As 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.
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...
It 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.
We 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.
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!
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!
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.