Monday, May 26, 2008

Random garden tidbits

The weather has been hot and toasty lately. Last week it was in the low hundreds and this week it is in the upper nineties and HUMID - yuck. I am thinking it is going to be one roasty-toasty summer this year! My plants are doing OK so far.

The Canna have really started blooming. My yard is small, so I only have the dwarf canna. I would love to have some of the ginormous ones, but I have no place for them. Here is the dwarf red one blooming away:




I simply LOVE blue flowers. I think they add a cool feeling in the hot, hot summer. Some of these just started blooming and should continue throughout the summer.

My dwarf blue morning glories:



And the Wright's Skullcap (OK, so maybe these are a bit more purply-ish. True blues are hard to find):



Then there is the silver pony-foot which is kinda blue-silvery:



My christmas cactus (Cylindropuntia leptocaulis) finally has blooms this year! I bought a little tiny one 3 years ago and have been patiently waiting for it to get big enough to flower:





Oh! And I just harvested my first Zucchini the other day:



I caught a gecko munching down on a moth the other evening. Yum!:



And - Omigosh! I just saw a Painted Bunting in the backyard! Of course my damn crappy camera was too slow to get a picture of it, so you are just going to have to take my word for it.

Here is what they look like (thanks to Encylopedia Britannica for the pic):



Painted Bunting facts according to Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

With bright blue, green, and red plumage, the breeding male Painted Bunting is one of the continent's most gaudily colorful birds. The species breeds in two different populations, one in the south-central United States, and one along the seaboard of the southeastern states.

Description:
Small, bright finch.
Male unmistakable with red chest, blue head, and green back.
Female bright greenish yellow.

Size: 12-13 cm (5-5 in)
Weight: 13-19 g (0.46-0.67 ounces)
Sex Differences
Male brightly colored, female drabber and entirely green.

Sound:
Song is high-pitched, thin, and sweet, consisting of short phrases of variable pitch. Call is a soft rising chip.

Conservation Status:
Breeding Bird Survey data show a steady decline in overall population since 1965. Males are targets of trappers for the cage-bird trade, especially in Mexico. Listed as a species of special concern on the Partners in Flight WatchList.

I still can't believe I just saw one of these! Awesome. I SO need to get myself a new digital camera that thinks faster and takes better photos so I can catch him on camera next time.

11 comments:

Lori said...

I love your dwarf blue morning glories. They caught my eye in the Burpee catalog a few years back, but I assumed that they wouldn't grow in Austin. Good to know! Did you start them from seed?

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie in Austin said...

I will believe you about the painted bunting, Lee17! I saw one two years ago and barely managed to hold the camera, it was so exciting...so I have a blurry photo taken through the window.

'Black & blue' salvia and salvia guaranitica are my blues right now.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Pam/Digging said...

I saw a painted bunting in my garden for the first time a couple of weeks ago. No, I didn't get a picture either, but it was an exciting moment. Congratulations on your sighting.

Rachel @ in bloom said...

I harvested my first zucchini this weekend, as well, but it was kind of wonky-looking - shaped more like a crookneck squash with a bulbous bottom and skinny top. I think it might have had squash blossom end rot. Your zucchini looks much nicer.

And I have the full-sized cannas in my yard, an inheritance from the previous owners. They aren't my favorite, but they're doing well. Personally, I think the little mini-cannas are adorable, and I'd like to find some someday.

Diana said...

Lee17 - LOVE those morning glories with the yellow and white center - I've never seen any like them. They are stunning. As is the bunting. Like you I need a camera that thinks faster! (I think mine is operator error - I just need to read the manual).

Lee17 said...

Lori,

I did start them from seed. I saw a seed packet of them at Lowes and had to have them becuase they were so pretty. They were super-easy to grow :)

Lee17 said...

Annie,

It was exciting! I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first, and then it sunk in and I was like 'Omigosh! I need my camera!'But my camera couldn't get the photo taken quick enough. Darnit-all!

Lee17 said...

Pam,

Thanks! Exciting isn't it? I will be keeping an eye out for the bunting from now on ;)

Lee17 said...

Rachel,

I had one of those funky zuchinni too - I sliced it up and fed it to my African cichlids (they are vegans).

I found all my dwarf Cannas at Home-Depot of all places. I got a mixed pack of yellows and reds.

Lee17 said...

Diana,

The morning glories are really pretty aren't they? I love them too :)

I am trying to convince myself to spend the money to buy a better camera. Mine doesn't do well with anything that moves!