Saturday, August 21, 2010

Berries, Bees, and Buds

It rained last night and when I wandered the garden this morning I realized the nandina are covered with berries. (Remember to click on the photos to enlarge.)
There was this beautiful cauliflower mushroom growing on the stump by the school house. Last year we had one that became enormous. From what I have read, it may be edible. Don't worry. I won't be serving it for breakfast. The Mexican petunias responded to the rain by blooming profusely.
The hollies by the pond are loaded with berries, too.
We have 2 fig trees in our garden. The Celeste fig is the one that had the figeater beetles all over the fruit. There are only a few immature figs left on the tree. The other tree is a brown turkey fig, which I photographed today.
If you look closely you can see that it is full of figs and, so far, there are no beetles.
The vitex tree is like a bee magnet. We have watched the bees fall asleep on the branches, but, never have I seen them fighting over one particular bloom. One of the bees was ready to challenge me - see the bee in the center of the photo hovering!

Now, see it on the left. There were 4 bees fighting over these flowers.
In this photo, they are jockeying for position.
And then, all was quiet. It was really interesting to watch.

Thumbelina (one of the neighbor's cats) brought us a lubber grasshopper as a present. I regifted the lubber to the spider in the sago palm. You can see that she has wrapped the "present" - she is in the center and the lubber is below her.
I looked more closely and saw something familiar in the web (remember to click to enlarge).
In an earlier blog post I had mentioned the egg cases on one of the sago palms. Well, now I know who they belong to.
I went over to the pond to check on the tadpoles and was greeted by this dragonfly doing a headstand.
Then, I saw there were 2 others behaving in a similar fashion. Must have been gymnastics time.
We have had many guests ask what the identity of the plant below is. It is "purple queen", with purple foliage and light pink flowers.
The oleander is blooming through the canna lilies and is offset by the white crepe myrtle.
Through all the heat we have had, the Mickey Mouse plants continue to thrive and add a splash of color to the garden.
A lot of the flower beds could use some dead-heading, but, when it is so hot outside, I just can't go out there. This bed of black-eyed Susans is in full bloom.
To finish, a beautiful water lily from the pond.
I hope you enjoyed the garden tour for today. We would love to share it with you in person. Wishing you a beautiful day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Toads, Frogs, Flowers and Such

When we first moved to Americus, almost 8 years ago, the pond was always full of algae. We were told that "when the toad-frogs come" they would eat the algae and we should be happy that we had a "fertile" pond. Well, if you look carefully, we have quite a few koi/goldfish babies swimming around.Can you see the tadpoles? I guess we do have a "fertile" pond. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
One of our cats brought us a present, this lovely toad. Did you know that toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads? If you click on the photo, you can see that the toad has cat fur in its mouth. If you have been following my blog, you know that our garden is full of things that make a toad or frog go "YUM".This beautiful yellow butterfly posed for the following two photos on the butterfly bush.

As I wandered the garden path, I found another toad in amongst the black-eyed susans.
I just had to take more than one photo...
The first time I threw a lubber grasshopper into one of the spider webs, the spider shook the web until the lubber fell out. It must have been too big. This one, however, must have been just the right size.
Magnolias have beautiful flowers with an incredible aroma. Our D D Blanchard magnolias have these beautiful leaves, shiny green on top and the lovely rust color underneath.
Everyone has been commenting on the red rocket crepe myrtles. You usually see the pink and white varieties. The red is really outstanding.
The vitex trees have just begun to bloom again.
When I saw this spider on the side of the little house, I just had to get the camera. It is actually very small. Its abdomen is shiny gold and its head is shiny copper. I've never seen anything quite like it. It's mandibles were rather large for its size...
We have 2 different varieties of fig trees and both are loaded with fruit. I noticed that on one of the trees there were quite a few of these beetles mating.
Looking more carefully, I found these other beetles (they look like "June bugs")

devouring the few figs that appeared to be almost ripe.
I looked online to identify these critters and it appears that they just might be "figeater beetles". That was almost too easy.
I checked the fig tree today and there are no beetles to be seen. I guess we'll see them again when the rest of the figs ripen.

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast. Hope you are staying cool and comfortable through this crazy hot summer weather.