Sunday, June 30, 2013

The new patio tent and a mish-mash of flowers...

This is the new tent we picked up last week for over our little backyard patio.

We would love to have gotten a few more years out of the old tent...

... but during the high winds and heavy rains of the past few weeks, several branches fell right through the tent to the patio below (Glad I wasn't sitting out there when it happened!).

 And although the little white wicker set under the tent is water resistant, it's not waterproof. As it is, it's deteriorating faster than we'd like so we want to keep it as dry as possible to get as many (more) years out of it as we can.

 While I was out photographing the tent, I noticed one of the bright clematis blooms right by the deck. I focused first on the new tent in the background....

... and then on the clematis bloom right next to me. I have to say, I'm really pleased with my little Canon Power Shot Point & Shoot. I know it's nothing fancy, but it has served me well over the years.

I did the same thing on the other side of the deck, focusing first on the impatiens on the dining room window 'screen feeder' flower box...

... and then on the clematis cascading across the arbor over the back yard gate.

This last photo is just the hanging basket I put together that hangs from the deck with the girls' old tree house in the background.

A couple of posts ago I shared a photobomb I recently captured, and in my next post I'll share a videobomb that I caught today! It's all in the timing...

I hope you are all having a beautiful weekend. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The cardinal climber vine loves our homemade tree branch obelisk!

 The cardinal climber is now in bloom!

What a beautiful burst of (much needed) color to our little backyard garden!

Last year I planted cardinal climber from seed. Sadly, the few vining tendrils that did take off didn't even bloom until late September, long after my hummers were gone.
(watercolor filter)
So this year, I purchased plants that had already been started. And yippee! They took off like a shot, quickly climbing the branches of the rustic obelisk we built last year.

Less than a week ago, the vines were covered with buds...

... but only an occasional bloom or two.

The bright red trumpet shaped flowers...

... are supposed to be very appealing to hummingbirds!
(I say supposed to be because I've not seen a single hummer at the vine yet!)

But now that more and more flowers are blooming, I'm sure my little friends will take notice.

These should bloom until the first frost...

... long after my hummer friends are gone.

A photo from last week, before the vines started blooming. 
Here the focus is on the cardinal climber in the background...

...and here, the focus shifts to the purple flowers in the foreground (on the deck).

And if the hummers do get tired of hovering at the blooms once they've discovered them, they can always take a rest on one of the feeders. Right now, this feeder hangs from our deck...

This one from the cherry tree...

This one from the mulberry tree...

And lastly, this feeder hangs from the swing set deck.

Last week I switched the various feeders around a bit. I had just finished hanging this feeder from the swing set deck when a hungry male ruby-throat zeroed in on it. Luckily I had camera in hand!

He shifted positions a few times, looking right at me in this photo, before going back to sipping the sugar water. I so enjoy these little visitors!!

We are in the middle of a heat wave here in the Northeast so I'm filling all of my bird baths twice a day. Hopefully the muggy weather and high temps will take leave soon!

I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

This week I'm joining Claudia, Mockingbird Hill Cottage for A Favorite Thing Saturday,
Brenda, Cozy Little House for Tweak It Tuesday,
Tracie, Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Garden Party
and Cindy, My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday


Saturday, June 22, 2013

the Mermaid, the Lily, and the Photobomb

At the base of our deck stairs, right next to our swing set sitting area is a small garden.

A mermaid, perched on the bottom step, seems to enjoy this location.

I know this because she is always in the same relaxed position, soaking up the summer sun, with a most blissful look on her face.

 I planted several lilies in this spot a few years ago, but like many other things I've planted in 'groupings,' only one plant seems to have survived.

I think it rather enjoys being the main attraction in this little garden setting.

We have finally purchased some much needed bark mulch and hopefully we'll have this little area looking oh-so-much tidier in the not too distant future.

When I was snapping these photos yesterday, I didn't realize I'd captured a photobomb until I saw the pictures on my computer screen (look closely and you'll see it, too!).

 There, in all his little glory, was Chip with a peanut in each cheek and one in his mouth.  Chip, you made this photo all the better, you funny little guy!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Climbing Clematis

 I love clematis. How could I not? Just look at those blossoms!

 Their only downside is that, like all perennials, the bloom time is relatively short.
(dry brush filter)
 The clematis that climbs our light post is simply spectacular when flowering.

 Heavy rains over the past several weeks, however, brought an even earlier end to its short bloom time. These photos were taken about two weeks ago, when the vine was still covered with flowers.

Not to worry though. The clematis climbing the arbor over the garden gate has just started blooming. Not as spectacularly as in years past, thanks to me accidentally cutting the vine growing up the side of the arbor that you see in the photo above. A winding trumpet vine was starting to warp the lattice, and since it was too shady a spot for the vine to even blossom, I decided to cut it back to remove the thick, destructive trunk. In the process, however, I accidentally cut back the clematis growing up that side as well!

 (dry brush filter)
Thankfully, the clematis I'd planted on the left side of the arbor escaped my cutting shears...

... and it's putting on a spectacular show right now. I'm hoping that next year the right side will grow back!
A little further into the backyard, the clematis that I had all but given up on (planted a few years ago) suddenly took off this year! Perhaps it was having a race with the new honeysuckle vine I just planted next to it, seeing who could reach the top of the swing set first.

I love the combination of the lavender clematis and the red-orange honeysuckle intertwining. These are the vines that are planted on the left side of the swing set, where the ladder to the monkey bars used to be...
(watercolor filter)
(dry brush filter)
I planted the same combination of lavender clematis and red-orange honeysuckle on the right side of the swing set as well.

Hopefully the rain will stay away for a while and let these beauties finish their natural bloom time!

Wishing you all a beautiful week.

I'm joining Claudia, Mockingbird Hill Cottage for A Favorite Thing Saturday,
Tracie, Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Garden Party
and Cindy, My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Fuchsia Sunset...

The last few hours before the sun sets are my absolute favorite.

This is the view when I'm sitting on the patio down in the backyard...

I usually sit on the settee in the center because it's easy to see both of my hummingbird feeders from there, and the hours before sunset are the most active for these little jeweled birds!

I can see the feeder that hangs from the mulberry tree...

(being visited by the female hummer here)...

.. and the one that hangs from the swingset deck sitting area next to the honeysuckle vine
(being visited by the male hummer here).

The patio becomes an almost magical place to sit and unwind as the sun starts to set...

The fuchsia plants that hang from the tent over the patio are brilliant as the sun streams through the blossoms.

I'm always amazed that the hummingbirds pay little attention to the fuchsias. They occasionally visit them, but definitely seem to prefer the feeders and the honeysuckle vine.

I tried planting cardinal climber from seed last year, but they hadn't even flowered by the time the hummingbirds left in September...

... so this year I bought well-established plants to climb the small twig obelisk we made last year. I certainly hope these flower long before the hummers leave in September!

My beautiful irises put on a spectacular show this year.

These photos were taken at the very end of May, when they were at their peak.

Their bloom time has now come to an end. I desperately need to plant more perennials that bloom later in the season. Other than some annuals and my honeysuckle vine that give summer-long color, it seems that most of the perennials I've planted are early bloomers. But all in good time...

After all, it was only 5 to 6 years ago that the backyard looked like this. We were left with a large crater after taking down our old above ground pool.

So rather than focus on how much still needs to be done, I think I'd rather reflect on how much we've accomplished over the past several years, transforming the "Roswell crater" into a little garden oasis that attracts a wide variety of birds and little critters (my beloved "Sammy" Squirrels and "Chip"munks!). The fact that they all make their homes in our garden and/or visit us on a regular basis makes me oh-so-happy!

Wishing you all a beautiful week...

I'm joining Claudia, Mockingbird Hill Cottage for A Favorite Thing Saturday,
Brenda, Cozy Little House for Tweak It Tuesday.
Tracie, Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Garden Party
and Cindy, My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday.