Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More bloodroots

Bat killers sentenced

Tonight I went out to discover that another bat has rejoined the first. It is so comforting to shine the light up into the bathouse and see them resting safely, side by side. I guess you can call me sentimental, but I have very tender and protective feelings about the bats that have found refuge in our bathouse.

I was pleased to learn that at least one of the two men who slaughtered 105 Indiana bats (this species has been on the Endangered Species List since its inception) in a Kentucky cave in 2007 received a jail sentence of eight months. In case you decide to read about the case, I should warn that the details are graphic. It's heartbreaking but also heartening that at least the perpetrators were prosecuted successfully.

Oakleaf hydrangea, 'Little Honey'

New leaves unfurling.

Species tulip

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blooming today: toad trillium

Trillium cuneatum

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You didn't really want to read the sign anyway, did ya?

Tulip magnolias trump historical markers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy 77, Mom!

Gave Mom a pot of sweet alyssum for her birthday. Also a set of ergonomic garden tools. She turns 77 today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Smooth earth snake or rough earth snake?

I see one or the other in the garden frequently. This one was under a clay pot I moved yesterday. I've never been able to tell a rough earth snake (Virginia striatulata) from a smooth earth snake (Virginia valeriae). The field guide descriptions are so similar. This one certainly felt smooth. However, according to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, the rough earth snake often has "a pale band across the top of the head." It certainly seems like this one does (click image to zoom). I could ask one of my herp friends but I like to try to figure things out on my own first.

The field guide also says, "The smooth earth snake differs from the closely related rough earth snake by having usually smooth dorsal scales in 15 rows throughout the length of the body as opposed to keeled scales in 17 rows." Do tell! I'll have to count them next time. ;-)

Update: After looking at the definition of "keeled scales" I feel comfortable pronouncing this specimen a rough earth snake.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17 garden

Apparently this newspaper blew out of the recycling bin and into the garden. Is someone trying to tell me something?

Red buckeye, Aesculus pavia, second year flowering.

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Somebody please, tie my hands and steal my wallet

I can no longer be trusted anywhere near a seed rack or seed catalog. I don't know when to say when.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun with letters

Farmers Market, March 13th

Limeade from my favorite stand. Mmmm.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

You might be a gardening geek, if ...

The Seed Edition.
My favorite is:
"You open any “junk” drawer in your house and find one or two or bunches of seed packets. Bonus points if you can look around where you are right now reading this post and see at least one seed packet."
May Dreams Gardens has got my number!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Houston, we have guano!

For a week now, I've been checking the white towel I put on the ground beneath the bathouse. Today I saw guano! I just went outside (7:15 p.m.) and shone the flashlight up into the house to confirm occupation. "My" bat is back! Added to historical data:

First occupation of the season
2010: March 12
2009: March 7
2008: April 12
2007: June 15 (house erected April 12)

I like to note which chambers the bat(s) occupy through the season. As is typical, the bat is now in the chamber closest to the house wall (south-facing brick wall, lots of radiant heat). There are four chambers total. When the weather starts to warm, I've observed the bat(s) shifting to the second or third chamber. My house is large enough to accommodate a nursery colony but it hasn't happened yet. :-( I think what I have every year is a bachelor bat. One year there were two bats for a brief time, but other than that I have Mr. Solo. I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baby fruit bats

I am suffering from serious awwwww overload.

Explanation here and here.

It's a tomato! It's a carnival ride! It's both!

This groovy image is one of many that gardener and tomato guru Craig LeHoullier has scanned from vintage seed catalogs. Some lovely color covers in there too.

If you love tomatoes—I mean all kinds of tomatoes—you might dig Craig's Web site and blog. He is the co-host of Tomatopalooza, an heirloom tomato-tasting held in Raleigh, N.C., each July. I went in 2005 and can't believe I haven't made it back since. The date's not set yet for this year—watch Craig's blog for updates!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Welcome, spring 2010