Law of Attraction fact- Do what you love and more of it will come to you. A few cooler overcast days preceded by two inches of rain made for perfect, day-long, working-weather in my book. So, for the past few days, I’ve been taking advantage of this universal law.
I am learning to be more mindful when I garden, thanks to my insightful husband. Instead of worrying about the usual raft of things that continually speed through my mind, I force myself to concentrate on the task that I’m doing. Even weeding is starting to have positive effect on me. The mindfulness is working quite well, I must admit. I do feel different. Dave claims he can tell by the tone of my voice when I’ve been working outside.
So while cleaning up a few dead stems that were still standing in the bronze fennel (yes, it’s June and I did not remove them), I spotted this gorgeous creature. Actually this post was motivated by my finding this eastern black swallowtail butterfly larvae munching on bronze fennel which is a host plant for the eggs, larvae and chrysalis.
Finding one of these caterpillars is like hitting the jackpot for me 😉 I know that I’m working along with nature and this is my reward.
Another nature windfall happened about two weeks ago, as we installed 7 wooden birdhouses that our friend Jim built for the gardens. He signed each one and noted the bird that it would attract. As we were just finishing up, with one house yet to be installed, a bluebird (male) was hovering around one of the houses that was standing. We watched as the bird tried to fit in the hole, but it was too small. So Dave quickly removed the house that was up and replaced it with the bluebird house that was left. As soon as the bluebird house was up, that curious bluebird came back and sat on top of the house then checked out the hole. We were astonished! It was almost as if he was waiting for it to go up. We were humbled and we both felt an odd connection to that bird. Little did we realize that there was such a bird-housing crunch. We sat under the pergola and watched how quickly the birds landed on the houses we just installed. Within 2 days six of the homes were occupied.
The only unoccupied home was for a robin. It was installed on the barn under the eaves. Robins usually build nests on the wreath in the window so it seemed like a good location.
As I took time wandering around today with a camera in hand, I was fortunate to get this photo of a male bluebird perched on top of the bluebird house.
Seconds later, the female showed up with a beakful of nesting material.
I waited to see her put the nest material inside but she flew when she noticed me. I’m hopeful for the bluebird family.
There are predator birds everywhere and I noticed one hanging around an old gourd birdhouse that I hung in the herb garden a few months ago. As I shooed away the black bird, I saw a chickadee with food. When I peeked into the hole, I saw a tiny open beak inside. From what I can tell, there are two little ones in there. Who knew? I guess it’s time to bring out the box of apple gourds that’s in the barn and start drilling holes.
I noticed that the blooms this year are extremely abundant! I don’t know if it was the cold winter or generous snow cover that had an effect . I don’t ever remember this many peonies opening at the same time on one plant.
I’m equally impressed with the show of early yellow Dumortier’s daylily (Hemerocallis dumortieri). It’s an amazing show!
I love these early daylilies because they are so fragrant. I like to mix them with the burgundy leaves of fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’) because the backside of the flower has a bit of burgundy shading. The burgundy adds a great contrast to yellow. (Not to be confused with purple loosestrife the noxious weed.)
And since we’re talking about yellow, don’t you just adore this yellow tree peony? This is the last of 4 blooms this year. It was planted in the fall and I’m impressed that it came through this winter so great.
As I reached over to take this photo, I noticed a beetle inside. It’s the Pennsylvania leatherwing beetle (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus).
These beetles are aphid eaters and great pollinators .
Insects are a part of nature and they are food for the birds. When you think about using chemicals to kill them, remember you are taking away the food source of the birds that visit your garden. Be mindful and appreciate all of nature, not just the flowers.
I’m off to move a mountain of mulch and getting in the vortex once more.