Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Birds, Blooms, and Bugs?

Envious of all the beautiful bird photography out there in blog land, I tried my hand with these shots of fledgling robins. Okay, I'll not win any awards, but I enjoyed taking them. And the little guys were so cute. Mama was nearby keeping an eye on them and I am sure she was still feeding them as well. They were fairly cooperative in posing for me, although I think they were more interested in the coming of food. Not really knowing much about birds of this long will it be before they can fly? Don't they have to have some tail feathers first?

Remember the lightening rods we saved when we had the new roof put on?

I planted a 'Moon-flower Vine', Ipomoea Alba, a couple of weeks ago. I wrapped a small tendril around one of the bottom braces hoping it would climb the rod. Well, it did! All the way to the top, round and round, and there are several tendrils now. I am so pleased and will be even more so when it blooms.

Now, I have a problem and am hoping someone out there can help. Something is eating the petals off my coneflowers. Mostly, I have noticed the bud starting to turn color and then the petals are gone before they have had a chance to fully open.

Or, they leave one or two. I have checked the eaten buds and see nothing. They aren't getting them all, it would take an army to eat all the buds that are in the garden! Any ideas?

Admittedly, this is not a great picture, but I was so excited to see these little flowers. These are from seeds I started indoors and are from some that Cheryl sent me. They are 'Cerinthe', major purpurascens. They look a little like our bluebells and are supposed to flower all summer reaching a height of 12"-15". A little bit of England growing in my garden!

As promised, the planter that fits around my patio table umbrella. It is planted with 'blush' impatiens, 'pride' coleus, and pinks. It is starting to fill in and soon will be overflowing -I hope.

One more picture of these Asiatic lilies. This stalk has 12 blooms and buds on it. I have had to put a stake by it to help keep it upright. This one stalk repeatedly has performed like this. Have I said, I am amazed!?

I have a couple of the granddaughters tomorrow and Friday and I am taking them swimming. They will swim, I'll be reading a book. Saturday, Rose and I are going on a 'Master Gardeners' garden walk. I am really excited about this. Next week, I hope to have lots of beautiful garden photos to share. And the great thing is the weather here has moderated. We are back to June weather-highs of near 80, lows in the upper 50's and low humidity. Thank goodness! It's a joy to be outside again.
I hope the rest of your week and the weekend are good gardening weather for you!
*Just a quick note to those of you who feed Zick Dough to your birds. Please read Julie's post about this.


archana said...
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Lisa at Greenbow said...

Beckie, your flowers are really looking beautiful. I love the way your lightening rod is looking with the moon vine going up it. The moon vine will probably cover it and anything around it. It will be so pretty when it blooms.

I read the post about the Zick dough. I am glad we don't put suet out during summer. It might not be so good for the birds.

I wish I was going on the MG tour with you and Rose. Melissa and I did one of those tours last year in Evansville. It was great fun and we saw lots of interesting gardens. There is one in Princeton this weekend I hope to go to it.

Rose said...

Beckie, The baby robins are darling; I think you did a great job taking photos of them.
A moonflower around a lightning rod--how creative!
I hope you find out about the coneflowers; they're usually so tough, I can't imagine what would be eating them.
Looking forward to Saturday, too.

Karen said...

Your lightning rod looks great ... what a cute idea! I don't know what could be eating your coneflowers, but I had several different flowers this year that I thought were being eaten but it ended up being blackbirds pecking at my plants to use for nesting materials.

Jane Marie said...

I love the baby bird pictures. I've had trouble getting good shots of birds also; I think you need a good zoom so you can stay far away. These were certainly good enough for us to experience what you were and that's all that counts. Loved them!

beckie said...

Lisa, thanks. The rod probably isn't big enough, but wanted to try it. Ever since seeing this flower at T's I have wanted one. I was saddened to learn about Zick dough, although I think we can still feed it in winter. Like you, I quit putting suet out when spring arrived. Have fun on your garden walk!

Rose, don't those baby robins look like little ruffians!? I was amazed at how quickly the vine has grown. Can't wait for the flowers-the are spectacular. I guess if it doesn't get any worse, whatever is enjoying them can have some. Yeah! It's almost time for our garden walk.

Karen, thank you. I knew I had to have those rods in the garden(my husband thought it a little odd-but what do they know!)I never though about birds using them. That could be on possibility since I can't see any bugs.

Jane Marie, even with a really good camera, I don't think I'm going to get good shots like some I've seen. But I am happy with my efforts and enjoy doing what I can. Glad you liked them.

Mountain Mama said...

Moon Flowers on a lightning rod! Great idea. I love it when a plant cooperates so well, doing exactly what we hope for.

Your baby Robin is so cute, and I'm sure you are right about it waiting for food. Thats about all they think of.

I'm not sure what could be eating your Coneflower, but my daughter is a Master Gardner and she suggests picking off a couple of the eaten blossoms and putting them in a zip lock bag, then shake it. If there are any insects on it they should fall off and you can use a magnifying glass if necessary to identify them.

Also if you live in an area where slugs or snails are, you might check for them too. They are voracious little critters and totally cleaned out a whole row of rutabage seedlings in my garden this spring. They LOVE Lily's too.

Love your Lily. I have an orange one that has around 50 buds on it this year. I will post it when it blooms.

Perennial Gardener said...

Your lillies are lovely. I love the shots of the baby robins. I have a nest in one of my planters with a robins egg in it. I haven't seen it hatch yet. The lightening rod as a support for your moonflowers was a creative idea.

beckie said...

Judy, Thanks, I am really liking the rods in the gardens. I will try the bag and then put on my glasses to see what's in there:) A Master Gardener for a daughter. How great!! 50 buds on a lily stalk, I can't even imagine. Cant wait to see the pictures.

Perennial Gardener, Thank you. I knew I just had to use those rods in the gardens. I have really taken more of an interest in the birds this year. I have 2 cousins that have influenced me greatly. Robins are so cute at the fledgling stage-little roughnecks with their messy feathers and loud squawking for food.

K.C. said...

The baby birds were so cute that I was smiling instantly when I popped in this morning. The flowers were so pretty that I was smiling as well.. Glad that I came in this morning.. Kayce

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie Nice post and so pleased that the cerinthe are showing their faces.

The coneflowers, could it be slugs eating them...I have several daisy type flowers all being eaten and I caught a slug last night on one of them.

The robins are lovely....they are of course ground feeders, so will take a few days at least before they can fly.....

The lighening rod looks lovely Beckie, what a jolly good idea....

Enjoy your weekend.......

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm going to point the finger at Earwigs as your Coneflower culprit. They are voracious, rapacious munchers. They hide during the day so you don't see them on the flowers. I hope you find out what is causing the damage & can find a way to prevent it.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Love the little robin.

Those lightening rods have become quite sought after by collectors. I wanted one but they are pretty pricey. Looks very nice there in the garden.

Wendy said...

Oh, I love those little baby robins. Glad you were able to get their pics! And your lilies!! Simply beautiful. I really like the deep shade of pink.
The planter around your patio pole is striking. Mind if I copy your idea?

beckie said...

Kayce, thanks so much for visiting. Those bay robins were fun to watch. I forgot the cat was outside and happened to see her in her 'jungle cat' pose and grabbed her before she got to one.

Cheryl, I didn't see the babies today, so I assume mama got them to a less conspicuous area. I don't know about slugs getting way up on the flowers as they are 3 ft. tall, but who knows...maybe. I am pleased with the lightning rods. They must be 100 yrs or older as our house is. One of the 3 doesn't have it's blue ball anymore so it is in a less prominent place in the garden. Hope your special guest and you have a wonderful weekend!

MMD, Someone else mentioned Earwigs, maybe it was you. I am so dumb I didn't know what they were. Well, I am going straight to Google when I finish here and see what to do about the little buggers! Thanks so much for the info.

Marnie, I hadn't seen them in the antique shops, but figured they were collectible. Steve(hubbie) is going to get some extra long anchors for them. That way they won't be easily blown over or taken. We really don't have that kind of problem here, but you never know.

Wendy, I enjoyed my little bit of birding.:) Yes, you can borrow. The planter was one I got a few years ago at a big discount store. It has hole in the middle for he umbrella and doesn't take up much room or blow off. It even has a built in tray that catches excess water. Now if those pants will just fill out a little more!

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie....just to say slugs got to the top of my lupins. They are around three feet to. There were some more there last night, good climbers those slugs!!!

Laura said...

Love the pictures of the baby birds! I just finished reading Rose's blog entry about not being able to take decent pictures of birds and insects- I hope she isn't too jealous!!!

I can't wait to see the pictures of the garden walk!

garden girl said...

Beckie, your garden is looking really lovely.

You did a great job capturing those sweet little robins.

Cathy said...

Your blooms are beautiful. I particularly like the Asiatic lilies. Your photos of the birds are awesome. I wish I could do that.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I hope you are enjoying the weekend. How fun that you were able to get so close to the little robins.

I don't know what could be eating your coneflower petals. I've never had anything eat mine before. The Japanese beetles like them, but it's a little early for those. I always dread that time of summer when I have to pick those little buggers off everything.

beckie said...

Cheryl, who knew those slimy little buggers could climb that high!? Thanks.

Laura, the baby robins were a fluke. I will never get that close again I am sure.

Garden Girl. Thanks. The garden is coming along, but after the garden walk I have extreme garden envy.

Cathy, I like the Asiatic lilies too. They provide a segue from spring bloomers into the summer time blooms. And they are such bright spots of color.

Robin, I thought of you when I was taking those pictures. They were just young enough not to fly and didn't seem to be very afraid. More interested in getting fed. The Beetles don't seem to bother the cone flowers but go right for the roses and butterfly bush. I can't seem to bring my self to pick them off, so I spray hot sauce and water on them. Works-sort of.