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Garden Photo of the Day

Part 2: Oklahoma Gardens and Adventures

By Kim Charles

I also have learned that some plants just want to be left alone….as in plant them, water in, then walk away. The Wall flowers thrived on my neglect as did the Brazos Penstemons. The Iris were rescued from an abandoned farm house near here just before the bulldozer did its thing. It's an heirloom purple flag; a legacy from a gardener a very long time ago. It had lived and multiplied for decades there on its own. (If'n it ain't broke; don't fix it.)Living out in the sticks and next to a National Forest, we had all sorts of wildlife visit our gardens. And, not all sported two legs in camo-orange!!! 😉

Back with Part 2 of Jesse Rhode's post featuring many of the creatures that inhabit his beautiful landscape in Oklahoma.

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I was warned that Gooseneck Loosestrife could prove invasive if it really liked it's microclimate. It turns out it was only semi-aggressive in our dry-ish location, and easily controlled. But talk about a Butterfly Magnet!!! This is my favourite butterfly, the Zebra Swallowtail. (altho Diana's come in a close second!) If'n you North American gardeners haven't seen this one amongst your offerings, it's probably because you don't have the host plant nearby. This specie only eats Paw Paw trees in their caterpillar stage.

We had several species of bumble bees every summer. I don't know the different names, but the variety was evident. I found out that bumble bees are declining in numbers and varieties at an alarming rate, just as the domesticated honey bees are also declining. I was proud that our flowers drew in and nurtured so many in a small effort to combat the mortality rates. This particular bee is enjoying an heirloom rose: Veilchenblau Climbing Rose  (Rosa x 'Veilchenblau'). 


I was delighted to find that our Native tree frogs LOVED our Bromeliads as much as their tropical cousins. Some of these frogs stayed with their plants for years becoming almost pets!These guys are the Grey Tree Frog and show the different colours they can exhibit. (I seem to remember their last name is 'versicolor.') Their mobile homes are Neoregelia x 'Tiger' and Neoregelia cruenta, respectively. 


Like many of you, we don't let visitors leave hungry…wouldn't be polite. Our feeders are always popular buffets and forever need topping off. For some reason, this Japanese Black Pine proved a most popular waiting place for the winged ones. Cardinals, Chickadee-dee-dees, Goldfinches, and many others including the Blue Groesbeak and Painted Bunting pictured above kept us entertained for years. Oh, the reddish leaved tree in the background is another redbud variety; C. canadensis 'Forest Pansy,' one of a couple in the garden. 

We had a couple of road runners which stayed around the place for years, but they were very camera shy. I believe they appreciated the buffet our extra watering attracted.We also had wilde turkey herds visit our tomatoe rows during the hotter months, but as we had such a bounty we didn't mind their help in harvesting; red-tailed hawks were a regular sighting as were bald eagles during the winters. I've read several comments on this posting of other folks having problems with rabbits and deer. Here, we had maybe a couple of rabbits, but they stayed on the outer fringes of the gardens content to munch on the clovers we planted for our bees. Deer were around, but not in the numbers found in other parts of our country….thank goodness…and very shy. With over a million acres of National Forest to roam, they stayed mostly in the wilder woods. Coyote packs migrated from the higher ridges in the warm months to run through our shrinking lawn in the winter. Bear, cougars, and bobcats were rare, but occasionally spotted, but they weren't really garden pests! Armadillos, however…..sorry, no decent pix as they're nocturnal for the most part….loved to dig for morsels in our softer garden soils, frustrating our careful geometries.

Tarantulas are common here, but they're pretty calm varmints. They appreciated my rockwork and used the dry stacked stones for shelter. This one crawled out after I removed a too-healthy stand of weeds from the base of this stone. With these giants, we didn't start nothin' so there wasn't sumpin' to be dealt with. Mutual respect is a beautiful thing!I know some folks keep these as pets…. ok……I reckon…but NOT this folk!!And, I was down on my knees a couple of summers ago, barefooted as usual and in shorts, yanking out a patch of wilde and tall Perilla weed when I came upon this fella: 

For any who don't know, this is a North American Copperhead. I am so grateful that it was also calm-ish. Me, on the other hand, did NOT know this olde body could move that-a-way nor that quickly!This is one of North America's hot snakes; "venomous" in plain English. I was very fortunate that their first defense is to freeze and try to blend with their camouflage so as not to be noticed.My hand was well within the strike zone when I yanked that bunch of stems and leaves back to expose this surprise. Talk about focusing one's attention!I caught it's picture before it moved off back to wilder parts and then restarted my heart. I never saw it again after that, but I learned the hard way that rule which most country boys and girls know: Watch where you put your hands and feet. I have also become much more adamant and even religious about keeping weeds at bay!!As I said, this is a tale of two gardens with two distinct personalities. Life moves on and sometimes we have to move on, as well. A couple of years ago, we had to leave our mountain cabin in pursuit of greener pastures, quite literally and figuratively. Our new garden…oh, and it came with a house…! was to be within 3 hours travel time from the cabin so we could take it all with us. Not being spring chickens anymore, we had no desire to start from scratch…..again.So, things eventually fell into place and we began packing….and digging………. 

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Comments

  1. frankgreenhalgh 06/26/2017

    Hello there again Jesse, you young fellow/spring chicken. Wow what a wonderful journey through your gardens today. You have knocked my socks off with the pics. and explanations of the fauna and biodiversity in your gardens - as well as the flora of course! You haven't disappointed after more than wetting our appetite in Part 1 last week. Looks like you will be in for a long stint behind the computer again in response to the further praise which rightfully will be showered on you I'm sure.

    Very interesting your comment about Armadillos. They sound a lot like our wombats; cute but very destructive in gardens. FYI my Washington State consultant (Linda O.) has helped me greatly with a multifaceted strategy which I'm putting in place to beat the critters without harming them. Watch this space for an evaluation of the strategy.

    Thanks for wonderful Parts1&2 and for letting us into your world and providing insights on your philosophy on life. Wonderful stuff, mate

    1. frankgreenhalgh 06/26/2017

      Jesse, pic of wombats in case you are not familiar with them.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 06/26/2017

        I was just watching a dvr-ed nature special about Australia last night (ha, a sign that one is old...watching lots of nature specials) and there was a great segment on wombats. Yes, they are cute but when protecting their turf and food, they are snarly and quite willing to go to battle. Not news to you, I know.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 06/26/2017

          Thanks Michaele - Yes they are tough marsupial mammals. They seem to like digging holes in the garden for the fun of it. Glad you watched the nature special - more a case of being discerning rather than ageing I say! Cheers, Frank

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 06/26/2017

            Hmm, the gallant response on the aging thing...you are ever the gentleman!

    2. User avater
      Linda on Whidbey 06/26/2017

      Aww, Frank , you would have figured it out but thanks for the credit.

    3. User avater
      gringopeligroso 07/03/2017

      Dear One!!!
      Glad you enjoyed the excursions, Frank!! Hopefully it repays in part how we so enjoy your posts from Oz! I think most of us are mesmerized by the different climates and conditions around the World, and the gardeners who work their magic within those varied realms. While I LOVE the eye candy which is presented, and have "borrowed" several ideas for here, I hope to continue to see other parts of the Planet, too! In this day and age of conformity and blending with the crowd, I see the folks here proclaiming and demonstrating, beautifully, that individual tastes and styles are important and alive...in the case of a garden, literally!
      Speaking of different views, those Wombats look like Frustration on four
      legs. (and FAST, too!) And, that Tiger Snake is "sinister" personified. I've heard the
      gardeners in some parts of Africa have to fence out herds of
      Elephants....and then watch for spitting cobras at ground level! Can you
      imagine?? Sure puts our grasshoppers and moles into perspective!!

      I appreciate your banter through the comments this week, as you keep things lively and bright. There's enough (too much, some days) darkness in our World and you being one who shines light, have started more than one of my days with a smile and chuckle! Thanx, Mate!
      The response to my story,(so far!) has far exceeded my hopes, and the comments posted have coloured this blog in my eyes into many more layers of details and beauty. I've a bit more clarity as to some of the good folks who hang around here Even to this day, I'm still receiving notes and letters, here!! Wonderful!!! There's not too many immediately around here and fewer still who dig in the dirt. To spend quality time with kindred spirits is a rare treat for this olde hippy!

      I know you post comments often, but I'm particularly grateful for your inputs and additions to what I've put out there (with Ms. Charles and crew's help, of course!) I've been extremely hesitant to send anything in, but with this response and encouragement, I now wish I had done so earlier. My new, and hopefully last gardens are now underway in it's initial phases of growth and development. I sent sooo much material into the office that our Editor is going to keep that part for a slow news day. It will be toned down from these postings, (no snakes!) but still a bit different and shows some variety, as well. I hope you'll also enjoy that introduction later of what is keeping me busy these days! We've still a long way to go. have made several mistakes, and have had several beautiful surprises, too!

      Thank you so much for your kind, and fun words! This place wouldn't be the same without you and I hope you're around for a very long time!!
      Thank You, Sweet One!!
      (wink, wink!!)
      jesse

      1. frankgreenhalgh 07/03/2017

        Hello Jesse - You are an absolute champion. The considerable contributions and dialogue by GPODers to your two posts are testament to the level of interest and entertainment you have created. I love your style, and enjoy your banter. My issue is that cultural differences between Aussies and some Americans can result in my banter being taken the wrong way in your part of the world - You and some other of my good American GPOD friends get it, as do Canadians generally (possibly because Canada is a Commonwealth country), but some don't understand it and can be offended. I often think that it is time to retire from GPOD rather than upset some of the audience, but your comments certainly give me encouragement to continue (strategically if you get my drift - wink. wink). I look forward to future comments and posts by yourself. Cheers from Oz

  2. Maggieat11 06/26/2017

    I have enjoyed your photos and commentary very much; thank you for sharing. I especially liked the photos of the roadrunner and tree frogs. Best wishes for happy gardening ahead!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/29/2017

      Thank You, Ms. Dunbar!!
      It is my pleasure and you honour me by enjoying a glimpse into our little corner of Eden!!
      While I have lots of Tree Frog photos, as they are patient and abiding models, that capture of the roadrunner is one of my prizes. They are NOT patient nor abiding, and it took YEARS to get that image. They do NOT sit still and are very, very wary. There's also not a lot of them around here, and I think they become more numerous as one heads more South and West. Still, a bit of a pleasant surprise to find them there at all!!
      In our new place, (in the Ozarks) I've spotted one or two which live at the cattle ranch which is about a half a mile up the dirt road. They are proving just as elusive to being captured on film. Even more surprising is that we have Marmots, here!!
      I normally associate these with the timberline environments of our towering Western Mountains. but there are several, at least, just on our section of county road! They are even more shy than the Road Runners, and I hope to one day score that image and add it to my digital trophy case!!
      They've kept the possibility of rains in our immediate future forecasts, so speaking of gardening ahead, I'ld better get my behind out there and get a few more perennials and shrubs in the ground before those possibilities arrive!! (Thinking positively, here!!)
      Thank you for your kind note, and I am really pleased you enjoyed my pix and captions!!! Till next time: Take Care!!

  3. Dvngardener 06/26/2017

    Wow Jesse. I enjoyed these pictures more than the first. The wildlife that you have captured is incredible! Pan is very,very, very pleased.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/26/2017

      Ahhh. Then my work here is done!

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/26/2017

        Oh, no. Wait, no it's not. (But, I've always wanted to say that!)
        A too quick break for a late lunch and afternoon coffee, then back after it.
        Today, the quiet ones are not too pleased with me. Between the angry snarlings of the weed-eater throttle, and the loud mower machine which is chopping the lawn grasses back into submission, (insert evil maniacal laugh HERE.) this day is anything but relaxing. However, most everyone seems pleased with the results I deliver!
        Be back this evening with more, but must say I'm overwhelmed by the turnout of readers, today! WOW! I am not worthy!

        1. Schatzi 06/27/2017

          Oh, but you are, you are!

          1. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/29/2017

            awwwwww....garsshhh!!!!

  4. bsavage 06/26/2017

    Thank you for sharing the stories and photos of your gardens...

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/29/2017

      Ms. Savage,
      Thank YOU for letting me know you enjoyed them!! So kind!
      'Twas a special place and I showed and told but a fraction of the wonders and stories from that realm.
      But, I reckon that's the way it is with everyone who sends in pix, as nothing comes close to a personal visit!
      I was out clearing the turf and making headway for and on my next garden this afternoon in my dry/herb garden. I've planted about a quarter of the space I've allocated for these plants, and need to get more perennials and herbs in before the rains promised for this weekend coming. (Keep yer fingers crossed for us!!)

      It was nice working in the warm sun this afternoon, kittens playing around me and hummers enjoying the bloomers I planted last year, while our bees worked the thyme which is in full bloom this week! Boy, did I get dirty, but, I'm still smiling!! Dinner was squash, tomatoes, chard and kale from our gardens to go with the fish!

      Better get cleaned up, tho and head to bed. My bedtime is fast approaching, and so is tomorrow!!
      Thanx, again, Dear One! Take care! jesse

      1. bsavage 06/29/2017

        Those are the best dinners.

  5. wisestguy 06/26/2017

    Thanks for sharing your garden journey. Nice trip!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/29/2017

      Thank YOU for being a part of it!! To have the opportunity to share with others whom also dig in the dirt, or will someday, is priceless as they say. I've had non-gardeners visit, and watching even their mouths drop in amazement was rewarding in its own right. Borrowing the backdrop of continuous pine forests accented the colours and textures of the plantings, and incorporating unusual plant materials highlighted the contrasts even further!

      So pleased that you enjoyed the escape to the mountains, and perhaps you'll also enjoy our new enterprises and views in the future as I plant another, and hopefully last garden!!

  6. user-6841468 06/26/2017

    i love the wildlife... you're a great story teller and photographer who is obviously also very lucky to escape some potentially nasty encounters. well done!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/29/2017

      Ms. Mellen!!
      Very lucky is an understatement!! I believe in Guardian Angels. Seriously.
      I have been SO fortunate on several occasions in my short life, and there were a couple of times and more in which SOMEbody stopped me...literally..before I wandered into or encountered something which would have made me a statistic.

      Like you and others here, I love wildlife, and besides the examples I posted, I have many, many other memories of encounters which were not so dangerous, and bordered upon magical. (And a few which were cute and comical!) Moving from a strictly city environment to the cabin proved everybit as exciting, but also calming as I had hoped, and then some!
      My hope and trust is that you also have magic in your life, and perhaps you also have opportunities to engage in interactions with winged, hoofed, finned and clawed ones!!!
      Thank you for your kind encouragements, Sweet One!! Take Care!!

  7. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 06/26/2017

    I must admit that I got out out of bed with some "oh, goody" enthusiasm....day 2 of Jesse pictures and Jesse-isms! You have a wonderful welcoming attitude towards both critters and folks (well, most folks... although I suspect some folks test your patience more than the critters do...but that's because we figure "folks" should know better. Critters just go by instinct).) I got a tiny stab of bird envy seeing that extra colorful painted bunting. It's one thing to be outdone by Frank's exotic (to me) winged beauties but your part of the country should be on par with TN. So, off I went to google the painted bunting range and, ironically, my fair state is not considered part of their natural habitat. Darn! Heck, I get tickled and verbally exclamatory when seeing a gold finch, I would probably scare the neighborhood with yelps of joy if I spotted a rainbow bird at one of my feeders.
    I enjoyed sharing today's episode of "Travels with Jesse" and thanks so much for putting so much of yourself into it.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 07/02/2017

      Michaele!
      What a week!! I had no idea my pix and captions would generate such a wonderful and deepening response! But, finally, I'm catching up to Everyone!! I hope and trust you won't mind me saving my response to you till last, but I've been taught one shouldn't serve dessert until the appetizers and main courses are finished and those dishes cleared from the table.

      Don't know why I think of you as special, but I know I'm not the only one of this post who thinks so. Perhaps it's because you put so much of YOUR self into each and every poster; so much so that when you don't comment due to medical or technical issues, there's a void, per se, and everyone notices. (No pressure!) Be that as it may, I feel honoured by your kind words and gentle thoughts, and your humour is stellar!! I picture you as a giggling joy to be around in person when you have the opportunity to really relax and be yourself! If'n that ain't so, please don't be the one to burst my imaginary bubble!! Reality is often over-rated, anyway!!

      Once again, you have ME chuckling here with visions of your "Yelps of Joy" of spotting a Rainbow Bird in person!! Been there, done that.....well, kinda.

      A long time ago, in a magical land far, far away, there was a young lad sitting in a quiet classroom in a Jr. High School. The disciplined subject matter being presented was our required course on Hawai'ian History. (Looking back from today's perspective, I wish I had paid a little more attention as the subject is actually fascinating! But, I digress..) The lad sitting there taking notes at that time was a bit of a nerd, as in almost full blooded! And, like most nerds he had a fascination, nay: A Fixation on a particular subject. In this case, Flight. Any and everything to do with aviation. And, in an almost too good to be true situation, his bedroom window literally bordered and overlooked the Hickam AFB flight line!!!!!! (Our World was simpler back then.) He was serenaded off to sleep at night by the sounds of C-124's Cargo Masters warming up their engines for take off and throttling them down after taxi-ing in from a long flight. He knew the different craft used by the major airlines, United, Delta, Pan Am, TWA, Aloha Airlines, etc, etc. So it was hard to sit in a classroom while studying about Queen Liliʻuokalani, when dreams were calling from afar and (then) present day.

      You may have heard that the climate on Oahu and the other isles is mild. 'Tis true! Some would label it beneficent, and I could not argue. Many buildings and houses there have louvered windows to let in the fresh air and our class rooms had them on both sides to allow the Trade Winds to flow through and aerate the rooms. And, if'n it wasn't storming or nighttime, they were always open. Our school was located just off the flight path of incoming aircraft as they lined themselves up for final approach. (Hickam and Honolulu International shared the runways back then.) It was not uncommon for the instructors to have to pause in their lectures to allow the scream of jet engines to subside before continuing.

      So, one early afternoon, the Lad was sitting in required class and dutifully taking notes when his ears detected something different and highly unusual. His curiosity aroused, he looked from his copious notes towards the clear louvers and towards the source. Then the classroom exploded!!! Well, actually, the Nerd had exploded...into unbridled and wild excitement, awe, uncontrollable gesticulations, and loud....oh so Loud pleas for everyone to notice the wonder passing by!!! Above, the FIRST Boeing 747 was coming in for a landing at Honolulu, and it was HUGE, and majestic,and regal, and, it was HERE!!

      For some reason the classroom was un-naturally silent after it had passed from view. A couple of students were looking sky-ward, but most were looking at me. I think I was almost on top of my desk. The teacher, being a rock-solid kind of guy, just asked me to sit back down and then continued the lesson. As he walked back up to the front of the classroom, the lad turned such a bright hue as to rival those post-card sunsets over the Pacific. But, I swear, I noticed his shoulders shaking as he moved to safety as if he were concealing something akin to chuckling......

      Should a Rainbow Bird EVER show up at your feeders, I WANT TO BE THERE to see those Yelps of Joy...again!!! Enthusiasm is a Good Thang!!

      Back to present day: You are right about people. I DO get along with other critters and such better than most folks I meet. But, the folks I DO warm up to tend to be exceptional folk! At least and especially in my eyes!!

      There was one picture which didn't make the evening deadline at press time for some reason, and I thought of you when I chose it as I know you love Clematis. It's also the capture my Mom loves the most of all I've shown her, and it's one of those "being in the right place at just the right time" kinda images. Perhaps it was meant to be so that I could offer something a little more substantial than just "Thank You," altho I hope you and the others here know that I MEAN that, each and every time!

      So, one more pic for the post to you, and anyone else still looking over our shoulders:


      I hope and trust you and Darwin are having a great Holiday back east and either taking it easy or going out on the town, depending upon y'all's preferences these days! Melinda and I are "Hunkerin' down" types, but every once in a while, a good fireworks show is worth coming out of our shells and mingering with a crowd!!
      Take Care, and again, Thank You!

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/03/2017

        Hi, Jesse, what a fun read. Thanks for weaving in a story from your past that used "yelps of joy" as the springboard. Do you feel that the grown man that you are is still very connected to the junior high school nerd? I suspect the answer is "yes" as you seem to be someone of intense interests that you get passionate about. My mother was surprised and amazed at my evolution into becoming an addicted adult gardener since I didn't give two hoots about anything she planted during my growing up years. She passed on in 2008 but she loved to visit us here in TN and generously marvel over our different landscaping projects.

        Speaking of mothers, I share your own mom's love for the above photo of the luna moth almost hidden in the clematis foliage. It's a lovely image and shows them both in full beauty.

        Darwin and I are pretty much homebodies and worker bees but we did host a gathering for a wounded warrior group this past Fri. Our daughter sometimes volunteers at a therapeutic riding center and they have a program called "Heroes and Horses". That one is her special group that she finds particularly gratifying to help out with. It is pretty amazing (although not surprising to those of us who have been involved with our equine friends) how interaction with a calm horse can enrich a person's life in so many different ways. Anyway, that get together counts as our 4th of July celebration. There was food, garden walk-abouts for those who could, and good camaraderie among all...the "heroes", their families and other volunteers and their families. I am still a little tuckered from it all and happy to get back to my usual routine.

        It was nice to learn your spouse's name, Melinda, since you and Frank have had some teasing back and forths in other posting threads about your better half.

        I was quite the tomboy growing up who was forever adopting critters and insisting to my mom that kittens, puppies, rabbits, baby birds (anything I could catch) had "followed" me home. I know I added my fair share of gray hairs to her lovely head as she had to grill me on where the kitten or puppy first started "following" me...so we could backtrack and find the real owner.

        Once again, thanks so much for your kindly expressed enthusiasm for my gpod comment sharings. We have a great bunch of regulars, don't we? And I love how the door is open to anyone who wants to make a quick visit or "sit" and stay a while.

        As an ode to my mom, here is a favorite picture...

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 07/03/2017

          !!!NICE!!!!

  8. user-4691082 06/26/2017

    Oooh, that painted bunting! I could've done without the copperhead!!! My heart is still trying catch its breath, and I'm inside...I may just be a dummie- but are the photos from your house or cabin, and where did you move to? I may have to subscribe to the remedial GPOD...I just love the photos and your stories that go along with them. And Frank, I think those wombats are cute!!!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      Rhonda! You are not alone!! Ms. Charles' ticker did the same thing with the arachnid picture when it hit her desktop!! It's funny how different folks react to different things! But, my intention was not to shock anyone. I was just trying to illustrate the diversity here, as well as paint a picture of what we experience in our little sanctuary. As I told her, there's a big difference between film and the real deal. And, it it makes even one more person more aware of the dangers in our world, then it was worth it. Both the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations here hold fairs and such and display live dangers behind glass to specifically kids, so as to warn them what NOT to mess with..at all. If the displays save an ER visit, they are worth it.
      And, NO, you are not EVEN a dummie!!
      I sent in too much material and asked Ms. Charles to edit...which she did!! I composed the submission into two parts, and she decided there was enough for 3 parts! If I understood her, she's going to save the 3rd part for another time. She thought that it was a different but related story and could stand on it's own. She's pretty astute, as that pretty much mimics our reality and history!
      SO: these first two posts are from our Cabin's Gardens in the Mountains of SE Oklahoma. (And from our recent past.) The NEXT post will be from our House and Farm we moved to recently in NE Oklahoma, and I'm currently planting that garden and growing it as fast as I can!!

      It is probably my story line which confused you with the way I composed it, as I wanted to show the transition between the two gardens. My bad!!
      Thank you for your kind words and I'm tickled you enjoyed my first (and second) submission!!!

      1. user-4691082 06/28/2017

        You are so kind to keep responding! You are a gracious man!

  9. wittyone 06/26/2017

    Those tiny tree frogs are just adorable ------the copperhead and tarantula not so much! Glad you came out of those experiences unscathed.

    It's so odd, when I think of wallflowers I immediately connect them with England but they look pretty satisfied there in Oklahoma. Who knew?

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      Yes, Ma'am!! ME, too! You know what they say: "God protects fools and little children."
      I also still connect Wallflowers with Great Britain!! So, you are not alone in your associations!! I DO believe they are from that corner of the World, but found out there are some N. American species, too. All I know is that these orange beauties did NOT appreciate me hovering and fussing over them. If I pampered them, I killed them. I've found that also applies to Penstemmons and Kniphofias (Red Hot Pokers) in our neck of the woods. So, I do special beds for these types and after planting, them, just act like they're not there!! This arrangement works out well, for both gardener and flowers!!!
      Thank You for your comments! I appreciate you!!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/26/2017

    Such great photos! Love all of the wildlife (well, except the Tarantula...). The zebra swallowtail and the painted bunting are spectacular. Wish they were native in my state!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      Thank you, Sir!! Glad you enjoyed ('cept for the arachnid!!)
      While I have your ear, I would also like to thank you for the tip you gave me a couple of years ago. You won't remember, (possibly) but I had asked how you got Agastache to perennialize in Ohio, but I couldn't down here in Zone 7. You advised me on the importance of winter drainage for those species and hybrids. I planted a couple into my new dry/herb bed next to my greenhouse, and it worked! That bed has SHARP drainage! They came back stronger than ever and are no longer just expensive annuals for me!!
      Oh, and my Hummers and B'flies want me to thank you, too!! They enjoy those flowers even more than I!!!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/28/2017

        Jesse-I'm so glad my unproofed comment did not get flagged as inappropriate. I'm sure you figured out that I don't think your photos suck, but that they are "Such" great photos! :)
        Oy.
        I'm so glad that your Agastache are perennializing (and hopefully self-sowing a bit) and keeping your wildlife happy. I still only get seedlings, though.
        I just got smart last week when I found a seedling that was not in a crevice, but somewhere it could be dug, and I transplanted it back to my gravel garden. I'm hoping for multi-year return there.
        I regularly grab a leaf to crush and inhale! Sigh.
        Hope you continue to have a great gardening year and your wonderful coexistence with the wildlife in your garden blesses your socks off!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

          LOL!!
          I DID catch that and thought about replying with something barbed but humourous, but while chuckling figured better NOT on our first date! Darn Spell Checkers!!!!
          No worries and no harm done!!
          There was a young lady back in the day who was, and probably still is an Executive Secretary. She typed up a presentation for her boss who was to go before a planning committee for Parks and Recreation in OKC. She finished the job, made copies for the distinguished attendees, and as she was not invited, went on to other tasks.
          Her boss returned later that day, red-faced but chuckling. He asked her to proof read her handout. Her machine had substituted "Pubic Areas" for "Public Areas!"

  11. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 06/26/2017

    Good morning, Jesse. You sure have an abundance of wildlife. That Painted Bunting is beautiful and tropical looking but I think I like living where I'm not going to see any tarantulas or venomous snakes. Wonderful photos and as in the 1st posting, I really enjoy your writing. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope you'll keep us updated.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      Linda, again, thank you!! I've had such a good time sharing our views that as our new endeavour takes shape, I will, indeed send in more. The views will be different from the cabin's, but once again, we've chosen to be away from the street lights, and are now more in farm and ranch land. But, believe it or not, we have Marmots around here!!

  12. Cenepk10 06/26/2017

    Well... now that was a treat !!!! The critters are fun... I chopped the head off my copperhead.. Might have overreacted. Great photos

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      I'm glad you enjoyed them, Cenepk!
      You know, I can't condemn nor praise anyone's actions when it comes to Hot snakes in our gardens. There are so many circumstances such as family, pets, visitors, phobias, locations, and the list goes on and on. Everyone needs to do what they think best for their place.
      I do know I spent the rest of that summer looking (cautiously) for that varmint as I worked about the place, not knowing if'n it was still there or had moved on. They don't exactly wear bells on their collars! I never saw it again.
      A few years ago, there was the story of a Grandfather up on Kiamichi Ridge, again, out in the sticks away from any towns. His visiting Grandaughter was out playing in their yard when he noticed she had picked up a bit of "rope." Before he could do anything, the Copperhead had struck her a couple of times on her arm. This story has a good ending as they were able to get the 3 year olde to the local hospital and begin administering anti-venin. She's made a full recovery with no permanent damage. A bit later the bill came for the serum.....$87,000.00. I don't know about anyone else, but that's not pocket change for us.
      We don't have kids nor elderly visiting, and in fact, human visitors are rare. So we can afford to be a little more generous, and a lot more cautious than some families. Still, we don't "invite" them, but sometimes, surprises happen in the garden. We have a couple who moved out here from a small town setting, and built their own log cabin. The wife doesn't do snakes. period. You'll find her working her veggies and roses with a six-shooter in it's holster on her hip, and filled with rat shot. (Think mini shot-gun shell.) I think that's part of the price of living "beyond the sidewalks." I'm just glad we don't have some of the hot serpents others have in other parts of the world. Like Australia, or S. Africa, for examples!
      Anyway, I very glad you enjoyed the pix and appreciate your comments! Thank You!!!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 06/28/2017

        You mean like this Tiger snake, Jesse? It was great that the little girl was OK, but $87,000 is absolutely insane. Dogs are often bitten by the very poisonous Tiger snakes here in Oz, and it doesn't cost a great deal to treat and save them with antivenom (e.g. A$600-700). I'm not going any further with this conversation with the current developments in your part of the world (wink wink).

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

          Well, I WILL go there for us. That treatment is the cost of a small but nice home in this part of the country. I'll echo your sentiment: Insane.
          I've recently read that the number of labs in this country which produce anti-venin is shrinking. Apparently the Governmental regulations have been ramped up to the point where several are simply saying "Enough" and are closing their doors.
          As well, like many industries in our modern world, there's not that many young folk entering into this specialty. And, Big Pharma is involved somewhere in this formula as other beneficial properties of the raw toxic doses are discovered.

          Don't know how it is in Oz, but here, there's more and more folks moving out of the cities and suburbs into more natural and rural surroundings. Surely as more natural habitats shrink, encounters will increase.

          All of this smells of yet further price increases to an already insane figure.


          Is that photo from your property or perhaps you could see it's cousins where y'all are at? (Not that you'ld want to!!)

          1. frankgreenhalgh 06/28/2017

            Jesse, pic not taken on our property. We have some red bellied black snakes in our billabong area. They are not as poisonous or aggressive, and are more attractive than tigers - make a noise and they will get out of your way. If you are interested check out 'CSL antivenom' - stands for Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Interesting that the antivenom for tiger snakes works on our copperheads.
            Yes there are tree and sea changes made by people here. However, many people don't realise that snakes can be found along the banks of our rivers even in Melbourne, but don't let that stop y'all coming down and enjoying the world's most livable city. Cheers mate
            PS. Tip - worth investing in CSL Ltd. shares/equities - better still; maybe we should broker a deal where CSL makes your antivenom (wink wink). Oops - that gets us into some international trade problems which were the subject of recent deliberations at your end - so on second thoughts - forget it.

  13. Cenepk10 06/26/2017

    Veilchenblau climbing rose is such a beaut

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      It really is! It took a couple of years to settle in and take hold, but after that, WHAT a SHOW!! And, a bit of an unusual colour for a rose. I hope to score another for our new gardens up here someday!!

  14. Sheila_Schultz 06/26/2017

    Mornin' Jesse... reading your stories and seeing the photos of your surroundings never fails to bring a smile to my face. You've got quite the menagerie of delights going on outside your door, it's a darn good thing you're so handy with a camera! The zebra swallowtail is quite the beauty and the painted bunting is such a stunner, it makes the blue groesbeak look almost plain... but not quite! Thanks, Jesse, for sharing a bit of your world, and keep that camera handy, I think we all want more!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Scrolling down, I just realized you commented twice, today. AH LOVE U!!
      Anyway, won't take too much more of your time, but will report that I hardly go anywhere without my camera. While I often find beauty in other places, I also swipe ideas to implement/modify for here.

      Well, ok. The REAL reason is I'm hopin' to capture Bigfoot, or the Mother Ship so's I can retire early!! (Does anyone know how much the National Expirer Pays for cover photos?)



      As our New Gardens are planted and take hold, I'll see if the Taunton folk will take future posts!
      Take Care, Sweet One!

  15. user-6536305 06/26/2017

    Great shoots of butterfly, bee, spider, frog, snake, birds and all the vivid descriptions and botanical names. Love your wall flowers, Brazos Penstemons and Iris combination. Love its color, shape, and texture. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Ms. Ho,
      Coming from the Artist whom we all know and respect, you warm my spirits with your compliments!!
      I tried to include images and captions which would address and amuse the wide variety of readers who gather here, both amateurs and seasoned veterans, such as yourself. While we all may have different styles, somehow we have also the gift of recognizing talents in different schools of thought. And, Thank Goodness for that!

      Plus, one of the chief reasons I come here is to see what others are doing in their respective neck of the woods! I had hoped to return the favour to other contributors who have shared views here, earlier, as well as perhaps coax more "newbies" into capturing moments in their places of beauty! Until we can invent those Star Trek transporters, this is the next best thing!! ("Live Long, and Prosper!!")

      Please accept my gratitude for your warmth! Very, very kind of you!

  16. anibanani 06/26/2017

    Love not only your gardens but plant and wildlife descriptions and especially your commentary. You are a great writer as well as gardener.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      I'm very glad you enjoyed them, Ms. Kleman!! I had fun composing and sharing, but I'll tell you, it was tough choosing which photos to submit! In the end, I tried to choose ones which told the story. And, as an added bonus, I got to wander down memory lane....several times;-) !!!
      I'm not so sure about the "Great" title ....for either digger nor penner, but it sure has a nice ring about it!! Mabey when I'm older? I'll keep practicing and working on both!!
      Thank you for taking a moment and dropping a kind note! You and the others here have made my day!!!

  17. Sheila_Schultz 06/26/2017

    PS... As I was reading today's post I realized I didn't make it to GPOD last Friday, the internet was down all day in our new digs! I'm going to be doing some serious reading after I get some work done but in the meantime, I wanted to drop a note and let you know your gardens might be a work in progress in your eyes, but in mine they are amazing.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Ms. Schultz!! Thank you!
      I read somewhere from someone much wiser than I that EVERY garden is unfinished. And, I've embraced that philosophy.
      Seems like all of us are continually "tweaking" and removing and dividing and squeezing in ONE more with a crowbar and dealing with sun where that shade tree used to be before that last storm, etc, etc. And, I have found this to be true in my vision of perfection. Gardens are works of art (and by default, of Gardeners,) in their own right and there's something about them which draws our eyes and draws us in, almost everytime. But, unlike oils or pastels, treble clefts, textiles or clay, we deal with living and (hopefully!) expanding colours and textures! A very dynamic art form to say the least! Versus static, is what I mean.
      I also know that often we creative types are our own worst critics. Mathematical formulas barely work in our world and there's LOTS of room for exploration! Every once in a while, often by design but sometimes by accident, things come together beautifully as they are. And, somewhere along the path of expanding knowledge, more practice, and shots of inspiration from others, this happens more times than not!
      I try not to let the frustrations get to me as I traipse about and discover the sneaky weeds, perennials which should've been dead-headed last month, or one of my tropicals which now have roots angling out like some multi tentacled octopus from Venus, reminding me that it really, really needs a larger pot. I think that's the way it is in ALL of our gardens and I hope that's always the case for us artistic types. That being said, when you and others express delight and surprise in MY vision, you warm my spirit and encourage me to continue tweaking, dividing, adding yet one more colour and shade of green!

      But, right now, some of my colours are flagging as we didn't get the promised rains, so I'll get off of here and get back on the end of a hose!
      Again, thank you so much for your kind words!!

      1. Sheila_Schultz 06/28/2017

        I agree wholeheartedly that gardening to those of us that are passionate about creating beauty in our gardens is an artform. As a kid I always wanted to be an artist. My friend, Colleen Kuehl, could draw the most lifelike, magnificent horses you have ever seen. They came alive on paper. I tried and tried and tried, but my drawings were lifeless. I had a wonderful art teacher throughout high school that understood my passion, and introduced me to all sorts of medium... we both finally decided that art history was my best option! I gardened for years, but it wasn't until container gardens started evolving and becoming more than just spikes and red geraniums that I finally found my art form! Shortly after that, we moved to sunny Denver from shade filled Wilmette, IL. Our yard was small and hideous... 3/4 of the backyard was a cracked basketball court! A friend was a landscaper in the mountains and together we created my dream gardens, front and back. She did the rockwork and I did the plantings. Even though I had done simple gardening for years, I never had the courage or time to actually come up w/ a plan and execute it for my very own pleasure. The very best part was that I really didn't care what anyone else thought, my gardens were for me and if anyone else enjoyed them that would just be icing on the cake. At the same time, I decided to take my passion for designing container gardens and start a small business... my daughter joined me and Denver Dirty Girls was born. Our goal was to take our containers to an unexpected level and use cactus and succulents to create drama + add assorted annuals and perennials to create a unique look. We definitely found our niche... low water needs and low maintenance. We had a good run, 10 years! The artist deep inside of me has finally been set free.
        Then a couple weeks ago our families moved to Bucerias Mexico! The main reason for embarking on this great adventure is that we all wanted for our grandkids (7 & 9) to have the opportunity to become bilingual and also have the experience of living in another culture. The move was also timely for Jim and I, we needed to downsize. Even though we lived on a small lot, our house was deceptively large on the inside, and as I age, my wonderful rock gardens were becoming challenging to work, to say the least! My neighbors were very kind not to laugh as I tried to contort my body to move from level to level, rock to rock so I wouldn't crush any plants!!! (Quite the vision, don't you think?) I always told myself I would say goodbye to my gardens before I couldn't do them justice... and that's what we have done!
        I won't be gardening again for a while since we are taking this adventure year by year so we are renting. Our casita's are in a wonderful development called Los Arroyos Verdes. The owner is an architect and when she built this enclave she turned it into a botanical reserve!!! How perfect is that??? Photos of my new surroundings will surface down the road!
        Well, I've given you enough of an earful for right now. You'll hear from me again soon! Sheila

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/30/2017

          A quick reply (for me!) to a wonderful story and several dabs of wisdom mixed in, to boot!!
          Like you, I also appreciate art....just don't ask me to do it. In music, my other passion, I couldn't sing, nor play a tune, much less a note. Fortunately, we found out I was/am deadly accurate with the beat, so got to beat the drums for a while! And, My horses are still stick figures!! Thank Goodness for film!!! (as it were, and back in the day!) Hummmm; which reminds me that I still need to break out my 3 ring binders of slides and digitize my past. I noticed the last time I went that far back down memory lane that some of my Kodachromes were fading to black...the Ecktachromes seemed to be ok, and most of what I shot back then was the cooler toned Ecktachrome format. So, reckon I'll be backing-up hard copies!!! But, better remember to do it soon. But, I digress.
          Denver!! Wow. Nice!! We used to live in Colorado Springs when I was a lad, and we would go to the capital city for occasional treats of life! I believe both towns have grown a bit since!!


          Mexico!! Been there, too! As a college student! NO, not the Spring Break thing. I majored in Field Trips, but then found out they don't give degrees in that!! (Been on some GREAT ones, tho. and learned a lot more than a classroom can offer!!)
          Loved Mexico....at least the parts and people distant from the border. And, our professor kept us away from the tourist centres to meet the REAL Mexico!

          My Foreign Language teacher in Jr. College in California told us bright=eyed students that when you learn a language, you learn a culture. I'm a believer!! I'm not sure they even teach foreign languages in elementary nor high schools anymore. But, there's a lot of things they don't do anymore in American public schools. In one of my positions, I used to give tours to Jr. College students, and one of the questions I ALWAYS asked those classes was how many were taking Spanish courses. One or two might raise their hands but more often none would. But EVERY one of the instructors for those classes would nod their head in agreement from the sidelines. If I were still helping with the classes today, I might ask if Chinese or Arabic were also or instead being studied. I couldn't see it at the time of high school, but since then, I realize how important and beneficial comprehension of other languages is .

          I'm a Military Brat....which means I served 18 years without signing a contract!!! It also means our family moved all over!
          Sheila, it was the BEST education and BEST gift my folks could've given us. I say that as an adult, (well...work with me..) and my siblings say the exact same thing. I'll bet that your grandkids will echo that sentiment years from now, if not sooner!!


          I'm also a bit jealous of you! I LOVE Mexican architecture but expecially the court yards, porches and verandas, outdoor dining rooms, etc, etc. If there is a Heaven beyond this Heaven, my view will have roofs of terra-cotta, and a fountain in the massive courtyard. Of course, mine would have to have plants and flowers, either containers or planted or both, and candles and kittens!!



          Pues, es todo por esta noche. Ya esta tarde y estoy cansado porque hoy, trabajo mucha in mis jardines! Pero, pienso esta jardines son mas linda y mas limpia!! Pero, esta gringo no es limpia y es poco olor fao......ok: chansa mucho fao!!


          Buenos Noches, Amiga!
          Via con Dios!

  18. Schatzi 06/26/2017

    Again, great pictures and even better monologue. The loosestrife and zebra swallowtail pic took my breath away -gorgeous! The birds are beautiful - the last 2 pics not so much... Love the tree frogs too - ours here in the PNW are often bright green with copper stripes on their backs - adorable little guys - or gals - who knows! In addition to being a great gardener and photographer, you are a wonderful writer. Have you considered writing a book? Thanks much and keep on keepin' on!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Ms. Graves,
      Again: Thank You!! A book, you say....well. Mabey when I retire, but just for fun as I do enjoy word crafting but wouldn't want to depend upon that enterprise for my next meal! I've been warned that doing such is about as close as we guys can approach to giving birth!!
      We have several tree frogs here, including Spring Peepers, which are so tiny!
      I wonder if y'all have the same species as our Green Tree Frog?
      I captured this act by accident. I was aligning my lens to capture the dragonfly and Green Tree Frog in the same image. They were on different plants in the greenhouse. As I clicked the shutter, there was sudden movement at the exact same time. This shot was the result:

      Well, I got my shot with both species, but not exactly the way I had planned the subject matter!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 06/27/2017

        Nice work Jesse. At least one of the subjects was happy. There is no end to this lad's talent - is there Shirley?

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

          Quite by Accident, Frank! But, sometimes, that's how life works!!!

      2. User avater
        Linda on Whidbey 06/27/2017

        Jesse, what a great catch!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

          The Photographer or the Frog????? (wink, wink!!)
          Like I told Frank, Sometimes I gets lucky!!

  19. alohaland 06/26/2017

    You tell a wonderful story and the photos are simply stunning. Maybe you should become an author in your next lifetime which, by the way, you almost met with that gorgeous copperhead. Glad you could restart your pacemaker. I used to live in PA, but now live in HI for the past 12 years. The gardening is so different, but the frogs do like the bromeliads, too.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Chucking here!! While copperheads are seldom fatal, their effects are NOT fun, at all.That evening, I googled images of bites, and THEN I got even more scarred. And, since I'm a whimp when it comes to pain, I probably would've wished I had crossed over instead of enduring the poison!!

      Luckily, the serpent was more calm and steady than I, and we can talk and "joke" about it now-a-days. (Would rather not repeat the incident and tempt fate, however.)
      If'n y'all are over there, this is something you don't have to worry about!
      Which Island do you call home? I spent Jr. High and two years of High School on Oahu. (Go Radford Rams!! Er, I assume that institution is still there, but mabey not. ) No doubt lots of changes since the 70's!! Yeah, I'm dating myself!! Magical place in which to grow up, though! Moving back to the mainland was a rough transition of realities.

      And, yes, different is an understatement in y'alls case!!! People look at me with wonder when I tell them we kids used to go 'round the neighbourhood and climb into friendly folks Plumeria trees to collect flowers (but not all) for leis from the yards around us! After asking for permission, of course. And, we would return the favour when they needed flowers!

      And we knew enough folks who either didn't like or were allergic to Mangos, so that we always had more fruit than we used even tho we didn't have a tree in our yard! (Most don't know that Mangos are related to Poison Ivy!)


      Thank you for your response, and thank you for my trip down memory lane!!
      So glad you enjoyed my pix and "captions"!

      Another child of my contained garden, altho y'all can almost take these for granted!!!
      Mahalo, Brudda

      1. alohaland 06/28/2017

        How nice of you to respond to my aloha land comments, coming specifically from Oahu! As you can see from my photo, I'm holding my oldest grandgirl who just turned 13. Her siblings are 11 and 6 so that is what I spend a lot of my time helping to grow. I do miss the change of seasons-especially winter, if you can believe it-because you never get a true break in the yard. I grow a number of fruit and vegetable trees, but have to fight off the wild pigs and the poop they leave after a nightly surge of feeding off the mangos and avocados that are currently falling.
        I'm done whining now as I know every area has it's challenges.

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

          Yes, but I thought you were the Dad!! (what ever you're doin', keep at it cuz it's working for ya!!)
          And, you should be more careful with those smiles. Probably a family trait, but you know they're contagious, right? Just sayin'.
          A lot of experience and wisdom in your paragraph! Paints a bright but somewhat "fragrant" picture!!
          Now, about them pigs, which we call Razorbacks, here.
          Can you say "Luau?!!!!"
          I'll bring my grass skirt!!
          Hummm, well mabey I'ld better shave my legs, first!!
          Take care and see y'all down the road a bit!!

  20. jeffgoodearth 06/26/2017

    I am a day late and a dollar short but wanted to say that your garden is wonderful,,,except maybe for that spider. You have created one snazzy space for yourselves and the critters

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Jeff, (may I call you by your first name?)
      I know you're busy beyond belief putting in 21 hour days here at the height of our season, or at least it probably feels like that! So for you to take a minute and respond is the bestest and brightest gift I can receive! And, that spider...(it was almost the size of my open hand) well, I'm a little surprised and proud that Ms. Charles posted it. She let me know that she was NOT expecting that image on her desktop when I sent in my pix!! I wasn't there in the office when she pulled it up, but apparently it caused almost as much excitement then as the real deal did, back in the day and live!
      On a related note, there was a Wasp there that was also impressive.
      Look at your thumb. That was the size of the body, not counting the legs and wings. Talk about getting your attention! They are called Tarantula Hawks, and are North America's largest wasp. I think you can guess what they prey upon! One summer, we witnessed one of them dragging a paralyzed victim across our gravel drive, apparently taking it to it's den and young-un. Even at that size, they can't fly with that much weight.
      I also wish to express my enjoyment of YOUR gardens in Tennessee. Like you, I don't get to these posts every morning and often must play catch-up, or Binge reading as the kids say! So thank You for sharing your sanctuary, and thank you for enjoying the views to mine!

  21. Beezos 06/26/2017

    Fantastic! Love the wildlife that obviously appreciates your garden too.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Terry, I know "secret gardens" are a thing of desire, mystery, and perhaps even a cliche. But I feel that gardens never realize their full potential unless they're shared. We received very few human visitors that far out in the sticks, so to be frequented by the local residents of our natural neighbourhood was both rewarding and entertaining!
      To have the chance to share it with other gardeners, however, even if'n only by cyber-views, takes the experience of this gardener to a whole 'nother level!!
      Perhaps I should've had y'all over sooner??!!!
      So glad you enjoyed the visit! Thanx!!

  22. digginWA 06/27/2017

    Great post. Just great.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Thank You, SO MUCH, Ms. Scarce!
      I wasn't sure how folks would take something a little different, but the response from you and others has made it ALL worthwhile. I must also give credit to my editor and her crew! Without Ms. Charles and her elves, our breakfasts would be a little less (ful-) filling!!

  23. thevioletfern 06/27/2017

    I just love this wild garden inn with all its interesting guests! A painted bunting! Something I've yet to see - have seen the indigo (wondering if your blue grosbeak is actually the indigo) but not the painted. I am hopeful to see one when I migrate again. Whoa on the copperhead! Close call. They are present in my migratory home but the only snake I have come across there is a black racer (non venomous and beneficial in that they chase other snakes away). You have me wondering if I placed out a few bromeliads at the lake if tree frogs would move in! They are certainly present considering the rather loud serenade in the evenings. I could definitely do without tarantulas although dock spiders are a very close second. I definitely prefer snakes over spiders. The zebra swallowtail is stunning! I, against all I read, planted some gooseneck loosestrife because it is a beautiful plant but mine never took off at all and believe me, my garden is full of thugs. I can't quite believe it didn't grow. I'm trying to understand, is this the garden of your past and we've yet to see your transition? Or is this garden two? If this is the cabin garden then I so look forward to what's next! If this is the last installment of your garden I do hope there will be more pictures in the future!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 07/01/2017

      Ms. Sturr!!
      Your comments caused me to rethink my labeling, and second-guess myself! Not necessarily a bad thing!! As well, you've packed a LOT of information into a small space!! So, I was going to go back out to the greenhouse and repot some babies, a job which is overdue, but a thunderboomer has moved in and there's lightening dancing around the barnyard out there. So, mabey best I stick inside and answer more comments....another job, albeit pleasurable, which is also overdue!!

      SO: MY understanding is:

      If'n you've got the Indigos, then you've probably got Painteds nearby, as well. At least you've got the conditions and resources both need. However, as you probably already know, natural populations fluctuate with density even within their ranges. While we had both buntings in numbers down at the cabin, so far, only the indigos have shown up at our feeders here in Cherokee County. They're around us, the painteds that is, but not here. Our new friends in town see them at their feeders, (about 20 minutes distant,) and we think we've seen one male while traveling on the gravel road out to the paved highway, about a mile away. So, we KNOW they're around here.....just not here at our new place.....yet!! (Ever hopeful!!) Perhaps being next to protected forests makes the difference, as here, we're surrounded by farms and ranches.

      I am admittedly shaky on avian id., so I'ld better not quit my day job just yet!!
      You may be right that the posted picture is an Indigo, and I'll defer to your greater skills as an ornithologist! I've a couple of other pix from the cabin which may clear up or further cloud up the id:


      This pic shows not only 3 Indigo males, but also the female Indigo colour, and one female Painted....the olive-drab specimen in front.

      I believe you may be right, and I think I've steered my fellow GPODer's astray!! Oh, the shame.....
      Now, here's another pix of what i believe is a Blue Grosbeak:


      It's in the Yoshino Cherry just on the other side of the feeder and Jap. Black Pine.
      Apparently, that rich brown on the shoulder makes the difference in quick id situations? So, in the pic I submitted and in the one directly above of the trio, I see no brown on the shoulders. So, I shall stand corrected and will take a lower score!!!
      It's hard to see in these, but there's a difference in size, as well. The Indigos are smaller than the Grosbeaks.

      We have Racers at the cabin, too and Coachwhips, their close cousins, altho they're a rare sight there. We have more of both here on the river. Both being visual hunters, I'm told they'll see us Humans first long before we see them, usually! We also have the Plains Rat Snake, or black snake. It's the largest serpent around here and can attain massive sizes, bordering upon boa dimensions....'cept mabey not as "girthy"!! But, almost!!! We don't encourage them here, but not concerned when we DO spot them. We've found out from neighbours' machinery, that they will eat copperheads!!

      Our most revered snake is the Speckled King Snake. VERY cool spirits. VERY rare at the Cabin, but we've seen several here at the River Farm. We relocate them out of harm's way of our machinery, but not too far away. I've read they're immune to the toxins of the hot snakes of this continent, and they actually hunt them down and consume them! Hence, their name, I reckon!



      On to other herptiles, depending upon where your migratory place is, I'ld say yes as to the frogs moving in. There are two "larger" tree frogs here; the Gray and the Green Tree frogs, and both LOVE bromeliads.

      If'n you have either of these species at your lake place, they'll find your bromes!!
      (These two models are hunting in the greenhouse in mid winter among the stalks of one of my philodendrons.) If you have spring peepers, they may also love the pools of moisture, and I believe that specie of frog goes even farther north than the two species pictured. Peepers are much smaller, yet and speckled brown. I have another picture of a peeper looking out from one of my Billbergias, but the image is buried and I can't put my hands on it, right now. Point is, if you have tree frogs at your lake, hang a couple or more bromes in your trees or from you porch, and I'll bet you get some renters!! (I wish we were neighbours. More than a couple of my bromeliads have reproduced themselves logo-rhythmically to the point I'm going to have to start throwing a bunch of them out as I've no more room. I could load you and your frogs up with a nice selection!)


      This move has also been a re-learning curve for me. Just like the loosestrife for your garden, many things which were stellar at the cabin crash and burn, here. I've had to give up on Hollyhocks and Petunias/Calibrochias all together....too many diseases and too much humidity...sigh....


      On the other hand, we can now do things here we could only dream of down there. (About 100 mile difference.) Cupheas, gomphrenas and celosias self seed with abandon, and we've Chicory here, as well as other surprises. The biggest surprise is that some of my tropicals overwintered here and came back. We've a NICE stand of black elephant ears (Colocasia sp.) volunteer in the front flower bed!! But also some tradescantias and others. (Reminds me, I need to get a picture of those "ears"!)



      I"m sorry about the confusion of the two gardens....my bad...
      To clarify:

      The two-part post framing last weekend is our first and past garden. We moved and sold the place and now live in a new place with a new garden that I'm currently constructing and planting. I sent in the first pix of this place, but Ms. Charles is holding onto that part until a later date, which has yet to be determined, so stay tuned, as they say!! This was the last installment of the Cabin's gardens, but, there's yet the Farm's gardens to come. It shows the initial stages, obviously but I hope y'all will enjoy the different views and projects we have going on out there!



      The storm has moved over into Arkansas, I believe, which is only a few miles down the road. I'm gonna go out and shut the place down for the evening and then turn in. I think there's another band moving this a way so I'ld better hurry. It's ok, we need the rains!!

      I apologize for this reply's tardiness and hope you still receive it. In my defense, the response to my pictures was a bit overwhelming, but I'm still smiling almost a week later as I am truly honoured! I've still a few more responses to do, but, my bedtime is fast approaching...and so is tomorrow!!
      I appreciate also your correction to my label. I am still very much on the learning curve, (on SO many topics!!) and can use all the help y'all are willing to offer!!
      I'm glad you enjoyed our first garden, and am honoured that you wrote in!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

  24. greengenes 06/27/2017

    Wow! What wonderful pictures of a wonderful place! A little late but i found time to sit and enjoy your gardens! Great pictures for sure!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/27/2017

      Ah, Ms. Cronce!
      I wish that I could sit and enjoy my gardens! (wink, wink!!)
      And, you ain't late. Fortunately for all of us these posts are kept up and are ready when we have the time. Which, for most of us with dirty fingernails is in short supply this time of year!! I'm thinkin' that these longer days are a mixed blessing!!!!
      It just seems to get so late so quickly.
      The place was/is a bit magical (at least in my mind!) and I'm glad you enjoyed the brief tour! LOTS of memories and moments, and I'm pleased I was able to share a few of the highlights with y'all!!
      Thank You!!!

  25. user-7008689 06/27/2017

    Howdy, El Jeffe -

    Yet another fine article of fine gardening 'on the edge'. Sure is nice to see and read of your exploits again. Especially good info on the Zebra Swallowtail - Paw Paw connection.

    Thanks TONS!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

      Thank YOU, Kimosabe!
      A boss from a long time ago in a Galaxy very near by once gave me the responsibility of helping to put together the educational programme. Had so much fun that I've been doing it ever since!!!

      BUT, don't tell the boss that.

      Now repeat after me: "Jeez, WHAT a slave-driver!" ;-)


      thanx, Mike!!
      Hopefully, the skies have become more generous out there in California and have delivered a little relief? Hope so!! VERY Rough going there for a while.

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