Tuesday, June 17, 2014

joy in june -- garden discoveries at the farm

The weeding continues at the farm. The beds were so overgrown and in that overgrowth were hidden secrets.

In the dense tangle of one rose was this:




No parent bird in sight. I am not very good at identifying the eggs -- the more photos I look at the less sure I am about what eggs these are -- but it looks to me as if a few of these (the ones that aren't so blue) are cowbird eggs (cowbirds are parasitic, laying their eggs in other birds' nests). Maybe that is why the nest was abandoned? I hope it wasn't all of our activity in the area that scared the birds away.

Another discovery happened when I was removing dead branches from a different rose plant. I pulled one branch away and was surprised to find this little guy:




I carried him around in my cupped hands so I could show everyone and by the time I brought him over to the pond to release him I was surprised by how much he had changed color.




Reading about tree frogs confirmed their color-changing ability. We find so many frogs and toads at the farm and constantly hear them singing.

I keep talking about the roses in this overgrown garden. There are quite a few and none are identified. The first to bloom was this lovely yellow one:




I am fairly certain that it's Harison's Yellow. Also known as the Yellow Rose of Texas this rose can be found growing wild along the Oregon Trail and at abandoned homesteads. I love stories of roses growing wild, outliving the people who planted them.

With all the garden clean-up we keep finding long-lost plant tags. For the most part these are from long-dead annuals, but one recent discovery was a tag on one of the rose plants.




I now know that this flower belongs to the David Austin rose The Prince. It's not on their list of the most cold hardy of their varieties, but this rose has received no attention and has quite a few buds and plenty of healthy new growth. After our unusually frigid winter, the fact that it is still alive and kicking is pretty impressive.

Edit: I think I must have been in a haze of excitement over the thought of roses, roses and more roses for not realizing that all of the "but that's not like The Prince" evidence staring me in the face didn't immediately make me realize that this rose is not The Prince. 1. It has survived neglect in an overgrown, weedy garden bed for years. 2. It survived our unusually cold (even for zone 4) winter. 3. It had no fragrance that I could discern. 4. There just aren't enough petals. Of course, now, it is obvious to me even just looking at this photo what rose this is. It is Dr. Huey, sprung up from the root stock of The Prince. Dr. Huey grew up from one of my (very much alive) David Austins in Cleveland. It has lovely flowers and I am a bit smitten by its resilience and it's color, but it's not a David Austin. And I feel silly for tricking myself into believing it was. 

Have you made any discoveries lately? If not, slow down, look and listen and you'll be sure to find something you didn't know was there before.

3 comments:

  1. What sweet discoveries, Anne. I love how interested you are in flowers and all of nature. And how much of it there is around the farm! Such joyful findings!

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  2. A proliferation of frogs and other amphibians is a great indicator of a healthy ecosystem. Whatever you all are doing out there, keep it up! :-)

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  3. Great discoveries Anne! I discovered a hummingbird trying to land to feed on one of our potted plants on the front porch yesterday. :) Will have to hang the feeder.

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