Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One of the Orioles building its nest in my spruce tree

Swamp Milkweed has to be one of the most popular native plants in our garden.

  • Its flowers are not only a very colorful addition to any garden, but a favorite of bees and butterflies.
  • Its milky sap is the food source of the Monarch caterpillar (and provides the insect its natural defense by way of an alkaline poison). Milkweed are vital to Monarchs, as it's the only species of host plant their larva can survive on.
  • Its leaves make the perfect perches and cover for tiny tree frogs.
  • Birds will clutch the stems while hunting for insects, or to drink from lakes and streams.

And finally, I just learned this morning that:

  • Its dried stalks provide downy nesting material for birds, including the Baltimore Oriole currently making house in my spruce tree.

I actually had a few minutes to sit down and enjoy the garden yesterday afternoon, and as Robins, Orioles, Sparrows, and Hummingbirds went about their business, I realized that the amount of wildlife you can see in under an acre of land is just amazing. It's not like we were experts or even had a solid plan when we set out to build this garden. Neither of us have degrees in naturalism or botany, and it's not like we had the money to hire professionals. We'd just done a little research, talked to Wayne, and observed what plants grew well in local parks.

Storms rumbled through yesterday (1" of rain in the gauge), putting the air down into the 60's. Air was so cold overnight (most of this week have highs in the mid-60's) that the water actually steamed as it churned down the waterfall. Looked amazing in the beams of the new solar spotlights we installed. Will try to get some video of it tonight.

Emerging Native Plants:

  • Brown-eyed Susan
  • False Dragonhead
  • False Indigo
  • Fiddlehead Fern
  • Harebell
  • Meadowrue
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Prairie Smoke
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Showy Goldenrod
  • St. Solomon's Seal
  • Starflower
  • Tall Boneset
  • Virgin's Bower
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Wild Grape
  • Woodland Goldenrod
  • Woodland Sunflower

Wildflowers in Bloom:

  • Aborted Buttercup
  • Bloodroot
  • Canadian Anemone
  • Jacob's Ladder
  • Rue Anemone
  • Purple Pasque Flower
  • Wild Geraniuim

Wildlife Spotted:

  • American Toad
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Chorus Frog
  • Crow, Common
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Goldfinch
  • Grackle, Common
  • Grey Squirrel
  • Loon
  • Mallard Duck
  • Mourning Dove
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Nuthatch
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Purple Finch
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Robin, American
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Spring Peeper
  • Tree Swallow
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Virginia Opossum
  • Wild Turkey
  • Wood Duck
  • Wood Frog
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler

No comments: