TBGDN's blog

There's Something About Zinnias
Posted on Sep 4, 2017 7:13 AM

Thumb of 2017-09-04/TBGDN/bafd33 Thumb of 2017-09-04/TBGDN/c7b1feAs far back as I can remember as a child we've always had zinnias in the gardens about the house. These flowers have always been an attractant for insects like bees, and assorted butterflies. In recent years as I have grown older I've tried to recapture some of the memories that I once had as a young lad. These were memories of everyday life on the farm, and in the woodlands, creeks and meadows. Of all the experiences in my life none compare to the happy memories of my childhood. For me those were carefree days of freedom from adult life and the responsibilities associated with it. Plants, animals and all living things were an adventure to be cherished and explored. There was nothing dull or boring about them. These were my "classroom studies" long before the school room and written books. These were happy years when I learned things about nature; things like plants, animals, trees and birds. Each of them held a spell of interest and appeal to me that lasts to this day. Children today miss some of life's simplest pleasures because of lack of environment and encouragement from adults.

But I digress; this post is something to do about zinnias. Oh yes, I guess it's the memories of them from childhood. It is strange how things from a half century or more can enter into the memory of an aging body and bring about happiness. I guess that is the reason I still plant and grow a large assortment of flowers and vegetables each year in my gardens. And I must admit the memories don't help me to keep everything neat and clean and all the weeds pulled. There is so much work associated with my happy memories, not to mention the reality of "real-life" gardening and hard, sweaty, dirty fingernail, grubby WORK that is mandatory for success! Here are some present day pictures that contribute to my "memory file" of 50 years plus.

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I suppose I could not write about these words called "gardening" and "zinnias" without including the four letter dirty word called W-O-R-K. It takes a lot of that word to be successful. And our nation has even set aside a SPECIAL day for us to celebrate our year-long work. It is called LABOR DAY, and is celebrated each September on the first Monday! May you each enjoy the fruits of your labors on this special day!
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A Bird Story
Posted on Jul 22, 2017 7:47 PM

Tom's story of the Birds In A Bucket caught my attention today. The thread "Birds In A Bucket" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum https://garden.org/forums/view...
Thumb of 2017-07-20/TBGDN/3178b7It reminded me of another bird story a few years back. A storm had ravaged our gardens and trees that summer, and I had gone out to check for damages near dark. Suddenly this near naked little form appeared in front of me lying helplessly on the cold, wet grass. I looked all around and found no nest, and no parent birds. My thoughts were "Oh no, I can't save this tiny bird; it's too small!" With darkness and more storms coming on fast I cradled her in my hands and warmed her with my breath. Looking around for final hope of a nest I took her into the kitchen where I (we, wife now involved) made a nest of tissues and paper towels in a small pail and placed it on the kitchen counter in a warm spot.. She would surely not survive the night we thought.

Thumb of 2017-07-20/TBGDN/b14b72We knew she was a Chipping Sparrow baby since the shrubs around the yard are a favorite habitat, and we've long encouraged them. They are migratory, going south in the winter, and return each spring for summer habitat and nesting. They are seed eaters meaning we had to find something for nourishment if she was to survive. So I headed out to the supermarket to get strained baby foods and a syringe. The next morning we carefully uncovered the "nest" to find this tiny head reaching for us with mouth open. A small amount from the syringe was immediately swallowed by short periods of rest and more faint "cheeps" with raised head and open mouth. To our surprise and relief she made improvements throughout the day and well into the following night. By next morning she was making faint cheeps which stopped only with small bits of food. It was encouraging to see, but never ending feedings and nest cleanings were mandatory.

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This tiny life would be saved, but we worried about her adapting to outdoors and other birds. So the answer was to condition her to other birds and outdoor environment. It would be a big job for this small creature. But we were determined to see it through no matter the cost in time and effort. Over the coming days and weeks we had to treat her as though she was in the "wild" by leaving her outdoors for extended hours, with each day adding longer hours. We grew increasingly worried about attacks from other birds, the possibility of hawks and the risk of cats. But she grew, fledged, and loved the freedom of the open landscape. She would sometimes fly down and sit on my shoulder or lap and ask for food. Then she would hop down on my shoe and pick at some imaginary insect, then off she would fly.

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After several weeks she stayed away longer, and longer; but if she saw us at 200 feet away she would come and greet us. We knew in our hearts she needed to be without us in her now expanding environment. So other than minimal garden work and mowing we stayed out of her world as much as possible. Somehow it was heartbreaking not to be near her, but it was her life that mattered, and that was what we were trying to preserve, not ours.

As summer faded into autumn she eventually failed to return to us again. My only consolation was that my prayers would be answered for her safety in the wild, especially in migration. I was so reminded of the TV story of "Born Free" starring the lioness cub Elsa. I could only imagine what it was like to let an animal return to the wild after intimate contact. I never knew a human being could form such a strong bond to such a small species of bird or other animal. Even now I must force myself to stay away from young animals and birds, knowing that their natural instincts are better than mine. There is only one emotion that I can use to describe the feeling of separation and that is loneliness and heartbreak. And to this day I can still experience that emotion.

Thumb of 2017-07-23/TBGDN/c614afHello, and welcome to my blog. I am known here simply as TBGDN (tall bearded iris garden)This story is true and occurred more than seven years ago; and it remains a part of my memory to this day. The most important point I can make from this experience is to always show compassion, concern and care for nature's creatures, especially the little ones. But there is also another emotion of the human heart that tells us not to get so deeply involved in nature's work! That is so difficult for someone like me who spent a childhood in the fields, woodlands and streams among every part of nature! Whenever I need to make a decision of this sort in preservation of wildlife I try my best to follow the laws of the area where I live. But when there is immediate danger of loss of life, then I must let my heart make the final decision. By no means does this mandate what others must do in similar situations. We are all put together differently in body, mind and spirit. Each of us must follow our own conscience.

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Irises In Indiana May, 2017 Part Six
Posted on May 29, 2017 7:19 PM

May 29, 2017 It is Memorial Day week-end and things have been very busy. There is garden work of all kinds including, weeding, planting, tilling, de-bugging, etc. etc. This post is concerned with irises and likely will be the last one for 2017. The medians and dwarfs were a disaster this year because of up and down weather patterns. And now that the tall bearded ones are about done we get slammed by a series of storms with driving rain, hail and high winds. Long story short: Nasty, bad weather all spring! The last one was Sunday evening about 6:32 PM when everything cut loose; thunder, lightening, strong winds, hail and I don't know what else! I thought the west windows would break from the pounding hail. Needless to say, that put a stop to my iris season for 2017. Everything was either shredded, blown down, or snapped off.

I'll look for pre-storm pictures when time permits. Meanwhile I'll close out the iris season with this blog post. It will become a record of what happened and when. It just was not a good year, but we march on!

Pictures of Vanity before and after the storm
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May31, 2017 Today marks the end of May, and June will soon arrive on our doorsteps. It has been somewhat frustrating this month caring for and protecting iris plants. With the frustration comes the reward of all the beautiful blooms, as well as gifts to friends, elderly and just plain people. I did look (and find) a few pictures that I had taken before the bad storms of Sunday evening, May 28th. I'll post them here just for the record, and just because they were part of my garden this year in 2017.
Below are Silverado, Sierra Grande & Song of Norway
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Then there were these three, Holy Night, Heartbreaker, and Starship Enterprise
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I cannot close out the year without adding these: Presence on each side of Harlem Hussy. They are all excellent quality irises.
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Irises In Indiana May, 2017 Part Five
Posted on May 27, 2017 8:40 AM

May 27, 2017 Wow! Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that I started these blog posts. Long story short, April was a disaster! Yet it was way back on May 10th.....17 days ago when I had my first pictures posted of the dwarfs, miniature dwarfs and a few others that were available and undamaged. The weather this year has been so quirky, and unpredictable. The small ones had very hard freezes, frosts and any number of bad weather phenomena and at least one cold snow. For awhile it was nothing to wake up to temperatures in the very low 30's F, and many days with a hard overnight freeze. And then later it was nothing to have back-to-back thunderstorms with high damaging winds! From reading the posts of others in the Iris Forum I realize I am not alone with bad weather. So that I do not forget the spring of 2017, "the weather was crappy!" Sorry folks I'll need to remember that next year!

So with that said here are some pictures from May 23, 2017. These are for my records, and I'm sure that I posted most of them in the Iris Forum. They are placed here as a means of jogging my memory, and for anyone else who cares to look. First below are Batman, Blackbeard and Black Suited.

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Next are Bundle Of Love on each side of Different World.
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Next are two views of Elizabeth Poldark on each side of a mixed perennial bed.
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Next are three pictures of irises donated to my garden from Arlyn in Illinois. @crowrita1 They are Monsignor on each side of Ramses. Thank you Arlyn for sharing these two historics!
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Below this set is a close up shot of Ramses, then Ringo, an old iris from George Shoop, and then a general garden shot in the center.
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Next is Shadows Of Night from Rick Tasco at Superstition Iris Gardens, then Shepherd's Delight, a beautifully bearded iris from England. And lastly is Sultry Mood, a Schreiner iris from the 90's I think.
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The last entry for this post is a gorgeous old iris from Grace Sturtevant, 1920. It is a great historic iris for the collector.
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This will conclude my blog post for May 23rd, 2017 pictures. I will continue to update with pictures from May 24th & May 25th when I get my outside work caught up for today, May 27, 2017.

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Irises In Indiana May, 2017 Part Four
Posted on May 21, 2017 2:45 PM

May 21, 2017 I never knew weather could be so obstructive and downright messy this time of year! But I must say this has been one of the worst months for gardening let alone irises in a long, long time! I had posted a weather map in part three of this continuing blog. And that is pretty much what we have endured for the past several days. Before that system there was a perpetual strong wind from the north and east almost every day! We have yet to start the vegetable garden this year except for some onions and lettuce. So we seem to be running about two weeks behind in planting. Weather has impacted iris blooms tremendously this year; wind, hail, and heavy rains have done a lot of damage. And unfortunately many iris blossoms were not fit for pictures, but I salvaged what I could.

Here are from left to right: Crowned Heads on each side of Honorabile. These were taken today before the storm.
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Next is Monsignor, a historic iris, centered between two views of Olympiad, a great iris hybridized by Joe Ghio.
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Next is Queen's Circle followed by Ramses, a historic iris, and then Shepherd's Delight from England.
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The last entry for today shows Vanity's Child at left, Song Of Norway, center, and Yaquina Blue at right.
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May 22, 2017 I had wanted to get more pictures for this blog today, however the wind was too strong at morning sunlight. So I went back through the files to pick up a few from the stormy weather days last week. We had three days in a row of rain, sleet/hail and wind. Therefore I salvaged three to add today. below left is TB, Blue Shimmer, by Jacob Sass, 1941. It is a hauntingly beautiful old iris which I have determined to keep. Then there is Queen's Circle, a beautiful 'newer' iris from Frederick Kerr, 1999/2000. And lastly there's Vanity, a beautiful old pink iris from the late Ben Hager, 1974-1975.
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