Wednesday, January 23, 2019

So Far a Warmer January....

....than last year. It appears everything has survived the one overnight short freeze. Here's how things are doing this month. Starting with the front yard, the entrance area is certainly better than last year at this time. The Sky Blue Clustervine (Jacquemontia pentanthos) died back in the fall just as it did last year. This year I decided to leave it up until spring and I'll replace it again if it doesn't come back on it's own. It's was quick to grow and one plant filled the trellis.

 The Twinflower (Dyschoriste humistrata) is doing about the same as it did last year at this time although the other Twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia) in the front yard appears to have died in most spots. Behind the twinflower are some Spiderworts but they have not bloomed since early fall. In the far top left of the photo is a Rouge Plant which seems very happy right now. And fortunately the coffee plants are hanging in.
 Cleo, at 18+ (yes, years) is sniffing in front of the entrance path to the front yard. The pines are growing! And the Calamint (hybrid of Calamintha georgiana and ashei) are in their late life too but still attracting the bees with some blooms.
 A look into the front from the sidewalk. I'm happy to still have some of the Starry Rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus) blooming.
 The only Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) blooming is a volunteer that popped up along the front in some of the Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium). Yes, it gets to stay!
 The Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella) are still blooming.
 The Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is not looking its best but so far it has not frozen so I hope it comes back nicely in the spring.
 I really hope the Walter's Viburnum in front come back as it is looking very thin and it isn't hiding our hose very well.
 The ones near the front door are happy though. They lost almost all their leaves last summer but came right back.
 Another of my favorites is in bloom; Stoke's Aster. Only one bloom right now but I hope to put in more of these beauties in the spring.

 Some Coreopsis are blooming.
 And the little Darrow blueberries are a pretty red. I'm hoping that is normal. They turned red before the cold weather so I hope they aren't missing something. Our "soil" (clay and sand) may not offer much.
 The bees are a buzzing around the Florida Pennyroyal.
 The Oakleaf Hydrangea is still trying to survive. It looks about the same as it did last summer. It and the volunteer Scorpion Tail are vying for that corner spot but neither dominates yet.
 There are still some colorful Beautyberries around the yard.
 A view of the paths and plants over the front yard and septic area.
 The Lantana involucrata aren't as full as last year but most of them froze and did not come back so hopefully they'll be better next season.
 I do love these volunteers that are popping up in the wetter sides of the yard; Mist flower or Conoclinium coelestium. Here are some growing next to the little Firebush.
I'll continue with winter updates in next post with some side yard photos.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Red-shouldered Hawk or Buteo lineatus

December 20th.... as I was getting on my rain gear to head out to the garden to pick some kale for lunch I spotted this hawk sitting in the rain on the blue bird box. No, there's no blue bird nest in the box yet!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Carpodacus mexicanus

...or commonly know as the House Finch. That's who I think the little guy holding the seed is. I've not seen one here before and none of the books I have show the House Finches as spending time this far south . There are a couple places in the more northern part of Florida that have them year-round. So this couple must have ventured a little south this year. Perhaps now that the weather is a bit colder they may decide to head back north to their regular home. 
 Above is the couple and below is the back of the male I believe.
 A Chipping Sparrow looks on awaiting his turn at the seeds.....

 More of the happy couple......

 And female on her own...
Sadly I've read that the House Finch suffers from a fatal eye disease where the eyes crust over. This may explain why some of the males have yellow instead of red, believed to be from poor nutrition. Certainly if they can't see well it must be very tough to find food. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Food for Feeders

 As we add some bird feeders in the yard we need to decide what type of seed or food to put into those feeders. I subscribe to David Suzuki's newsletters and when I saw a link to how to make your own fat block bird feeder I clicked right over to read about it. I also found a handy chart of types of seed that you may want to put into your feeders and which birds will like that seed. Here is the list, with the headers changed and arranged to fit my page for my own reference but head over to David Suzuki's site for the original list and the flexible recipe for making block feeders. 

                                                  Food                                Birds

As suggested by the Queen of Green, feeders may be cleaned with one of the simple “green” cleaning substitutes for borax.

I don't know much about formatting so check out the original site for better viewing!