Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Native Bed Improvements

Many years ago I started adding native plants to my landscape.  At first it was because I didn't want to fuss with plants and natives need no fussing.  Gradually I came to appreciate the butterflies they attracted.  
Last fall, I went to a lecture by an entomologist named Douglas Tallamy who convinced me I needed to have as many native plants as possible for the sake of the native birds.
So, this fall I hired Susan Noblet - a native landscape designer.
She convinced me I needed to plant larger specimens and install deer fence.
I gathered the plants:
Smooth Aster
New England Aster
Little Bluestem
Butterfly Milkweed
Tall Coreopsis
Rattlesnake Master
My longtime landscaping company helped me clean the non-natives out of the beds and install the new plants.
Above is the cleaned East bed with the plants set out.
Below is the cleaned West bed with the plants set out.

Above is a view of the deer fence installed around the existing Spicebush (below the Pines) - they are currently about 3 feet tall,  even though they are at least 5 years old due to deer browsing.
We planted a Black Chokeberry inside the fenced area.
The East Bed with the deer fence installed is to the left of the wooden steps.

Here is the fenced in West Bed.
We've had some lovely rain to help the newly planted roots grow over the winter.
I can't wait until spring!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Winding Down

Friday we went to a corridor site - a non contiguous parcel of land the Metroparks purchased for it's ecological significance.  
This place is known as the "4-wheeler site".
We found what we were looking for - Drummond's Dwarf Bulrush - but it was past it's prime and not worth a photo.

Most plants have started to go dormant and lost their color 
- with a few exceptions.

The muted colors and texture of fluffy seed heads are beautiful in their own way.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fall Monitoring

We went to Wiregrass Lake to look for Variegated Scouring Rush.  
It is endangered in the state, but is thriving along a large stretch of the shoreline there.
The large rush in this photo is common Horsetail Rush.  
If you look closely, you can see a much smaller rush surrounding it.
If you look very closely, you can see two Ladies Tresses orchids - one on the left and one on the right margin of the photo.

Close up of Variegated Scouring Rush

Then we went across the street to what is known as the Jordan Tract - or what we monitors have renamed Gentian Meadow (for obvious reasons).
The population naturally fluctuates. 
Even though it was an off year, there were over 200 plants in bloom.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Just Fun to Say

We went looking for a new population of Fern-leaved False Foxglove last Friday.

We didn't find any, but we did find a healthy population of 
Downy Rattlesnake Plantain.

And we passed a bunch of Field Thistle.
It was popular with bees and this Great Spangled Fritillary.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Flowers and Bees

It has been a pleasant summer - not too hot, not too wet and not too dry - and so a wonderful year for the garden.
The Virginia Mountain Mint is now in four different places in the yard.

There is more Cardinal Flower than ever.
The hummingbirds flock to it.

The Butterfly Milkweed continues to spread.

Flowering Spurge - one of my favorites - is doing well in two spots in the yard.  This is the first year it has flowered, so I hope it spreads.

The bees are especially attracted to Bee Balm and Joe-Pye Weed... 

...and Swamp Milkweed

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

It has been a cool, wet spring and the garden is very happy - especially the wetland plants around the patio: 
Great Blue Lobelia, Swamp Milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower and Royal Catchfly have filled in every last free inch.
Three of my favorite non-natives are already blooming patriotic colors in time for Memorial Day:
Clematis, Siberian Iris and Coral Bells.

The Indigo and the Peony are blooming profusely as well.

The hummingbirds were a little late arriving, but I was tickled seeing them take some cotton.  It's the first time I've put a nesting ball out.  It has also attracted Chickadees and Goldfinch.

A Morning Dove couple has set up housekeeping in the Wisteria on the screened in porch.  They frequent the baths and forage under the thistle feeder.  
A Cardinal couple has recently started building a nest in the Wisteria as well.  So far they seem to be good interspecies neighbors.  
Fingers crossed that the Chipmunks don't find the nests, like they did the Robin's nest last year.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mountain Phlox

We were supposed to monitor the Lyre-leaved Rock Cress again last Friday, but the Mountain Phlox had started to bloom and we couldn't resist.
This Bluebird was not going to move from his box.

Mountain Phlox
(It has five petals in contrast to the common Dame's Rocket, which has four)

It is a good year for Gay-wings.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blue Week

Last Friday was the first chance I had to monitor. 
We went to Girdham Dunes.

The Lupine had already started their show - just in time for "Blue Week".

Even the Blue Birds were out.

We were counting Lyre-leaved Rock Cress.  
It's not too impressive, but a good excuse to get out to the dunes.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Definitely Spring

The last week has been rainy and warm and the plants are loving it.


Sky Blue Aster

New Wren house in the Lilac



I am trying to sit still and enjoy the view more often.  
I have been rewarded by Golden crowned Kinglets, an Eastern Phoebe and even a galloping Coyote.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Reluctant Spring

It seems like Spring takes one step forward and two steps back.
The river has been open since January.
Many migrants have returned - even my hardy and reliable Song Sparrow (although I have not heard him sing).
The Snowdrops and Snow Iris flowers have come and gone.
The Maples and Pussy willows have been blooming for weeks.
The fishermen have been looking for Walleye for weeks, as well.

This week winter returned.
I relented and brought back the feeders.
I hope spring reasserts herself before the new bag of sunflower seeds runs out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy St. Valentine's Day

This is a Valentine's Day card my Mom gave to an elementary school mate sometime in the early 1940's.

They now live in the same assisted living community.
She found it while going through her belongings; paring down the accumulations of the past.
Mom tried to give it back, but she wouldn't take it.
For now, I am sharing it with you.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


A few weeks ago our dead Ash tree fell.
We were out of town, but our neighbor said there was no storm.
It sure has changed the view.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I've suspected for quite some time that a lone stag was draining my bird feeders.
A few days ago I caught him red-hoofed.
He brought 5 buddies with him. 

They didn't stay long.