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)
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.