August 23rd, 2011

Toad Lily - Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai'

Toad Lilies or Tricertis have been one of my favorite late summer / fall flowering perennials.  The one above is a purple flowering variety with a yellow edge on the green leaves.  I have one Samurai that produced a true blue flower last year, hopefully it will be the same this year, maybe I'll see next week.  Toad Lilies produce small delicate orchid-like flowers in a variety of cool colours with a few yellow ones, many have dark spots or markings on them.  Most varieties have a solid green leaf but I find that I am most interested in ones with varigated leaves giving a bit more interest to the shade garden.  I have a number of varieties that started to bloom last week and should keep on blooming until near the end of October maybe into November depending upon the seasons weather progression. 

Zones 6 - 8, some varieties might survive in a protected zone 5 area. / Dry to moist soil / part sun to shade. / Medium growth rate. / Blooms in late Summer to Fall.

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August 10th, 2011

Lyme Disease

For those who are unaware, Lyme Disease can be contracted in their own back yard.  According to Timber Press  and Ruth Rogers Clausen "Gardeners and ticks share an affinity for trees, shrubs, lawns, and mulch. And those that live in an area with deer ticks (the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest) are at risk for contracting Lyme disease. Around 70% of people with Lyme disease are infected in their own yards, making home prevention a priority."

If you think that you might have contacted it please see your Doctor immediately.  It is NO laughing matter.

For more information about Lyme Disease here are two links.

Lyme Disease - Wickipedia

Lyme Disease - PubMed Health

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August 9th, 2011

Pregnant Emma

This is Emma, Ruling Queen Chipmunk of Ferret Hollow Gardens.  She always chases away the other Chippy's when she's out and about sometimes in a rather violent looking fight.  She has a small dark upside down triangle of fur over her nose that is very different from the other Chippy's in the area.

This is Emma again, who resides behind the waterfall of the Koi pond.  I regularly, but one at a time, hand feed Emma, Stella and the other visting chipmunks.  Stella has a shortened tail and lives near the far side of the Koi pond.  They both run around me or pause at my feet when I am in the gardens.  Today I hand fed her as I usually do except that I hadn't seen her for about a week or so.  I think that I have found out why - she is pregnant.  Well let me say that she is exceptionally plump around her midsection.  I have read that chipmunks have one or two litters a year, in early spring and late summer if the weather (zone) is warm enough.   I didn't see her pregnant or have little ones in the spring so I guess that she was playing hard to get.  Hopefully I'll see the little ones soon and will post any photos that I am fortunate enough to take.  Hopefully she'll trust me with the little ones once they are old enough to feed on solid food.  We'll wait and see.

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Wheel Bug - Arulus cristatus

This monster is a Wheel Bug or Arulus cristatus, It's body is about 1.5" long.

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