Looking Out My Back Door – April 26, 2013

Things are greening up considerably outside.  It’s a delight to take an early morning stroll out there and see what’s new…and at this time of the year there is something new just about every day.  I do think this is my favorite time of the year.  There is rebirth and a promise of things to come and for me at least, the anticipation is more enjoyable than the realization.

Kitchen Window View April 26, 2013

Kitchen Window View April 26, 2013

You’ll note from the photo above that two new garden structures have been added since my earlier post.  Both rustic twig obelisks have been built for support.  The smaller of the two has been placed where a morning glory vine appeared (out of the blue) last year.  Once the beautiful blue flowers started appearing during the summer mornings, a hastily built structure of sorts was built to support it.  This year, I’m ready for it.  And most likely it won’t reappear.  But I’m prepared, just in case.

Veronicastrum Obelisk

Veronicastrum Obelisk

The larger of the two obelisks is to support the Veronicastrum aka Culver’s Root perennial which is actually an herb (Veronica Virginica).  This plant grows six to seven feel tall and the obelisk is just shy of ten feet tall and I’m curious to see how this is going to work out.  This Culver’s Root has pale pink spikey flowers (with a touch of lavender).  The photo below right shows the new growth thus far this spring.  Without support it flops over and lays on whatever is growing around it; obviously not an ideal situation. 

Culver's Root Veronicastrum

Culver’s Root Veronicastrum

In the photo above you can see lots of iris growing, watched over by my garden fairy.  There used to be a beautiful large old crabapple tree toward the back of this bed.  The freak Halloween snowstorm which we had in 2011 knocked that tree over.  It was heartbreaking to look outside the next morning and see the destruction to my trees and shrubs.  Behind the Blue Star Junipers in the photo you’ll see an odd 90 degree shaped tree.  That’s a red Japanese maple that was crushed by the weight of the crabapple.  I thought for sure it was lost, but part of it is still living.  Amazing!  And it will be interesting to see how other plants in this bed do without the shade provided by the crabapple.  The iris in the foreground have spread considerably and look to be doing just fine.  There are two tree peonies further back on the right side of the bed and they look great as well.  Time will tell. 

I lost power for nine days from that Halloween snow storm.  These twig obelisks are built from some of the branches brought down by that storm.  I hope to build more to use as supports for runner beans.  What do they say “If you’ve got lemons, make lemonade” or something like that?  Well, I’ve got downed branches, so I guess I’ll just make some garden structures with them.

The bloodroot flowers (originally I thought they were Mayapples and captioned the photo below erroneously) have emerged from under the leaves out back by the barn.

Mayapples

Mayapples

The P.J.M. Rhododendrons are a blaze of purple/pink color.  The Star Magnolia is in bloom with graceful white flowers showing against a backdrop of holly leaves and bright blue sky.  A little early blooming hot pink Azalea shines brightly out by the Hardy Orange.

The spirea are adding color to the landscape.  It’s funny, I never liked spirea.  But there were some old ones down on either side of the Vibernum by the driveway when I bought this place.  One spirea had green leaves and the other had orangey yellow leaves that provided a definite pop of color early in the spring with raspberry colors flowers coming a little later.  I liked this spirea so much that I bought more!

Sunlight on Spirea

Sunlight on Spirea

The Bridalwreath Spirea shrubs dot the edges of the property with their graceful and delicate white blossoms.

Bridalwreath

Bridalwreath

You can see the Star Magnolia just to the right of the huge Holly tree in the last photo.  Several P.J.M. Rhododendrons dot the back of the right bed.  The Dogwoods are in bud and will be popping soon as will the Kerria Japonica. 

To my surprise, I have not yet seen a hummingbird.  The feeder has been up for about a week and someone is drinking from it, but I suspect it’s the chickadees.

Late April

Late April

I haven’t seen a Junco (Snow Bird) for several days and I think they might have headed back north to Canada.  Good thing, as I feel as long as they are around we have a chance for snow.  But the chipmunks have not yet emerged from their underground hibernation.  Is spring really here?

And that’s the way it is, April 26, 2013.

Well not quite…After I published this post I looked out the front window toward the only bird feeder I keep full now that I’m weening the birds off their bird seed.  I have a two sided heavy metal shepherd’s hook post with a multi-port bird feeder on one side and suet on the other.  I could see from the window the feeders were on the ground and the shepherd’s hook was no longer standing.  I went out to look and found that the shepherd’s hook was still firmly planted in the ground but the metal shaft had been completely bent over.  I removed the hook from the ground and took the following photo of the bottom half of the metal shaft.  It should be lying flat on the ground…you can easily see that it’s now bent.

Bent Shepherd's Hook

Bent Shepherd’s Hook

A good sized adult human male could not have bent this with his bare hands, so this was not the work of a raccoon or possum.  I’m thinking this had to be done by a bear and that thought is frightening.  A metal birdbath was thrown to the ground on that side of the house as well.  So that is the end of the birds being fed. 

Now I have to consider what to do with the hummingbird feeder.  I’m sure this intruder would like a drink of sugar water too.

Update #2…this afternoon I saw the first chipmunk of the season.  He was sunning himself and looking a little groggy.

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