Sweet Violets

Instead of a vase I have a tiny cup this week. It is one my grandmother used to give me with a rare cup of sweet tea when I was little, so I’ve placed it on a string table mat she made. The violets have such short little stems this cup is perfect for them.

Even this tiny cupful casts a strong scent.

I planted violets on top of my dahlias and put rocks around them to protect them from random spades and hungry pheasants while they are dormant in winter. As it happens, they are fairly obvious because they push up out of the ground, and I usually leave a bit of stem when I cut them back. The violets get enough sun to flower in winter, and shade all summer while it’s hot.

Violets growing over dahlias in winter

Luckily the pheasants don’t go to the lengths they will go to get sweet potatoes and don’t normally dig up a whole clump. They seem to be a handy starch in winter, not tasty enough to bother with in summer. Even so, they can do quite a bit of damage eating the above ground tubers, leaving a way in for slugs when they are finished.

Dahlia bulbs eaten by pheasants and invaded by slugs

This particular dahlia is big and bright crimson and incredibly prolific. (I got it originally from a big clump of tubers left at our local dump) I love it, but there are only so many places where a big red dahlia will fit in, so I don’t begrudge the pheasants if they do a bit of growth control on this one.

The dump dahlia in summer.

I love to see the big boy pheasant stalking around on the lawn, making a show of patrolling while the girls hide in the garden. He is shy, and walks quickly away, trying not to run, if I come out while he is there. So it may take a while for me to get a photo of him.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this meme and here is the link to ‘Sunshine on a Cloudy Day’ in a vase on Monday.

Weta Story

As I mentioned in IAVOM I was startled to find a Weta floating spreadeagled on the freezing water in the empty vase I had just filled. I have no idea how he got there. I think I would have seen him if he was there in the vase when I added the water, and they don’t fly, and he wouldn’t have climbed up the vase to fall in, so…he must have fallen from the ceiling, or the beam above the sink. In any case I scooped him out as fast as I could and he seemed unharmed.

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spring bulbs narcissus and verbena

In a Vase on Monday – Spring Bulbs

It was a brilliant sunny morning after a freezing night, and there were still spots of frost in the shadows. I filled a vase with water in the porch and headed out with some scissors to pick flowers. When I came back there was a small weta floating spreadeagled in the vase. I scooped him out and put him down in the sun, worried about his dip in the freezing water, but he quickly started looking for shelter and shade, first trying the vase, and then the scissors as a hiding place.

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lambs and mom

Spring – hail, thunder, howling gales and lambs

Hail, thunder, gale force winds, and the mud that results from weeks of the same made it an interesting weekend for gardening. The rain may have softened the blow for the dogwoods which I mistakenly planted on a steep dry bank – having survived for two years their reward is to be dug up and wrestled into a wheelbarrow for transport to a wetter place.

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starlings eggs

3 More Starlings in the Clan

As the sun went down last night C was lucky enough to see the oldest starling family leave home. Whether it was because they were distracted by him or just lack of skill or both, 2 of the 3 babies flew into trees and had to pick themselves up before making it to the top of the ridge, closely sheparded by their parents. We waited for a while outside until it was cold and almost dark, but they didn’t come back.

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