Thursday, May 16, 2013
The early spring cole crops (direct-seeded) are bolting, although the lettuce that I put in via transplants is still looking great (and it's tasty, too, thanks to cool weather).
I'll be putting in more tomato plants this weekend, as well as sowing beans, squash, etc.!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I harvested lots of chard from the mountain beds earlier in the week (they were starting to bolt).
We had part of it (the harvest) cooked a couple of days ago, but I included the final harvest in a chard salad to take to a local foods potluck this evening. Yum.
I'd not made a fresh chard salad before, amazingly, but chard (chopped finely) is mild in taste, and with some vinaigrette, onions, chives, chive flowers, and some diced purple sweet potatoes -- it made a lovely, colorful, and delicious dish.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I had plenty of milkweed in the Piedmont, but the chilly spring has meant slow emergence in the mountains. And the numbers of monarchs overwintering was at a really low point this year, so help (for the successive broods as they come north) is especially important.
Planting milkweeds of all sorts, but particularly common milkweed, is especially important, as it helps their journey north, as it takes at least 4 generations to make it to the farthest point!
My favorite site for tracking the adults is Journey North, but there are others, too.
And my friend shared this great video about the journey of Monarchs via her Facebook page, which I'm reposting here.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
And Journey North's expert described an amazing array of sightings in his final Weather and Songbird post.
It's a great time to be out watching (and listening) for birds.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Drought and prospective drought has been on the radar for most of the last decade and a half, so this is definitely a welcome change. Exceptionally wet spring conditions seemed to have tipped the balance (plenty of rain in March and April) -- the 2 1/2 inches over the last weekend were the 'icing' on the cake.
The explosion of green leaves expanding is notable; there are wonderful greens of all shades in the newly expanding leaves. And growth, as cells plump up with water, is palpable.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Normally, when I'm on, my SC Botanical Garden colleagues and I answer gardening and general plant questions, but this show was pre-recorded, so Tim (Spira) and I were able to focus on wildflowers, their ecology, where to see them, and share our enthusiasm for them with listeners. Quite fun!
Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: a Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia), so he's been following flowering of wildflowers since late in February.
There was lots to talk about as well as mentioning what we're looking forward to seeing, too, out in the natural world.
Listen to the April 18 conversation here (from Your Day's archives for that week.
Monday, April 22, 2013
A return visit (my third this spring) found all sorts of great wildflowers, including this one.
|A foraging land snail|
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
My past blog posts (about coral honeysuckle were more numerous than I'd expected), but reflect how lovely and significant the peak flowering of Lonicera sempervirens is for me.
Here's a photo of the kitchen door Lonicera a couple of years ago.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
|view of trees from Biltmore|
Yesterday, the sun's angle in the late afternoon created crisp shadows -- in dark contrast to the green of newly-mown pasture. This view from the terrace at Biltmore is spectacular at any time of year, now with the soft greens of emerging leaves on the Blue Ridge mountains beyond.
We'd gone to the Biltmore gardens to see how the tulips were coming along in the Walled Garden. This week's warmth turned out to have been excellent encouragement!
I always love seeing the tulips, one of my first horticultural loves (even if they don't exactly "work for a living" -- my primary screen for plant selection -- meaning wildlife-supporting or edible, but they certainly have a good story (special dispensation for that!)
These trees and the view were even more spectacular.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I haven't had time to get out on birding excursions so far this year, but reports from our local birding group are reporting all sorts of good sightings.
And this report on Weather and Songbird Migration, at Journey North, my favorite real-time observation/citizen science site, predicts an exciting couple of weeks ahead for seeing the return of many of our spring migrants, either as they're passing through, or staying through the warm season here.
Monday, April 8, 2013
|last year's view in late March|
I think it was a female, but the light wasn't good enough to tell. S/he was visiting the Carolina Jessamine flowers outside my study window. So nice to see.
This year's view is quite similar to last year's!