Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Garden Party

The weather this past weekend was warm and sunny, so we spent a lot of time working in the garden - planting the new plants we bought, weeding and generally neatening up. It was fun to take a close-up look and enjoy what is happening there.

One of our cacti has a fiery red-orange blossom, about 2" across. This is one of the "rescue" plants we saved from property in the high desert that was being cleared of desert natives.

Two other species of cacti in our yard are starting to form buds too.


There are a number of "volunteer" Datura plants growing throughout the yard, and they have been blooming steadily.

There is some hornworm poop below the bushes, but leaf damage is not noticeable so far. That will change when the hornworms get bigger.

The Baja Fairy Duster and the Mallows continue to bloom strong. They are covered with honey bees, native bees and wasps. A few butterflies were present, so hopefully they will find the 3 plants we just added for them.

We watched a slender black wasp with a red abdomen as she maneuvered a fat worm down into a small hole in the ground where she will be laying her eggs.

The worm was paralyzed by her sting and will provide food for the young wasps as they hatch and grow.

Lots of bird activity in our yard. A pair of Bewick's Wrens has moved into the gourd bird house outside the dining room window. We can watch through the mini-blinds, without disturbing them.

The Encelia bushes are just past their peak bloom, and House Finches are already devouring the seeds in the dried yellow flower heads.

White-crowned Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers are still hanging around, but will be heading north as the weather gets warmer.

The Verdins are active all through the yard, with lots of comings and goings at their nests. They apparently prefer the sliced tangerines to the red grapefruit we put out for them.

Mourning Doves are nesting nearby - a dove on a telephone line was holding in its bill some of the nesting material we put out.

Brewer's Blackbirds calling and displaying; Red-shouldered Hawk pair soaring overhead.

We watched a flock of 10 Western Kingbirds perched in our backyard neighbor's tree. The birds took turns diving to the surface of our pool, apparently plucking insects off the water's surface. They hit the water hard enough to cause splashes, and we kept watch in case we had to play lifeguard to a misjudged flight.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.
~Alfred Austin

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