Thursday, June 2, 2016

Birds and Ferns and Other Growing Things

It's still spring, right? Well, around here you never know. It could be a cold season like we had in April or a hot summer/spring like we had last week with temperatures in the high 80's. We started off with a slow spring and then the heat brought out all the spring bloomers as well as the black flies and mosquitoes and other annoying bugs that fly in your eyes when you're trying to get some stuff done in your gardens.

Warm, dry temperatures are predicted for the northeast for this summer. That will mean dragging your hoses around to keep those flowers blooming and the vegetables coming.

Photo taken by my husband, Ted, looking down into one of the ferns. 
I usually like gardening in cool weather because you can cover up with long-sleeves and sweats and not be bothered with all the bugs that get in your eyes or bite which causes itching sometimes for several days.

Bleeding Heart
Quite a few of the spring shrubs and perennials are just gorgeous this year. Like the Lilacs, Alliums, and Irises, but yet other perennials seem to be struggling like the Bleeding Hearts and Poppies. My guess is that possibly some plants perform better under stress. I have a Weeping Cherry tree that had only one poor blossom on it. Hopefully, the (fruit) cherry trees will not suffer from the cold snap we had in April-May.

I have several hostas that have not all leafed out yet. I think they were very late in our area.

Sweet Woodruff in bloom around the hosta garden.

Bumblebee on Wood hyacinths (Bluebells)

Close-up view of Sweet Woodruff and Lily-of-the-Valley

We are enjoying the return of our migratory birds that spend their winters in the south. We've either seen or heard the Woodthrush, Catbirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Brown Thrashers, and Bluebirds.

Eastern Towhee -female 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak -male

Eastern Bluebird 

Ted made the PVC birdhouses (pictured above) several years ago to attract Bluebirds. We've had Tree Swallows nest in it every year, but this year the Bluebirds beat out the Tree Swallows to the box.

Ted got a great picture of this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird with her tongue out.
Pileated Woodpecker - Male 

My husband, Ted, got some great photos of a Pileated Woodpecker (in the photos above). The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the largest birds of the forest. They do not kill trees. These woodpeckers drill large rectangular holes in dead or fallen trees. They are searching for carpenter ants which is their favorite food. These large holes in dead trees also offer great nesting sites for owls, ducks, and other bird species. We have never seen them at any of our suet feeders, but a friend of mine had them at one of their feeders.

If you are in the area the Pulaski Garden Club will be having a Plant Sale on June 18, 2016 from 10am to 2pm at the Pulaski Wesleyan Church, 4591 US Rt 11, Pulaski, NY. Also, the Pulaski Garden Club will be hosting a Garden Tour on July 9, 2016. Hope you can make it!

In the midst of movement and chaos, 
keep stillness inside of you.
~Deepak Chopra

Thanks for stopping by,
Feel free to leave a comment ~


  1. You really got a nice selection of birds. Poppies in my garden are really doing well this year. Generally, our area for Lupines and poppies are plants that don't perform in our clay and usually wet, cold springs. Your garden is lovely Sue. The ferns look so calming.

    1. Thank you, Donna. It's always exciting to see new birds in our area. I love the Lupines, but I agree with you, they don't perform that well in our area and soils and die out after a few years. The poppies usually are pretty good around here, but they end up in areas of your garden where they are not welcome and then they are hard to get rid of.
      The ferns and ground covers in our yard are very relaxing and we do enjoy the solitude.

  2. Beautiful photography and writing, Sue. That fern photo that Ted took is gorgeous! He should submit it somewhere!

    Bleeding hearts, I have found are pretty sensitive. Also the fact that they die back after blooming is confusing for those that don't know its growing habits - they think it has died. But I just love them.


    1. Thanks, Ann. I'll relay that message to Ted.
      I love the Bleeding Hearts, too. They usually last longer around our area because it's not as hot up here as it is in your area of West Virginia. Also, if they are planted in partial shade they won't die back as fast either.

  3. Awesome post,as usual,Sue.The photos of the birds are awesome! I totally get the 'gardening-while-avoiding-bug-bites' thing.

    1. Thanks, Chris. With all our shrubs and ground covers they are a magnet for harboring the bugs. And it's even worse when you disturb the dirt when digging or weeding.

  4. You and Ted should get a job for national geographic. Beautiful flowers; pics; and journaling! Love the birds. I cannot wait to get to camp. I am hoping very soon to see what has survived.

    1. Thanks so much, LuLu, for your kind comments. I so enjoy the birds as well this time of year with their spring songs. They are so enjoyable.
      Some perennials and shrubs have suffered some winter damage up here and I think it's because 1) with the mild winter we had there wasn't enough snow cover to protect the plants, and 2)we had a warm March and stuff started sprouting and then the cold, freezing temperatures in April damaged those buds. Hope you do not have that much winter damage to your gardens.

  5. Hi Sue & Ted
    Beautiful pictures as usual. My bleeding heart is going strong even after about 30 years, same plant. My poppy's, and peonies are doing great. My irises too. Just notice along the new part of Rt. 15 86 right over the NY border into PA the state must have planted lupines on the state right of way and hillside and they are beautiful. I have never noticed them before. All deep purple and in a 5-10 mile section. Told Don after they bloom I might pay a visit to get some seeds. Well see you in a few weeks.

    1. Hi Mary & Don,
      Thank you! I had a bleeding heart in front of our house several years ago, and I ended up splitting it up and planting it in several areas around the yard. I'm glad I did because one year the one in the front died out. Several of my bleeding hearts now go to seed and I end up with seedlings coming up all over.
      The Lupines must be gorgeous there. I love the dark purple ones. They grow wild in some areas in Canada, but I think the dark purple is a hybridized one. I've tried them a few times and the do ok for a few years, but then they usually die out.
      Looking forward to our family get-together in a few weeks!