Tag Archives: Spanish bluebells

Weekend Wildlife (and flowers too)

There hasn’t been much time for gardening or blogging recently, but I stole a few hours this weekend to rescue and transplant trilliums, rejuvenate a container, and simply enjoy the spring garden.

Friday provided a quick look at one of the resident red-shouldered hawks that live along the Reedy River.  I barely managed to grab my camera for a handful of photos before it saw me at the window and leapt from its perch in a black walnut tree.

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Red-shouldered hawk

Though similar, this bird of prey is smaller than the red-tailed hawk and is easy to identify by its black tail with narrow white bands.

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On Saturday, while moving Sweet Betsy trilliums (T. cuneatum) from a soon-to-be utilized city easement at the bottom of our property, I came across a small worm snake (Carphophis ameonus) in the leaf litter.  It was tiny, but not shy about its displeasure, which it expressed with non-stop writhing and, once, by biting my glove.

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Worm snake

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Notice the pink underbelly, which you can just see in the neck region.

I see these little snakes, which grow just a foot in length, in the garden quite often and they always make me smile.  I’m a bit worried I haven’t seen any black snakes yet, but perhaps it’s still a bit early.

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Trillium cuneatum

Most of the trilliums were moved with as much soil around their roots as possible, but I shook these free so you could get a look at their rhizomes.  The smaller, which lost its foliage in digging, was positioned against the larger plant.

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Common five-lined skink

Later, while pulling violas from a container, I unearthed a sleeping five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus).  This quick-footed creature is impossible to catch when fully awake, so I was lucky to hold it for a photo.  Minutes later I saw it had already found a friend and was cavorting in the rock wall, so no harm done.

Finally, here a few favorite blooms to brighten your day.  I hope you’re enjoying a spring as beautiful as the one we are having here!

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Tulips on the front stoop

 

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Spanish bluebells

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And mayapples (Podophyllum) in the woodland, just beginning to flower

 

 

 

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day–April 15, 2014

For Upstate gardeners, and others in our region, it appears to be a matter of enjoying spring blooms while we can, as weather experts are predicting a hard freeze for tonight. Fingers crossed that the cloud cover moves out later than expected, thus improving conditions.

On this wet and windy day, here’s some of the best of what’s blooming in the ornamental garden…

Front garden including white & pink dogwood trees, azaleas, Spanish bluebells, Lenten roses, Japanese maple, and  Chocolate Chip ajuga.

Front garden including white & pink dogwood trees, azaleas, Spanish bluebells, Lenten roses, Japanese maple, and Chocolate Chip ajuga.

Front garden from opposite direction.

Front garden from opposite direction.

Container gardens on front stoop.

Container gardens on front stoop.

Rainbow euphorbia

Rainbow euphorbia

Variegated Solomon's seal

Variegated Solomon’s seal

Iris cristata

Iris cristata

Epimedium grandiflorum

Epimedium grandiflorum


And in the woodland garden…

Sweet Betsy trillium

Sweet Betsy trillium

Wild blue phlox

Wild blue phlox

Carolina silverbell

Carolina silverbell

Sweetshrub

Sweetshrub


If you have time to visit other gardens around the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the host of GBBD.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day–April 2013

Spring has sprung in the Upstate! Although we had frost just two weeks ago, temperatures soared into the low 80’s three days last week before a Thursday night thunderstorm restored normal conditions. April averages include a high of 72 and low of 47 with 3.9 inches of rain. Today, April 15, is our average last frost date.

Spring’s riot can’t be captured in a few photos, but here’s a choice sample of blooms.

The view from my front window includes two spring favorites, Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) and the dwarf bugleweed ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Ajuga x). This ajuga speads quickly but is not an invasive self-sower like many of it’s kin.

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) and Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Ajuga x)

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) and Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Ajuga x)

There are close to a dozen types of evergreen azaleas in this garden. All predate me and though some put on a pretty show for a couple weeks, I plan to rejuvenate or reclaim some beds. These Kurume azaleas, with their tiny leaves and twiggy structure, are likely to be replaced with newer cultivars or other woody ornamentals.

Kurume azaleas

Kurume azaleas

Lilac ‘Betsy Ross’ is more to my liking. ‘Betsy Ross’, from a breeding program at the US Arboretum, is one of the very best lilacs for the South. Blooms, which remind me of lace curtains fluttering in the breeze, offer the sweet fragrance that make lilacs one of the garden’s most memorable plants.

Lilac 'Betsy Ross'

Lilac ‘Betsy Ross’

The nine or so bloom spikes on Acanthus ‘Summer Beauty’ are beginning to pop above the 30-inch tall foliage. When mature, they will stand six-feet tall and sport white flowers shaded by purple hoods.

Acanthus 'Summer Beauty'

Acanthus ‘Summer Beauty’

I hope you can provide a name for this iris, given to me by a friend last spring. I believe she called it “walking iris” but it’s not similar to anything on the internet with that common name. The lovely white crested iris (Iris cristata ‘Alba’) is also in bloom and the planting has doubled its size since last year. I adore white flowers in a shade garden, but they don’t always photograph well, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Mystery iris...do you know its name?

Mystery iris…do you know its name?

Solomon’s Seal is a great favorite and I’ve planted all three species: the large Polygonatum odoratum (including ‘Variegatum’ and the more rare ‘Red Stem’), the much smaller dwarf P. humile, and the native P. biflorum.

Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum')

Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’)

In the woodland garden, the Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina) is the current superstar. Blooms are much bigger than last year, perhaps because the invasive ivy has been removed. Sweet Betsy trilliums (T. cuneatum) are still in bloom and have been joined by Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) and Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus).

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)

Sweet Betsy Trillium (T. cuneatum)

Sweet Betsy Trillium (T. cuneatum)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Sweetshrub has a number of common names, including “bubbie bush.” If you think there’s a story there, you’re right. In days gone by Appalachian women often picked the fragrant flowers of the shrub and tucked them into their décolletage.

To see what’s blooming in the rest of the world visit the host of Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.