Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Bloomin’ Catch-Up

  So much to do in the spring before it gets hot, and living seems to have taken precedence over blogging lately.  Here’s a little catch-up.
  We have had company, the garden is flourishing with tomato plants, herbs and kale, and I have begun a course of physical therapy which, with travel to and from, takes most of three mornings a week.  Before that started we hurried to get in a couple more adventures.   

 Here is a glimpse of our backyard. It’s been a fabulous spring for flowers and three sides of our yard are completely lined with azaleas.  
We have several colors, ranging from this intense purple to red to the most delicate pink.  

  But we haven’t only been enjoying the flowers at home.  There are so many to see everywhere!

  Much more dramatic than ours are the wild azaleas from a woodland hike on the Santee National Wildlife Refuge.  Unlike the Asian cultivars, the native shrubs’ flower cluster is huge, bigger than my two hands together. They grow in the understudy of the tall trees on scrawny bushes and are so delicate and dramatic when you happen upon one.  

On any drive in the countryside right now, as soon as you get a few miles from the coast you see these seas of red,

  ... acres and acres of unplowed cotton fields covered with blankets of red sorrel.  It’s a pretty sight but sorrel is a noxious weed that invades soil depleted of nitrogen by the heavy cotton crops.

  Another dramatic native spring flower was blooming right behind our campsite one day, the red buckeye.  Its nickname is the Firecracker Plant.

    On another walk, I spotted this well-pecked woodpecker tree.  As you can see, the holes go right down to the ground at the base, which confused me as to what woodpecker had been so busy here.  

By the shape of the holes, I thought it should be this guy, a pileated woodpecker.

But pileated woodpeckers are 18 or 19 inches tall!  How could he 
make those holes all the way down to the base of the tree?  

  Well, I checked with my favorite birding blogger, David Gascoigne, Travels With Birds
and he assured me it was indeed the work of a pileated woodpecker. 

 (If you want to enjoy some gorgeous photos of birds, click above on the link for his blog.  It’s awesome!)

  I’m still wondering how a pileated could peck those lowest holes, though.  

So much beauty out there in the world when everything is new in the spring.  I hope you have a chance to get out there and smell the flowers and feast your eyes on some nature today.  


  1. Physical Torture three times a week...sounds like no fun at all. I go once a week...I fired the gal that kept wanting my one leg to be longer and my pelvis straightened I just go for ultrasound and a massage. Good luck with your treatments! Those Azaleas are absolutely stunning!!
    A big storm is headed this way supposed to get up to 18 inches of snow...we will see:)

  2. I can not tell yo how much I love seeing everyone's Spring flower pictures! Ahhhhhhh nature! Annster's Domain

  3. It's the chickadees and nuthatches that impress me when they excavate for nests.

  4. Wow that's a big bird. I'm kind of glad we don't have them here, seeing the damage they can do. Enjoying a lovely Autumn here in NZ, and finally got a breather to catch up on reading everyone's blogs. Your Spring flowers are lovely.

  5. Always wonderful to get out and about, there would be plenty of people who can't.
    Nice collection of photos.

  6. Very pretty post with all the blossoming nature in the spring time. Woody is a fanatic woodpacker when I see what he has made (damaged!)

  7. Lovely flowers - both wild and tame! It's turned cool here and has put a bit of a brake on our runaway spring.

  8. Such a beautiful post. I've been sick and away from the computer for a week. Glad I saw this one. Your big azaleas are absolutely beautiful and way ahead of ours. Aren't the wild ones pretty too! I love that last picture of you!

  9. Oh no! the woodpeckers made so big holes!!

  10. Beautiful Spring shots. Love the carpet of red , shame that it is a weed.

  11. That woodpecker is so hardworking one. :)

  12. I don't think I've ever seen wild azaleas before. That must be a real treat to come across those on a hike. You have an incredibly beautiful back yard!

  13. We'll catch up to your blooming soon, I hope. I still have snow in my front yard. SOrry to read about physical therapy, but I certainly hope it helps.

  14. Happy days when life is busy and full and the garden is looking blooming lovely! That is one smartly dressed woodpecker!
    Wren x

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  16. Your garden is quite stunning, Cynthia - and thanks very much for the plug and link to my blog.