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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Summer is just a memory away



Meanwhile enjoy the winter sunlight illuminating the tree tops.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Feeding the pollinators: the flower gardens at Stonewell Farm.


The Sunflower, Helianthus, is a native of N. America, and to my mind, the epitome of a summers day.
Rich in pollen and nectar for all manner of pollinators, 
it later provides oil rich seeds for birds and mammals.

The eastern Skunk Cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, is one of the earliest pollen producers,

here providing an ample supply of pollen to this honey bee.

The nectar of Columbine, Aquilegia, is favored by Hummingbirds, Bumble Bees and Hawkmoths. Different species possess varying lengths of nectar spurs for specific pollinators.

The Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia,  attracts Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Bumble bees and Carpenter bees in the Spring.

Weigela, is a deciduous shrub with tubular flowers that attract Hummingbirds and various bees. In this photo there is also Aquilegia, far left middle. Other excellent sources of nectar and pollen include the Red Bud, Cercis canadensis, an early bloomer which flowers on bare wood before the leaves emerge (center top)
and Dogwood, Cornusfar right).

Above, Honeysuckle Lonicera 'Dropmore Scarlet', a Hummingbird favorite, flowers at the same time as Beauty Bush, Kolkwitzia amabilis (background).

Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius, 'Diablo' on the left, 'Darts Gold' right, is also a valuable nectar source for pollinators, including native bees.
it is underplanted with Catmint, Nepeta, 'Six Hills Giant', a bumble bee magnet.

A veritable smorgasbord for pollinators, (left to right)
Philadelphus, Physocarpus, Paeonies, Potentilla, Verbena, Nepeta, Echinops, Iris, Caryopteris, Malus.

While the Mock Orange, Philadelphus coronarius, center, has yet to open its buds, the False Indigo, Baptisia australis, far left is open for business.

The Sage, Salvia nemerosa, (foreground), is certainly beneficial to pollinators. The Rose, (center) and Tradescantia, (background) less so.

Nepeta, (center), Cotinus  (left), and Weigela (right) are constantly visited by bees and birds.

A drift of Bee Balm, Monarda, is a patch where Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Bees continually vie for the rich supply of nectar.

The pink Spirea, blue Geranium and even the orange Kniphofia, are all good sources of pollen and/or nectar a bit later in the season.

Rudbeckia never fails to attract a multitude of pollinators.

Monarda, Echinacea, Heliopsis and Agastache are insect magnets. 
What more could a bee ask for.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Birds of a feather flock together,

Except Turkeys.
During this long cold winter, trying to get the turkeys into the hen house on these bitterly cold nights, has mostly been a futile endeavour.

With the approach of dusk, the chickens dutifully head for the coop as one flock.

With a little persuasive herding, any stragglers soon follow.

The ducks prefer to overnight on the pond.

 but even they, when the pond freezes over, head to the safety of indoors.

Young and old alike.

But the turkeys prefer to roost in the trees.

On the garden fence

And when one tries herding them, they scatter in all directions.

I assume this is a survival trait. That split second when the predator has to decide which one to chase, could be the difference between life and death.

Maybe turkeys have more sense than chickens.

Or ducks.

But it sure is warmer indoors.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

On March 18th, I will be supporting "The Walls for Wildlife" program…/sunday-sanctuary-historic-ston…/
Please read about this worthwhile foundation, named in honor of Sandy Hook victim, Catherine Violet Hubbard.