Thursday, May 30, 2013

More Wildlife and More Irises

When I went outside after a late afternoon thunderstorm yesterday, I found a rather unusual visitor in the backyard. There, between freshly planted African marigolds and some young irises, sat a sizable - we are talking at least foot (ca. 30 cm) long nose to tail - snapping turtle.

It is sitting there, just to the left of the yew

Here it is a few moments later, having trundled up the hill a bit further

My apologies for the unexciting images. I did not want to get too close lest I scare it, especially since it kept periodically digging the ground, which made me think that it may be looking  for a place to lay eggs. It was there for the rest of the evening, but this morning it is nowhere in sight. Other wildlife sightings include a tiny praying mantis about as long as my thumbnail - I love praying mantises and always look forward to observing them in the garden in late summer when they get really big - and a woodchuck that was cavorting in the backyard this morning. Luckily I did not let my parents' dachshund Willy outside before seeing it, because the woodchuck is the one animal he just loves to track and chase. Now, finally, for the flowers. Two more varieties of bearded iris have joined the show today, and those already in bloom longer are also still very nice:

This bearded iris cultivar has the largest flowers of any in the the garden, though they are not always as abundant as those other varieties.

This variety might just have the darkest blooms of any plant I grow

This stand is almost perfect this year  - please disregard the lawn, or lack thereof, in the foreground

Other plants that have just begun blooming include Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and Indigofera kirilowii.

Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Indigofera kirilowii

Columbines are more and more becoming favorites of mine, with their many variations in form and color and largely carefree disposition. I am going to have to try and establish a few more strains in the garden. Yesterday on Willy's evening walk I saw a garden full of tall double white ones, for instance, which were truly impressive.


  1. Very exciting time in your garden with the fun wildlife sightings and gorgeous blooms!

  2. It really is... There have also been toads and a frog, and I am wondering when the first hummingbirds and monarch butterflies might show up.

  3. Hi
    Just seen your blog - really enjoying it. I have just started a Blog -
    A snapping turtle - amazing - I get lots of wild life in my garden being at the edge of the 'New Forest' which is really very old - here in the South of England. The rabbits and hares have just started their visits and we sometimes get deer if they find a way through the deer fence.
    I will keep in touch with your blog. Your irises are beautiful, ours haven't started yet too early in the season here in England.
    Best Wishes

    1. I am glad you like it! Everything is actually a bit late here compared to most years - winter was unusually long - but once spring thaws it often gets so warm so quickly that everything just explodes.

  4. I first saw columbines during my visit to Alaska - they are very elegant and pretty flowers.
    And that is truly a deep purple.. very royal!

    1. Oh, they probably do beautifully there, with the cool weather and the long days.


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