Thursday, May 1, 2014

Small wonders on the trail, big doings on the deck

Catesby's Trillium

After several weeks of not much happening in the garden, all hell has broken loose in the past few days. In fact, so much is going on I’ve looked like a human yo-yo zipping down and up the outside steps to keep current with events that seem to change every hour.

Something is always happening along the trail
It all started a couple of days ago when I observed many varieties of ferns unfurling after their long winter’s nap.

Then my variegated Solomon’s Seal began to burst into bloom. Luckily I took a photo because the next day the entire plant was gone. I don’t know if it was a bunny or a deer. Obviously I waited too long to start applying Liquid Fence.
Variegated Solomon's Seal

About the same time I noticed the Trilliums were about the start their spectacular spring show. Trilliums are members of the lily family and are easily identified because they are a “three-fer”. No matter the height, form or color, each one of these woodland jewels has three leaves, three sepals and three petals. 
Wake Robin

About 40 species of these “trinity flowers” are native to temperate regions of America and Asia. Fifteen varieties can be found in the piedmont and mountains of North Carolina. Five are growing right by my trail.
Painted Trilliums are disappearing

The Wake Robin or “Stinking Benjamin” bloomed first. I saw a Painted Trillium two days ago, a Large-flowered yesterday and a Nodding Trillium today. I keep looking for the Yellow Toadshade but have yet to spy one yet.

Although keeping up with the activity around the trail is time-consuming, all kinds of interesting things are also happening on the deck.
The hummers are back, along with the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and the Rufous-sided towhees. Brilliant lemon-yellow Goldfinches decorate the branches of nearby trees.

Hummers are back and fighting
  The male hummingbirds arrived on April 12th and the ladies flew in a few days ago. Already the deck is like scene from a World War II movie with birds dive-bombing and zapping each other. 

Hummingbird Helper or useless gadget?

I ordered a new gadget called a Hummingbird Helper to assist the girls in their search for nesting materials. I just hope they don’t kill each other before the little ones come along.

Who is stealing the suet?

During the winter we put out three suet feeders, two are “squirrel-proof” and the third is a decorative holder the wrens love. We use hot pepper suet in the “apple” and the squirrels never bother it.

However, now that hummingbird feeders have replaced two of the squirrel-proofs, the only suet feeder available is the apple. For three nights in a row, something has delicately untied and discarded the twist tie that holds the feeder closed.

Whatever it is then opens the door and removes the entire cake of suet. Could it be a raccoon? Or a crow? We have no clue but have decided to bring the feeders in from now on. (FYI, we used to bring them in every night because of the bears. But since we’ve put metal flashing on each post, Yogi hasn’t visited.)

A female Mourning Dove comes to visit the deck every day. I love how sweet and peaceful she appears. But I best not tarry watching her for too long. 

Something new will be blooming along the trail and with apologies to Aerosmith, I don’t want to miss a thing.


Janneke said...

The Trilliums are wonderful, so interesting to have so many of them over there. Birdlife is also different and exciting, love the fighting hummingbirds, we have only fighting jackdaws also very funny.

Skeeter said...

My guess would be a raccoon! Get one of those trail cameras and you can find out for sure. Those cameras are great as you get some interesting photos with them and can solve many mysteries.... What is the materials in the Hummingbird cage? We have tons of Lichen for them to utilize here but have yet to spot our first hummer nest....

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Janneke! Has spring come to your part of the world yet? I think we had the Jackdaw when I lived in England. They are clever birds like their cousin the crow. Take care!

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Skeeter, I wonder about the raccoons because before when they visited, they knocked the feeders down the mountain! Whoever is doing this is leaving the feeder in place. The website doesn't actually say what the material is but that it "takes the place of spider webs and lichen." Hmmm.

The Principal Undergardener said...

I think there ought to be a special part of spring - variable to the region of the world - called 'the Hurry-Up Season' because everything comes up at once. While the mountains of North Carolina and eastern Massachusetts are multiple zones apart, this year the first week of May is also our 'Hurry-Up' time with briefly-flowering perennials like Twinleaf putting on a show. It looks great down there!

Lynn Hunt said...

Neal, I have never seen a Twinleaf but you seem to have many lovely plants we don't have here. But my Jacks were coming up yesterday which was a treat. I agree with you about Hurry-Up Season. Let's talk to the calender folks about adding it for 2015!

Sunil Patel said...

Hi Lynn, I remember reading about the "making of" the trail a while back and it's nice to see it coming along. I love the trilliums and the Solomon's Seal reminds me of the lovely stand we had to leave behind when we moved. The antics of your birds provide hours of amusement. You might need some motion camera tech to catch the culprit raiding the apple feeder.

Lynn Hunt said...

Sunil, I'm glad you enjoyed the posting about building the trail. Now we get to sit back and enjoy all the hard work. My Jack-in-the-pulpits started blooming yesterday. They are new discoveries and I find them fascinating.

We have become bird bores and do so enjoy their antics. A pair of doves is sitting on the deck right now along with one of our favorite squirrels I call "Oliver" because he comes to the back door and begs.

Hope all is going well with your new garden. I am going to read your most recent posting now...

Commonweeder said...

I am in the upper elevations of Western Massachusetts, so we are behind you, but even in the slightly lower elebations of the Bridge of Flowers the trilliums are blooming, as well as the single and double bloodroots. Spring is coming - faster ever day.

Lynn Hunt said...

Commonweeder, so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the posting. Our trilliums did not have the long display period this year as they did in 2013. I wonder if they were eaten. One I had growing in the rose bed (of all places) was here Saturday and bitten off Sunday. I don't believe we have bloodroots but will look them up!

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