Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Go Red for February - or Valentine's Day!

The picture below is a photo I took of a tropical hibiscus that we have on our back enclosed porch. In our area of Central/Northern New York this plant would not survive our winters, but it does nicely in a large pot in a bright location indoors. During the spring and summer we locate it outside in a sunny spot. There is another perennial that will survive our winters here and that would be the hardy hibiscus.






















Another flowering plant that you see quite frequently indoors this time of year is the Amaryllis. You can pot this bulb up in late fall and usually by Christmas or January you have large blooms to brighten up your living space. This is another plant(bulb) that would not survive our winters. I either pot mine up in late spring or plant them right in the ground when it warms up (but then the bulb has to be dug up in the fall). 




Another variety of Amaryllis
Another variety of Amaryllis. Photo courtesy of Nancy Ethier Carrod. 

The picture below of a Freesia (although not very red) was a surprise to me. I purchased this plant when it was blooming last spring. I planted it directly in the ground because I thought it would rebloom after the initial one, but it never did. I really didn't know much about them, but the flower was very graceful looking and the colors were nice and bright. In late summer the plant died completely back and I thought it just died out. But a few months later when I was cleaning out the garden for fall I noticed that this plant had started sending up new shoots. So after I read up on it a little, I found out that this bulb would not survive our winters either. So I dug these bulbs up and potted them up. I also have a purple one that opened its first bloom today. I think what I might do next fall after they die back, dig them up and not re-pot them, but plant them outside in the spring. Then they should flower later in the summer. The foliage is rather strappy and has to be staked which is not very attractive, but the flowers make up for it.




And is there any other bird that looks more beautiful against a snowy backdrop than the Northern Cardinal? 




Female Northern Cardinal
























The picture below is of a male Pileated Woodpecker. It's native to North America and found around the Great Lakes and Canada in deciduous forests. It's male identifying characteristics would be the red moustache from the beak and the red on the top of his head that extends to the beak. The female would have a black moustache and the red on top of the head would not extend that far down the front of the face. They drill large holes with their beak on dead trees in search of ants and bugs.



My husband got the great capture of Robins in our side yard last week. There was a very large flock of Robins that flew in and they were here most of the afternoon drinking from the exposed water areas of the ditches and run-off. We usually don't see Robins in this area until the end of March so we're thinking that maybe the Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog was wrong this year and we'll have an early spring.


Sumac against the winter gray sky.


And what a surprise it was last spring to find out that we had a den of Red Foxes (babies are called kits, cubs, or pups) living under our shed. We thought something was living under there, but we were thinking maybe it was a raccoon or possum. So my husband set up the trail camera in the area to find out what it was and this showed up.


video





"All you need is love.
 But a little chocolate now 
and then doesn't hurt." 
~ Charles M. Schultz


Feel free to leave a comment ~

12 comments:

  1. Love the photos! Will you let the foxes stay under your shed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ann. They were here last spring and moved on after a few weeks. It's common for them to move the kits around, probably for security reasons.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful photos as usual. Enjoy the foxes. I am sure they are pleasant to watch as long as they stay healthy.
    Waiting for spring here too. No snow but chilly and windy.
    Say hi to Ted. Thanks for all your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LuLu! The foxes/kits pretty much stayed hidden under the shed during the day so we really didn't see much activity other than the photos/videos. I think as soon as they were old enough the mother moved them to another location. But we had fun checking out all the photos and videos that we got of them.
      We still have some snow here, but next week it's supposed to be in the 40's for a few days so by then it might all be melted. It was good to hear from you and say "hi" to Mark for us!

      Delete
  3. Beautiful red photos for Valentines's Day! I love that you already have Robins in your garden. The Northern Cardinals stay here all winter, but like where you are, the Robins usually don't come until the end of March. We did have a surprise Hawk today, which will be in my post tomorrow. Hope you are right about Punxsutawney Phil!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lee. Yes, the Robins were a surprise as well. We've never seen that large of a flock in this area this early in the season. Looking forward to your next post on your surprise Hawk! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  4. As usual Sue - great pictures and stories and information. Luv it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Martha. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  5. Susan, I loved that varigated amaryilis, the white and shades of red is absolutely beautiful. I didn't realize that Freesia is so difficult to grow, either. But the best photo was the piliated woodpecker. Years ago, when my husband was living, we went camping on the Chickahominy River, here in Virginia, and one morning as we were strolling through the woods, we were thrilled to actually see a piliated woodpecker, and it had to have been a male. His colors were so bright. That is the only time I have ever seen one, so I love hearing about any sighting of that particular fellow!

    Thanks so much for sharing the story about the young kits, too. I thoroughly enjoyed the article, and keep up the good work.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen. I really loved the varigated amaryllis as well. I've seen them before, but I don't have any. I know they can be ordered/purchased from online stores if you are interested.
      We just love the pileated woodpecker, too. They are so big and colorful. And when you hear them call or drill on trees in the woods it's just amazing. We seem to be seeing more of them around our place than we have in the past.
      Thanks for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  6. Great pictures and post as usual, Sue. Love your foxes! My cousin has a fox that has been living under his shed for years--several batches of pups. They film them all the time. I was astounded last fall to be cleaning up my front flower bed when I uncovered a nest with four baby rabbits. "Mom" moved them after I discovered them, but I can see that they have all returned several times to my front yard by the piles of "smartening up pills" as my Grampa used to call them. LOL. We have a busy highway so close that I can't believe they chose that area, but so far, so good. Can't wait for spring--I've got some bulbs starting to sprout.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susie! I think the fox might have stayed around longer if our shed wasn't so close to our house. But it was spring and we were in and out of the shed with lawnmowers, etc. That must have been so cute to see the baby bunnies. Loved the term your Grampa used - too funny!
      We've still got snow cover, but not too much so it will be awhile before we see any bulbs around here.

      Delete