Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Month of May Happiness

May is our peak blooming season, a time of year when rains keep foliage lush and green, the blooms are heavy and rich with color, and gardens are at their very best. It's also when the anoles and other critters take over the patio and deck. Some years, baby raccoons and opossums can be seen skittering through my yard.

Yesterday I was sitting at my computer when I heard knocking at my sliding glass door. I looked over and could see my cat crouched and staring intently at something on the other side of the glass. Intrigued, I stood up and walked over and what did I see? This cute red-eared slider bumping along on the sliding glass door threshold, his shell knocking on the glass as he moved along. I grabbed my camera and got a couple of photos. Then he froze, withdrew into his shell, and I left him alone for a few minutes. I hoped I could catch him walking along, but in just those short few minutes, he'd recovered his courage and moved on. He was nowhere to be found.

Good-sized red-eared slider on my patio

When we first built this house in 1998, ours was one of the first houses on our cul-de-sac, and the rest of the lots were scraped down to just dirt in preparation for construction of the rest of the houses. With no grass, no brush, and no cover, the wildlife - specifically frogs, toads, lizards - had moved out of the area. So it was with great joy when, a couple of years later, the lizards began to show up in my backyard gardens and on my patio and deck.  They go into hibernation in the coldest winter months, so their appearance in late February-early March are always sure harbingers of spring.

An anole on my back fence in late February

This cute guy appears to be acting as sentry and lookout on my patio 
The blooming just keeps happening in both my front yard and my back flower beds. When my husband died, I purchased a Magnolia Little Gem and planted it in my front yard in his memory. He loved magnolia, being the true Southerner and Texan that he was. The little magnolia bush found its happy place in its new location and over the years has never failed to produce copious numbers of giant blooms.

It's definitely May when the magnolia is in bloom
The hemerocallis continue to really show off in my back flower beds. Here's Let's Pretend, easily the largest and lushest of all of my hemerocallis blooms. These are easily 7-8" across and float on scapes that are 20-24" tall. It blooms a couple of weeks after the earliest bloomers.

Hemerocallis var. Let's Pretend [back bed, next to crape myrtle]

Giant blooms on hemerocallis var. Let's Pretend
Here's another of the second-wave bloomers: Barbara Mitchell:

Hemerocallis var. Barbara Mitchell [against back wall, next to camellia]
Let's Pretend hemerocallis getting ready to bloom

Let's Pretend giant flower bud...let's see how it looks when it opens...
And here it is! Let's Pretend [back wall next to azalea]
I have a lovely Althea bush next to my deck. It always outperforms itself every year, putting out masses of beautiful double flowers. It is a white Althea and has given me white blooms every year since I planted it almost 16 years ago.

Lovely Althea bush next to the deck.

In the last few years, though, it has put out a few lavender flowers, which seem to always be on the same few branches. It must be a mutation that happened while the bush was growing and maturing. It's kind of unique and the lavender flowers are beautiful, with darker magenta throats and soft fluffy lavender petals.

The original Althea shrub bloom color - white.

The mutation on a couple of the branches, creating lovely lavender blooms.

And finally, in this latest spring wildlife and flower blog entry, I shall include the sad-sack tale of my dieffenbachia rescue plant. When my son and family moved away from Mandeville, headed to San Diego, they had to abandon a few of their larger potted plants on the front porch. When I was there helping them with their move, I didn't have it in my heart to let this dieffenbachia die, unloved and abandoned. So I brought it home and put it on my patio. I repotted it out of its original nursery container, and it survived very nicely for the next year and a half.

This past winter we had a lot of rain - drowning rain - and the poor dieffenbachia got seriously waterlogged. By the time I discovered it, it was too late. The leaves had all turned brown and were falling off, but I noticed that the two trunks were still green. So I left it alone, making sure it didn't get too much rain and had a chance to dry out a bit and recover. Then little green shoots started to appear on the trunks and at the base of the plant. Just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, this dieffenbachia will live again!

My dieffenbachia coming back to life!

In a few days I fly to San Diego to be with family. There may be a half marathon in there somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Such gorgeous blooms. We have a Little Gem in our front yard as well, just now starting to bud up.

    Glad the Dieff survived. It is amazing how hearty plants can be.