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Life in the Gardens- Late May and Early June

Suburban wildlife is all around us. We are surrounded by mature trees and our small gardens which provide cover and shelter for small animals. Last night, June 6th, Ian took this excellent photo of a racoon family living in the Silver Maple tree next door.

Maddie, our small terrier mix, waits for them around 8:00 o'clock each night as we hang out on the patio. Fortunately, they are on the other side of the fence. They come to the squirrel feeder once we are inside.

Even a bunny posed for Ian that same day. He is in the echinacea and daylily bed in the front yard. We have plenty of cover and clover for the bunnies. In the daytime he hangs out in the Wood's dwarf nandina hedge which is inches away from this garden bed.

Julie and Buck in Ft. Wayne had visitors try to make a home in their Ft. Wayne, IN home. They were kindly escorted off the property by this bee keeper. Thank you Julie and Buck for taking care of the honeybees! The process was expensive and took place over two days, but what a great outcome. No pollinators died as no poisons were used and the bees keep producing honey for those of us with a sweet tooth.

I was surprised to see goldfinches visiting our verbena bonariensis next door so early in the season. They eat the flower seeds. It has been an unusually long Spring ,so I guess they are seeding already.

Its been relatively quiet on the pollinator front here in Durham. I've seen a few Eastern bumblebees though. We have added penstemons to the garden over the last few years. The bees have fed on all three varieities: Quartz Rose, Dark Towers and the native Foxglove Beardtongue.

Foxglove Beardtongue and Eastern bumblebee

These are unwanted visitors. Look closely and you will see tiny insects on the Asiatic lily. I even found some on my yellow pincushion flowers. I don't know why we have so many. We haven't had a problem in the past. I have noticed that there are no ladybugs around. Maybe, that is why these tiny bugs have proliferated. I finally broke down and sprayed these with soap and water. I hope that keeps the flies/bugs at bay. We had to cut back our Louisiana lilies in the pond this year. They were infected with rust. I hope they return next year. Another factor, we had the second wettest Spring on record.

Another natural change has happened in the garden. This year we have very few Love in a Mist plants; however, the larkspur are looking good. This garden is on the dry side so that might explain why the larkspur are short. I took seeds from my Mother's larkspurs last year. Her's are much taller and in a wetter area.

White achillea, Milkshake echinacea, larkspur and creamy yellow pincusion flowers in the the meadow style garden.

View of the meadow style garden.

Ian extended the top of the bed which improved our view of the garden from the house. Now we have flowers to view instead of looking at the back of the garden.

I fell in love with Spring Celebrities Lemon hollyhock this year. It was another spontaneity purchase. This time from our local garden center, Stone Bros and Byrd. Primrose yellow is the essence of Spring. I see this plant everytime I open the front door. It also helps highlight the pink Barbara MItchell daylily.

Julie has sent me photos of her May Spring garden in Ft. Wayne. I think Durham is about three weeks ahead of Ft. Wayne in terms of Springlike weather.

A very healthy pulmonaria, bluebells and Solomon Seal. I have tried pulmonaria in our dry shade garden with no success.

I guess they need more moisture. This was in mid May. The Solomon's Seal plants do well in Durham, too.

One of my favorite epimediums, Domino. Mine survived for about two years. Julie, I hope yours have a long and healthy life in Ft. Wayne!

May the rest of June bring you an abundance of beauty no matter what stage of Spring your garden is in.

The classic Fairy Tale Pink daylily.

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