Saturday, May 27, 2017

Natural Happenings at the Nursery 2017

What's in Bloom...Aug 5

As August comes in, all three Rudbeckia species are in full bloom, as is the Swap Milkweed, Phlox, Marsh Rattlesnake Master, Seashore Mallow, Swamp Rose Mallow, Boneset, Meadow Beauties, Spotted Horsemint and Great Blue Lobelia. The Lobelia look particularly great paired with Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba.) On deck are Cardinal Flower, New York Ironweed and Joe Pye weed ready to pop within a week.

The moon garden received a few White Phlox I got from Bowman's Hill. They took off and are blooming already. The Maryland Meadow beauty I planted there was unfortunately eaten by bunnies. The Pale pink Swamp Milkweed did great and is a butterfly magnet.

I have been honored to have company for the past month and that meant a helping hand to rip out some of the invasive species in the front of the property and to fill in some nice compost for planting a rain garden. This will be a NJ rain garden with all South Jersey plants and a couple Piedmont species that don't mind wet feet on occasion.

In the Lives of the Wildlife
The frogs have grown quiet except for rainy nights, but there are so many tadpoles in the pond. but in their place are the Katydids. I have seen over ten species of butterflies including a Monarch who laid eggs on the swamp milkweed, The babies have hatched and are feeding. A young Northern Fence Lizard has become quite comfortable in the nursery lounging on the plant tables and not a bit camera shy. Mama the rabbit has had babies who unfortunately eat my plants. I guess I better get them started on carrots like Mama.


What's in Bloom...July 1

As July comes in, so does Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) both purple and the white cultivars White Swan and Pow Wow White. While I usually don't do cultivars, I like them for the moon garden for the white flowers that stand out in the moonlight. Also both Monardas are breaking out, the red (didyma) and the lavender (fistulosa). I find the fistulosa attracts many more pollinator than does didyma, which I have only seen the hummingbirds on, but boy do they love it. Rattlesnake Master (Eyringium yuccafolium is just starting to bloom in the moon garden.  I have added some non-native annals in pots like white vinca, impatiens and pentas to add some white between the perennials blooming. With additional solar lighting and wind chimes, its beginning to become a peaceful night spot.

Whorled Loosestrife
Then there are the woodland plants, Wintergreen, aka teaberry, (Gaultheria procumbens), and Spotted Wintergreen, (Chimaphila maculata),and Whorled Loosestrife, (Lysimachia quadrifolia). There are not in the garden, rather along the trails and driveway.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

Pine Barrens Tree Frog
 A ground skink hangs around the nursery trays and a Pine Barrens Tree Frog has appeared this year for the first time often calling on wet evenings along with the Grays. It's really a treat to have him. I hope he sticks around for the season. 


What's in Bloom... June 7

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
The Slender Blue Flag continues to bloom as the Northern Blue Flag, (Iris versicolor) is beginning to burst out. These look more like your typical Iris with the wide leaves. Also blooming in the Moon Garden are Colic Root and Foxglove Beardtongue( Penstemon digitalis). The Penstemon are breath taking to see at dusk, an ideal moon garden plant. Also a Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is blooming across the street as well as Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis). The Laurels seem to be having a great year this year with nice tight, full blooms. The Blueberries in the native fruit orchard are also forming. Can't wait to harvest them.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

The last couple days of rainy weather has brought back the Spring Peepers and The Northern Grey Tree Frogs at night. Hummingbirds are hanging out on the wires and nectaring on the Eastern Wild Columbine.

What's in Bloom...  May 27

April saw the blooming of Golden Ragwort, Golden Alexanders, Wild Stonecrop and Violets. As May approached they began to fade and the Lyre Leaf Salvia opened up, and as it has spread quite a bit, made for a very showy display this year . Shortly after, the Eastern Wild Columbine burst out, also doing really good this year. It is currently still blooming, though starting to fade. In the wooded are the Ladies Slippers bloomed. Meanwhile my Pitcher Plant looks better than ever, having benefited from being divided last year. It is in full bloom right now as is the Blue Eyed Grass.
Also just beginning to burst out is Hairy Penstemon and Echinacea "Pow Wow White" a cultivar I picked up last year for the Moon Garden. And finally in the bog garden, Slender Blue Flag, (Iris prismatica) is just beginning. This week in the wooded area, Cow Wheat and Sheep Laural are blooming.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

The Carolina Wrens nesting in my bag of hickory chips under the charcoal grill have grown up and flown away. There were three of them

The Titmouse pair that inhabited the Bluebird house last year returned and had their young. Today I saw four fledglings leave the nest.

The Bluebird couple that has always nested in the old woodpecker cavity of the cut tree have decided to build elsewhere. The tree has mostly rotted at the top now and I supposed they didn't think it made a good home any longer. So they are attempting to get in the bluebird house on my front porch which was inhabited by Chickadees last year. But the Chickadee has also returned, so I am waiting to see which one will have it. Cardinals are nesting, many woodpeckers, Pine Warblers, House Finches, Goldfinches, Hummingbirds; everyone is back except the Cowbirds, haven't seem them yet. The Chuck Will's Widow is back and singing at night at the top of his lungs.

There are plenty of butterflies, Tiger Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail and Red Spotted Purple to name a few. Saw my first Swamp Darner of the season today.

Spring Peepers have moved to the pond and also sing at the top of their lungs...... ALL NIGHT LONG!!!. Seriously they don't stop until about 530am. They are starting to fade now though, returning only after a good rain. The Northern Grey Tree Frogs can also be heard in the wooded area near the pond as can the Fowler's Toads.

"Mama" my tame wild rabbit, has built a nest in the Echinacea in the pollinator garden, and let me film her doing it. She is quite a character. It was interesting to watch. Now there are baby rabbits running around along with the squirrels and chipmunks. I will update here when I see something
new to add.

A female Ebony Jewelwing has been visiting the pollinator garden. No doubt looking for insects. She appeared again today and I was able to get a picture. They are not commonly seen in the yard, but there is a stream about 500 feet from me, so she probably ventured from there.



  1. Thanks for sharing! Hope to be able to get out and meet you sometime.

  2. The pleasure is mine, Malcolm. Always happy to share whatever I learn on my journey discovering the natural world.