use around daylilies. Well, I thought that if I used some around the edges that that would be ok. Well, it's possible that it harmed some of the plants and that's why some of the were slow in coming up. Also, some of them even failed to bloom. I hope they recover fully next year.

One of several species of  Globe Thistle (Echinops).
This one was given to me by a friend and has soft leaves. 

My iris bed is a mess. It really needs a lot of work. I probably should move it to a location where it's a little drier and gets more sun. I might do this by gradually splitting up my irises and planting them in a different area (after I figure out where I'm going to move them to).

Ligularia - The Rocket

I've got some other chores lined up for later in the season. I'll have to dig up and split some of the more aggressive daylilies, and I have some tall perennials that need to be moved because they are too distracting where I have them planted currently. I'll also need to dig up a peony that's pretty close to a pine tree and no longer blooms anymore.

Crocosmia. (Pictured below) The crocosmia is a hardy perennial (Hardiness Zones 5-9) and is related to the gladiola family. When the plant comes up in the spring, it sends up tall narrow leaves that look like Siberian Iris leaves. The flowers appear later in the season (about the time the daylilies bloom) on arching spikes of little flowers that resemble the Cana lilies flowers only smaller. They are available in mostly hot colors and depending on the variety can bloom from mid-summer through early fall. They do well in full sun and most any type of soil. They may flop over so I've supported them by putting a peony hoop around a clump of them. They can grow from 35 to 45 inches tall. They attract butterflies and humming birds. They look nice in a border and do well in containers, too. They are also attractive as a cut flower in arrangements or as a single specimen. And another plus is that they are deer and rabbit resistant. If you live in a an extremely cold area you might want to mulch them well over the winter. I have had lost a few over the winter extreme temperatures. Or you can dig up the corms (like gladiola) and store them inside over the winter.

Crocosmia (not sure of the variety, was given to me by a friend)

A new bird to add to our list was a recent sighting of an American Redstart that found our birdbath in our backyard and used it for taking long refreshing baths for at least two days in a row. It was a nice surprise and I heard its call before in our backyard, but I wasn't familiar with it and I wasn't able to identify it until I saw the bird. I wish I had a better photo to share with you, but the one pictured below was taken from inside our house through a screened window.

American Redstart

Have you ever seen a woodpecker drink from a hummingbird feeder? Me neither.
Also not as sharp as I would have liked it - taken through a screened window.

Two baby Ospreys on left, and parent Osprey on right.

May your summer days be filled with sunshine, rainbows, frogs, butterflies, and ice cream!

Have a great week!

Feel free to leave a comment . . .


  1. Enjoyed your blog....I like the photos taken through the screens!


    1. Thanks, Ann. It would be nice if the photos were a little sharper, but I knew that those birds would fly away if I went outside. So I guess I'll take what I can get.

  2. I like your birds, especially the Redstart. I never saw a woodpecker at the hummingbird feeder either. You got some rain. I heard while I was away we got a deluge too. It must have been quite the storm. You were lucky to escape the heat though. It was very uncomfortable in PA in the mid-nineties.

    1. Thanks, Donna. The Redstart came to the birdbath a few days in a row. It was really great to watch this new visitor. The birds are full of antics this season. The woodpecker continues to drink out of the hummingbird feeder, and we had robins at our Oriole jelly feeders.
      We've had some strong storms here, with quite a bit of rain, but it's still pretty dry in the area.

    2. Sue, thank you for your thoughts. I am still not blogging, but wanted to say I appreciate your concern. Hopefully, I will be feeling better soon.

  3. Hi Susan,
    I live in Scriba and this is the first time in 15+ years that I have seen woodpeckers at my hummingbird feeders! And we have always had suet feeders...
    I am envious of your gardens. I don't have the time or energy right now, only to find I am feeding wildlife! "They" are eating things never touched before this year.

    1. Hi Marian, That is the exact same thing that's happening in our yard as far as the woodpeckers. We've always had suet feeders out even in the summer and the adults would bring their babies to the suet feeder. But we've never had them at the hummingbird feeders before.
      I'm getting tired out, too, when it comes to doing certain chores in the gardens. I certainly don't feel like doing much outside when it's hot and humid out either. We've had problems with deer and continue to, but we've been using Liquid Fence and that seems to discourage them quite a bit. The Liquid Fence is somewhat expensive, but we buy the concentrated form and it goes pretty far. We spray it on about once a week in the early summer. Then when things are finishing up later on in the season, not quite as often. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Lovely shots Sue. I have seen woodpeckers at the oriole feeder...they can't get anything from my hummingbird daylilies were spectacular this year too...our summer was a bit warmer here and it seems the temps in the 80s this week and next will keep summer going a bit longer.

    1. Thank you, Donna. I'm wondering if the woodpeckers are changing their eating habits. Our hummingbird feeder is directly above our birdbath which is also next to the pond so it's not like there is no fresh water available for the birds. I think they are developing a sweet tooth or just find it easier to drink the hummingbird food.
      Even though I don't like the high humidity or high temperatures, I'm enjoying our heat because I know it won't be around much longer. A great way to end the season.
      Thanks for commenting.

  5. Beautiful to see your pictures after another rainy day. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, CJ. It's hard to believe that less than a month ago there were so many beautiful perennials in bloom, and now they are winding down fast. Too fast for me. I'm not really ready for all that fall clean-up. And even though we need the rain it is rather depressing after two days in a row of it.