Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

When I was growing up Memorial Day was a special day of remembrance to honor those in the armed forces who had given their lives for us.It was no a three day holiday where everyone celebrated time off for a picnic.The tone was set not in deep velvet iris but rather i fields of poppies blowing over graves. It is not hard to understand the change. In the Big One there were over 16 million people in the services and there were over 400,000 deaths. Presently there are 2 million in the volunteer forces and since 2000 there have been 10,000 deaths.We are not engaged as before.My spirit today is with all of us who have served in the past or present and their families with special emphasis on those whose actions and sacrifices large or small have allowed us the sense of security we enjoy.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you with failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

John McCrae MD 1872-1918

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Iris week continues. There are many iris that aren't shown on the blog.

Friday, May 27, 2011


These images were taken before the recent mixmaster of storms. We have been through a lexicon of thunder storms with descriptors such as straight line winds, wide walls,golf ball size hail, and rotating green, yellow, and red pop ups with a hook creating multiple tornado warnings.


Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, May 26, 2011


We checked the nest after the 3 chicks and the mother and father had left. There was
one egg remaining. They never returned so we ate it. (Just kidding)

So long

The last fledgling gets ready to fly away. (12 Days)


This yellow is very intense.
The second iris shown was created by a browsing deer.
The deer do not usually eat the iris.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The iris bloom almost as one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting ready to fly (Ten Days)

The fledglings have started to hop out of the nest.


Iris is Greek for rainbow. Respect has turned to love for the iris through the years. They are everywhere in my informal garden.
The stalks grow from rhizomes which have clusters (inflourescences) which have six lobes. The three petals are upright and are called standards. The three sepals, called
falls, spread downward and in the midline of each sepal is the "beard".

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapid growth continues 8 days after birth

The chicks have been very voacal since birth. They are quiet ony when being fed and at night.

Cicadas and The Day After by Stan Thawley

Cicadas and The Day After
Yesterday was May 21, Saturday, predicted
To be the end of the world by a previous civil
Engineer, now a multi millionaire TV evangelist.
He predicted this about ten years ago
But when he kept waking up every morning
He had to do some refiguring of his data.
I think it was supposed to be doomsday
For a select 200.000 who would be taken,
The rest of us left to cut our lawns, have
Our flat tires repaired and watch NASCAR,
I was confidant but relieved to see
All my friends, spouse, son and even
The church do gooders are still here.
Walking around my yard today awaiting
My first daylilies, I see evidence of those
Who were taken. For the previous nights they
Had been sining like the end was near.
The irrefutable evidence of their rising
Was their armored clothes they left behind
On my plants. I see a few poor souls still
Limping around, quiet, perhaps relieved.
When another Coming comes I think the way
To avoid it is not to sing so loudly
And to keep your clothes on.

Copyright Stan Thawley All rights reserved.
May 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fourteen Year Cicadas

The cicadas hatched in their 14 year cycle today. Cicada is Latin for tree cricket and they are in the insect order Hemopterin. They have large widely separated eyes and transparent well-veined wings. They are neither locusts which are in the grasshopper family nor katydids both of which show up in August.
They emerge from the ground and crawl up trees to shed their brown exoskeletons. The make a loud shrill droning noise by vibrating two membranes in the abdomen. They will stay for 2 to 3 weeks, mate and their offspring will burrow back into the ground for 14 more years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Orphan double Columbine

These beautiful columbine have begun showing up in various shady areas of the garden.

Rapid Growth

There is an incredible increase in size in four days.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spanish Blue Bells

Also Spanish Hyacinth and Scilla. They were here when we moved into the house. They had problems this year with spider mites.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The chicks are hungry all day.

Mother and Daddy robin are busy feeding the chicks all day long.

We Have Babies

We have three robin chicks about nine days after we discovered the eggs. Mother robin has been on and off the nest and the Daddy has finally showed up to help with the feeding.
Jan found some readable information about robins at:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wildflower Garden

The newest wildflower garden is spectacular with Sweet William in many different shades of color. Although the garden was seeded two years ago the Sweet William did not appear until this year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

View from the robin's nest

This is mother robin's view of the gnome garden with daisies,elfin thyme,lariope, hesperus,columbine, allium, mugo pine, dwarf pine, iris, white azalea, peony, and more.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dame Rocket (Hesperus)

For many years I thought that Hesperus was early blooming phlox. If you look behind and through the trees you will see that it dots the garden for more than 70 yards.

Hesperus is Greek for "evening" and probably refers to its scent being more noticeable towards evening. It is also called Damask Violet, Dames Gilliflower, Summer Lilac, and
Mother of the Evening.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Peony

This early bloomer is my favorite.I cannot look at a peony and not see ants crawling over it and on the dining roon table.
It is named after Paeon, a student of Aesclepius, god of medicine and healing.Paeon was saved from the jealous anger of Aesclepius by Zeus who made the young student immortal by turning him into a peony flower.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Columbine Orphan

One of the pleasures of gardening is when unexpected flowers show up. For the last several years there have been green columbine leaves in the rocks on the path by the firewood stack under the hot tub deck. Becky, my Master Gardener said, "Just leave them". I wanted to pull them up as "weeds". I left them. As I was getting out the hoses for the year today, I noticed this columbine blooming out of the rocks - a true surprise. I don't have this color columbine anywhere else and it is a double blossom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Domestic Scene Appears

Spring is in the air and a mother robin (Turdus migratorius) has constructed a nest on
a wreath which is hanging on a wall under an overhang on the deck walkway. Further observation reveals four eggs. You could call the color robin's egg blue.
Nest construction shows rougher and heavier materials on the outside and finer grasses smoothed over with mud on the inside.

Iris Week

The iris have begun to bloom with a spectacle of color. This bearded iris (notice the yellow beard) is in the upper wildflower garden where I have put some culled rhizomes. It is doing better here than in its original site. When I notice that a flower or plant is not doing well in one area then I move it to a place where it can flourish.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wall Flower

The newset wildflower garden has started to blossom. The orange flowers are called Wall Flowers (Cheiranthus cheiri). They are so named because they grow on old walls and rocks.The name was first recorded in 1578. It is not known who first made the comparison between these delicate flowers and unpartnered women sitting along a wall at an English dance.

Monday, May 2, 2011


With the cool weather the garden is about to explode. In addition to the ox-eyed daisies you can see the end of the azaleas and an exceptional stand of burgeoning hosta in the background.