Saturday, April 19, 2014

Black swallowtail larvae in my dill

Black swallowtail cats in my dill.

Why do the native black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on my exotic dill and parsley?

This butterfly species (Papilio polyxenes) always lays its eggs on members of the carrot family (Apiaceae) and there are any number of natives that they could use to feed their cats, such as water hemlock, cowbane, or blacksnakeroot. But maybe my dill just tastes better than those mostly poisonous relatives. Perhaps our native plants are smarter than dill and produce chemicals that moderate herbivore activity. After all, dill has been bred to taste good to the human palate.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias perennis)


And speaking of caterpillar food...


I recently bought these 2 swamp milkweed plants (Asclepias perennis) at a native plant sale at Morningside Nature Park over in Gainesville.

The monarch butterflies are in danger and need more milkweed planted in our yards so their caterpillars will have something to eat. Their populations have plummeted for various reasons including commercial agricultural operations planting Round-Up-Ready crops so they can spray Round-up to kill weeds, not only their fields, but also the weedy margins where milkweed used to grow. So now it's up to us.

I have planted some over the years, but most have not lived for more than a couple of years. I do have some butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), which has hung on for 4 years or so, but it is not thriving. I hope these will be happy in my rain garden and maybe some monarchs will find them.

Dinner of fried rogue onions, a boca burger, and a tabbouleh on a
bed of oakleaf lettuce.

More rogue onions

The other night I fixed a mess of fried onions to accompany our boca burgers. I fried 3 whole rogue onions and one store-bought onion in olive oil until caramelized--very sweet! My husband had made some tabbouleh the night before and had used a rogue onion in that as well. I served the tabbouleh on a bed of oakleaf lettuce fresh from the garden.

We have the beginnings of some zebra zucchinis on two separate plants, so we'll have fun with those. I'll keep you informed, so keep reading!

Ooh, zebra zucchinis! Notice the marigolds growing on my squash mound? They are left over from my cover crop last summer. We'll see what happens with the nematode damage with all those marigolds.

A nice family at the gardenfest.

The gardenfest!

I had a great time at the gardenfest last weekend in St. Augustine. I talked to lots of wonderful people.  Thanks to everyone who stopped to talk.

I sold bunches of native garlic for $1 and probably sold 50 bunches. People who bought one of my books received the garlic as an extra bonus.

Sunrise at Spring Park on my way over to St. Augustine on Saturday morning.

The blood moon and Spica, the star in the lower right corner.

The Blood Moon!

I did get up at 3am on April 15th to witness the total eclipse of the moon. I was worried about the clouds, but they were thin and raced across the sky, so there were moments of a mostly clear sky. The star in the lower right-hand corner of the photo is Spica and it became visible only when the moon went dark. Mars was also obvious farther off the the right, but I did not include it in the photo.

I know I could have waited for the next day to see more professional shots of the moon than I could get with my point 'n shoot camera at full telephoto and no tripod.  But then I would have missed out on the barred owls hooting back and forth, the shooting star, the frog chorus from the front pond, the crickets songs, and the other natural night sounds.

Roadside ditch after a rain.
We were in the path of a big front that was predicted to deliver up to 5 inches of rain along with very high winds and a chance of a tornado. But the high winds didn't come and we received only .67" of rain. But this was enough to coat the landscape rainbow producing drops of water this morning's sun.

Happy Spring, Easter, and Passover!

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What to do with rogue onions?

A few of my onions have been blooming too early.
For some reason a number of our short-day onions have bloomed early this year. Once they bloom, it's time to pull them (unless you're collecting seed) because the energy stored in the bulb will be used up for the flowering.

In a normal onion crop the bulb is produced one year and then goes dormant when we harvest and dry it for storage. If it's not harvested, it will bloom the next season. The early blooming onions are not dormant and don't store well, so we needed to use them quickly. There is quite a bit of volume. While the bulb is relatively small, there are all those delicious leaves to use, too.

Stir the onions, barley, garlic, garlic chives and celery in olive oil
until the onions start to caramelize.

When our garden hands us too many rogue onions, I make rogue onion soup!

Here is the recipe for this delicious soup. You can serve it hot or cold--we had it cold.

Ingredients:
6 blooming onions, thinly sliced
1 store-bought onion, chopped
3 meadow garlic plants, chopped
1 shoot of garlic chives, chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped 
1/3 cup dried barley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups of water
2/3 cup of dried potato
1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh dill and a flower of wild garlic for garnish.

Directions:
Stir the onions, barley, meadow garlic, garlic chives, and celery in olive oil until the onions start to caramelize. Stir in the parsley until it wilts then add the water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. At this point you could run it through the food processor for a smooth soup, but I did not go through that step. While it's still hot, stir in the potatoes, yogurt, and cheese. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with chopped dill and the tops of the wild garlic. Serves 6.

When your garden provides too many rogue onions, make rogue onion soup.

How does this beautiful patch of moss survive in this dry sandhill ecosystem?

Mother Nature's Mysteries


No matter how much we study ecosystems and think we know the answers for which plants will grow where and under which circumstances, there are many instances when there is no obvious answer.

For instance, there is a 965-acre conservation area adjacent to our neighborhood that’s owned by the St. Johns Water Management District and maintained by the county. Most of it is a dry, sandy upland dominated by longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) and oaks (Quercus spp.). It’s been managed with fire over the years to maintain the open pine ecosystem. So how does this lovely patch of moss, clubmoss, and lichen survive here? Read my latest post over on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog: Mother Nature's Mysteries.


In a rain garden at the edge of the front pond, rain lilies (Zephyranthes atamasca) and a lizard's tail (Saururus cernuus), which will bloom later in the season.
A rain lily sprouting from a damp spot in our freedom lawn.

Around the yard


I love our native rain lilies. They just seems so earnest. People ask me how can we stand having a lawn where anything that's green is mowed. If I showed them a photo of this cute volunteer rain lily in a damp spot in the yard, they'd understand. I'll dig it out and move it to one of my rain gardens where it won't be mowed.

I've been busy with spring clean up and have started some new projects. Stay tuned to find out what I've been working on. 
Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) after a rain.

At last year's gardenfest in St. Augustine.

Meet me in St. Augustine!

I'll be a vendor at the EPIC Spring Celebration Gardenfest on April 12th & 13th at St. Johns County Agricultural Center St. Augustine, FL 32092 (SW of the intersection of I-95 & Rt 16.). Hours are Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. So come and talk to me about your gardens.

I will be giving away meadow garlic (Allium canadense) plants to anyone who buys a book and selling them to others-- $1 each as long as they last. It's an excellent perennial native crop. See Harvest-directed cooking to see a photo of the garlic.

If I don't see you this weekend, I hope you are enjoying spring wherever you are.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fixing a slumping problem

We carefully propped the cement blocks to keep the barrier cloth right
next to the cement wall.

Slumping fix

We live on a lake and have an oddly-shaped section of bulkhead between our boat-lift bay and the neighbor's cement bulkhead. The soil here has been eroding from under the bulkhead and from its edge next to the cement. We've filled it a few times in the 10 years we've been here, but soil keeps disappearing.

So this time, we got serious. We removed the 2 maple saplings, a bunch of invasive wild taro, the canna lilies that I'd planted a couple years ago (which I saved for replanting) and an assortment of other weeds. We can't allow the maples to grow here because they'd destroy the bulkhead. We dug down deep to remove all the roots. Much of the soil from the bottom was pure, slimy clay. We could have made some pretty pottery with its natural colors of tan, yellow, and orange, but we put it to better use...

The cement chunks are in place. We smeared clay over the cement to seal the area.
We used the clay to seal the bottom of the bed, then we added several loads of soil, then the plants, and finally, a layer of wood chips.

We added several loads of soil. I replanted the cannas, added some ferns that had been growing in the bulkhead, and added some goldenrods.
We'll keep a closer eye on it to make sure it doesn't slump and that new maple trees are not allowed to grow here. Note the rounded edge of the lawn so my husband can mow by moving forward in here with the John Deere and then backing out--no weeds to trim.
Chinese cabbage salad with sunflower seeds as garnish.

It's our salad days

Chinese cabbage salad created with harvests from the garden including cabbage, parsley, meadow garlic, onion with its greens, come-again broccoli, carrots, sugarsnap peas, and rosemary. Also included are ramen noodles (soaked in hot water until they are soft and then drained), celery, green olives, and oils (olive & sesame), cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Sunflower seeds are sprinkled on top. Yummy.


Busting the old gardeners' tales...

Busting old gardeners' tales

I'm astounded that people come up with nonsense and sell it to people as some new and unexpected finding. These two were on Facebook and by reading the original explanations and the resulting comments, people seem so grateful for this crap.

For the plant cucumbers with sunflowers myth, I posted this:
"Plant sunflowers in your landscape to attract pollinators, as a crop, and for their beauty, but don't plant them near anything you care about. Sunflower are allelopathic! They emit herbicidal chemicals that inhibit or kill nearby plants. (If you have a bird feeder where you use sunflowers, you've probably noticed a lack of growth where the hulls fall.) Use spent sunflower stalks for path mulch where you don't want stuff to grow."
Busting the old gardeners' tales...
For the photo showing the difference between "male" and "female" peppers, I posted this:
"Don't fall for this baloney! There are no genders of bell pepper fruits. A fruit is never assigned a gender. Many peppers are F1 hybrids and may not have any seeds, because differences in the parents' genes, but that doesn't make them a male fruit."



My article in The Oakleaf is on page 17.

A tickseed coreopsis seedling in the lawn. I dug it out
and put in with some of its kin.

Treasures in our
"Freedom Lawn"

Our lawn has been free of poisons and fertilizer since 2004. As a result, we have many types of plants growing in the areas we mow. We mow what grows and our lawn is just as green as our neighbors' expensive poisoned and fertilized lawns except in the winter when we let it go dormant--it's still green but not as green as those who overseed with winter rye.

This year I've dug out several of the largest blue-eyed grass plants and I dug out some of the tickseed coreopsis plants and planted them in beds where I wanted some color. If I had left them in the lawn, they would not have a chance to put on a show. I fill in the divots with compost so the lawn stays relatively even.

I hope you are finding spring treasures to enjoy.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Harvest-directed cooking

I love this time of year because so much of what we eat comes from the garden. It's harvest-directed cooking.

A dinner salad from the garden includes a rogue blooming onion*, Swiss chard, 3 types of lettuce from the chef's mix blend, romaine, curly parsley, carrots, sugar-snap peas, come-again broccoli, garlic chives, meadow garlic, rosemary, dill, and cabbage leaves.

The meadow garlic is getting ready to bloom. So the growth has
increased dramatically in the last week or two.
*Blooming onion: I'm growing an assortment of short-day onions this year and normally they are biennials and form a bulb one year to store energy for flowering the next year, but once in a while a few will jump the gun and do it all in one season. Once an onion produces a flower bud, it's time to harvest it because the bulb will degrade to produce the flower. This was one of the sweet granex onions--see more at Short-day onions and more... I used less than half of it in the salad--the rest became part of the carrot soup the next night.

In addition to the rogue granex onion, the native garlic is also blooming now just as we've passed the vernal equinox. Plants are really tuned into the day length, plus we've had a lot of rain in the last two months, especially when it's supposed to be the dry season. In February we had 6" when the average is 3.1" and we've already had more than 3" of rain in March when 3.9 is the average for the whole month.

Ugly carrot soup


When I included this recipe in our Organic Methods book, I called it "ugly carrot soup" because sometimes the carrots come out funny. I didn't have any ugly carrots for this soup, but it came out tasting just as yummy. Every time I make it, it's different because it depends on what's available from the garden. In addition to my harvested vegetables (half of the blooming onion, rosemary, oregano, nantes carrots, curly parsley, meadow garlic, garlic chives, come-again broccoli, cabbage leaves), I added one store-bought onion, non-fat plain yogurt, freshly ground pepper, spaghetti, and olive oil.
The ingredients for the carrots soup plus 8 cups of water and a garnish of dill.
Brown the onions, garlic chives, and meadow garlic in olive oil until caramelized in the bottom of the soup pot. Add freshly ground pepper and stir in the rest of the veggies and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the spaghetti or any other pasta and cook for 10 more minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and put it all in the food processor until relatively smooth. Stir in half a cup of non-fat yogurt. Serve in bowls with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and chopped dill. Yummy!

Carrot soup is good hot or cold.

Tuna salad roll-up with lots of our fresh lettuce is one of our favorites. I also use parsley, dill, cabbage leaves, garlic chives, meadow garlic, and other greens in the tuna salad for more fresh flavor.
It's time to plant the summer crops now.  I'll cover my summer crops for this year in a future post.

It's not too late to get started with your edible gardens. It was recently shown that people who did their own cooking were healthier than those who eat out all the time. Just think how much that would be multiplied if you augmented your menu with crops fresh from your own yard. Get started today with your own copy of Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida.

Rain gardens revisited and removing invasives

A new spot for a magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) next to the rain garden in the wooded area between us and our next door neighbors. The magnolia will eventually provide a little more screening in the winter.
Extracting invasive coral ardisia  from the wooded
area along our property line.

I moved a magnolia that had planted itself too close to an irrigation sprayer. I talked about this in my Plan Ahead! post over on the Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog. I also cleared out the rain garden I'd built to move water from the downspout French drain. Leaves had covered it.

While I was in the area, I spotted a few invasive coral ardisia (Ardidia crenata) shrubs. How did they get there? The neighbors grow them in their yards and the birds eat their bright red berries and deposit the seeds with a dollop of fertilizer below their perching branches.

The tuberous swordferns (Nephrolepis cordifolia) are everywhere. At first I thought they were the same as a cute fern up in Maryland, but soon found that I was dealing with a monster. So at least a couple of times a year I attack the invasives and eventually I'll get a better handle on them.
One of many loads of coral ardisia and tuberous sword fern.

The down spout rain garden history

Before the rain garden the lawn became a puddle. I dug a dry well 18" in diameter and equally deep, filled
with gravel a covered with fake river rocks.
A rain garden revisited. The Asian azaleas are larger and the lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata) is beautiful this time of year.
See my rain garden articles for a history of how I built and then expanded the rain gardens. As part of the expansion, the lawn in area of the landscape is gone and the excess rainwater is piped under the mulched path to a dry well. It's important for us to keep as much rainwater on our properties as possible to reduce pollution in our waterways.

Around the neighborhood

Canadian toadflax in a "Freedom lawn."
A study in male sexual organs! This should increase the traffic to this post, but I should mention that these were shed by pine trees and if they didn't fill the air with enough pollen, the oaks are now doing the same thing so the pollen count will remain high. I don't suffer from pollen allergies, but the yellow coating on everything is getting old.
A flatwoods plum (Prunus umbellata) or a chickasaw plum (P. angustifolia) in my neighborhood. I will be able to identify it for sure when the leaves come out. Either way, it's a lovely spring bloomer and it was abuzz with bees.
This is why you should leave snags in your landscape if possible--the hawks and other birds of prey love the perch there.
The weather is wonderful. Be sure to get out there to enjoy Mother Nature this spring.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

Friday, March 7, 2014

A trout lily adventure

The beautiful trout lilies put on quite a show,
but only for a few weeks in the spring.
I first heard about Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve at the 2010 Florida Native Plant Society Conference in Tallahassee when Dan Miller made a lunchtime presentation. He told about how he a few others had saved a unique, 13-acre population of trout lilies from development. The population is in south Georgia just north of Tallahassee, FL. His photos and story took my breath away.

This year I knew when the the trout lilies had started to bloom because of photos posted on Facebook, so my husband and I made the three-hour trek west out to the preserve on Valentine’s Day. (Yes, no flowers were harmed for my Valentine’s Day treat.)

For more photos of this amazing ecosystem continue reading at Eco-activists: A few people can make a real difference!
There are millions of trout lilies in its southernmost population at Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve.
A sunrise hike at Falling Waters State Park

Falling Waters State Park

After Wolf Creek we drove back into Florida and another hour west to visit the state's highest state park. It's elevation is a whopping 324'!

Overnight, a windy, rainy front passed through. The next morning we got up early and hiked to the state's tallest water fall--70'. We don't have much topography in Florida, so this is a big deal and that the waterfall fell into a deep, perfectly circular sinkhole made it quite dramatic. It was a beautiful trail to the waterfall and the sink holes in the karst landscape where the limestone is eaten away by rainfall over the years.

See photos of the sinkholes, waterfall, and more at Falling Waters State Park, a profile over on the Florida Native Plant Society blog.

Instead of hiking back on the same trail we walked on the less-traveled path around the other side of the lake and found this fresh tree fall--a huge pine that filled the air with its sharp resin smell.


This harvest-of-the-day went into a mashed potato dish.

Harvest of the day

This harvest of come-again broccoli (that have sprouted from the plants after the main curd or head has been removed), curly parsley, garlic chives, and wild garlic ended up in one of our favorite comfort food dinners for a chilly, rainy day--Cheesy mashed potatoes.

In addition to the harvest, which was finely chopped with parsley separated, the ingredients are:
1 large onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped celery
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup instant potatoes
1 cup of water
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 pats of butter
freshly-ground black pepper

Saute the vegetables except for the parsley in olive oil in a covered frying pan (stirring frequently) until the onions caramelize. Turn the heat to low and add the parsley and stir until the parsley wilts. Meanwhile, mix the potatoes, water, yogurt, cheddar cheese, and 3 pats of butter in a bowl. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Fold the sauteed ingredients into the potato mixture, add the Parmesan and the pepper. Makes two generous serving. Serve in a shallow soup bowl and top with a pat a butter and grind some more pepper. Garnish with a fresh parsley sprig.

Beautiful Black Creek!
Smooth alder (Alnus serrulata) on the shore of Black Creek.

A close-to-home adventure


Earlier this week, before the weather turned cold and rainy, my husband and I rode our bikes over to the Black Creek Ravines Conservation Area and then hiked 5 or 6 miles along the trails of this 965-acre preserve. We went to a bluff over-looking Black Creek--a feeder into the St. Johns River.

We then went down to the shoreline. I was hoping to find the alders blooming with their yellow catkins, but the pollen was gone--the catkins were still there, but brown. The alder fruits look like little pine cones.

It was a lovely half-day adventure in a beautiful spot. We did not see anyone else out on this beautiful day.

It's all in the family!

Grandson Weber Stibolt, a student at the University of Delaware was on the team that planned and built the University's display at the Philadelphia Flower Show. He's in front of the fish ladder demonstration--fish ladders are located next to dams so fish can migrate past dams to their spawning areas in these rivers.

Weber posted this on Facebook, but you need to be a member to see his Photo album:
The final improvement we were really looking to make from last year's exhibit was to have a more concrete message and one that is easier to understand and digest. This award [Best Achievement in Social Change Messaging ] pretty much sums up everything I could have hoped for! You can read more about the exhibit at the following websites: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2014/mar/phila-flower-show-030414.html  & http://udreview.com/2014/03/03/professors-and-students-create-exhibit-for-philadelphia-flower-show/

I hope you and your family are out enjoying nature this spring.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

Saturday, February 22, 2014

From compost to dinners...

After removing the last of the compost from the location in the
foreground of this photo, I added a 6" layer of leaves and pine needles,
and then addedthe old lime basil twigs and sugar snap pea vines.

Spring compost!

It was time to clear out the last of the compost from last year's pile. I needed to use it to refresh some of the rows where I'd harvested the crops and it was time to nourish the soil around various shrubs.

When I get to it, I'll turn the old compost pile onto the freshly prepared space. Then the cycle will start all over again.

Isn't it amazing how one spring garden chore leads to several others?

Adding compost around the roots of the blueberry bushes. I pulled the mulch from around the blue berry shrubs, laid in the acidic balsam from the Christmas wreath, placed an inch thick layer of compost in a circle around each of the shrubs, and then returned the pine needle mulch. This is a good time to do this to boost the spring growth.

The last of the first crop of carrots. Most of this crop was harvested in December. These were the runts and maybe they could have grown more, but they've been in the ground since September so it was time to give it up. Like gamblers, gardeners need to know when "fold." These carrots ended up in a tabbouleh--see below. I added compost to the spent carrot row. The other crops are parsley, cabbage, romaine, and the last of the sugar snap pea vines, which ended up in the new compost pile. Some new peas were growing there already, so I planted more along the tomato cages.
Adding compost to an old lettuce row. There's one stub of lettuce left, but the rest were eaten. So it's time to lay down some compost for a new crop.Since this was a leaf crop, I'll probably plant a fruit crop next, such as pepper. Other crops are garlic, Swiss card, and dill.
I saved the seed from the lime basil and the marigolds
that were growing in the space where I wanted to
build a squash mound.

Building a squash mound

I had a 4x4 bed that grew only marigolds last year--no crops. Along the far edge was a row of lime basil, which we really enjoyed. (Link to Nematodes, marigolds, and crop rotation to see it in the summer and find out why I planted so many marigolds.) The bed had been just sitting there through the winter, but now it was time to clear out the dead stuff and build a squash mound. I wanted to do this quickly because a rainy front was coming through.

First I collected the seed from the marigolds and the lime basil, and then separated out the marigold skeletons from the basil stems. Then I raked the soil back from the front half of the bed to about 4" deep, laid in the dead marigold stems, added a 4" layer of compost, and then raked the original soil back. I did the same thing to the back side. After that I build a squarish swale and mulched the sides with pine needles. I'll bury my next batch of kitchen scraps in the center. It's still a little early to plant squash, so I'll let it sit for a couple of weeks to let it settle.

This bed had mostly marigolds growing in it last year with some lime basil growing to the side. To prepare the bed, I raked the soil to the back half of the bed, covered the soil with marigold skeletons, added 4" of compost, and then raked the original soil back..

The second phase was to rake the top 4" of soil from the back toward the front, add the marigold stems, and compost the same as the other half..
Squash mount is now ready for some kitchen scraps in the center, and then I'll let it sit for a week or two before planting squash seeds. As I was finishing up this task, the rains came--2" in just a couple of hours.

Vegetarian hash.

How dinners have been changed by our harvest-of-the-day

We enjoyed a lovely vegetarian hash dinner the other night. It includes: wild garlic, garlic chives, oregano & rosemary from the garden. Plus store-bought zucchini, red potatoes, onion, green pepper, and celery all browned in olive oil in a covered frying pan until the onions were caramelized and the potatoes were soft. I then divided the hash into two servings on either side of the frying pan and topped each serving with an egg and covered again until the eggs were cooked. Topped with freshly ground pepper and salsa, Yummy!

The next night, my husband created a batch of tabbouleh, which will last us 3 days or more. The recipe varies and one of the factors is the harvest-of-the-day.

Harvest for tabbouleh: garlic chives, wild garlic, carrots, and a good-size bunch of curly parsley.
Juice drained from a can of diced tomatoes and
heated in the microwave is poured over the bulgur
wheat to soak while the rest of the prep is done.
The de-stemmed parsley is chopped in the food processor. After this the cucumber, celery, olives were also chopped in the processor, but the carrots, garlic and garlic mustard were hand-sliced.
Adding the soaked bulgur to the rest of the salad. Ready to serve. Yummy. We'll probably add shrimp tonight or the next for variety.

Our recycling neighborhood, Mother Nature, and more...

A found bench! Our neighborhood has a tradition of putting stuff out on the curb the day before trash day and people roam the streets for stuff they can use. Recycling at its best! Mistletoe really stands out in the spring!
For more on how the neighborhood  recycling works, see my post Two geezers and a shed. The shed in question is in the background of the above photo.

Carpenter bees have been chewing into the blueberry flowers to rob the nectar. I hope that there is at least some cross-pollination happening so we get a good crop this year. For details on why this is important, see my article Florida blueberries.
A fluffed out red shouldered hawk the other morning. It's saying, "Hey, you lookin' at me?"
Sometimes natives don't look so great in their pots, which is one reason big box stores would have a hard time selling more of them. There's been a good discussion about this over on my Sustainable Gardening Facebook page.  This is a beautyberry bush (Callicarpa americana) that sprouted too close to its parent. I put it in a pot for the winter, and now is a terrific time to plant this tough and attractive plant. Let's see... Where will I put it?
I hope you are having fun with your spring gardening chores.
 

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt