cutting garden

5.6.21 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park
Waterford, Connecticut

Finally a spring day found us both feeling well and free of appointments. Off to explore the gardens at Eolia, the elegant summer mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park. So many birds and greenery to delight the senses. I took more pictures than usual and will probably make three posts out of our visit. πŸ™‚ First, the cutting garden. Not too many flowers yet but plenty of birds and squirrels and even a bunny, who was too quick to be photographed.

gray catbird singing its heart out

His black cap gives him a jaunty look, for which
we humans have learned to tilt our caps, in envy.
When he is not singing, he is listening.
Neither have I ever seen him with his eyes closed.
Though he may be looking at nothing more than a cloud
it brings to his mind several dozen new remarks.
From one branch to another, or across the path,
he dazzles with flight.

~ Mary Oliver
(Catbird)

gray catbird
copper beech leaves
bluebells
northern mockingbird

I was very excited to spot this mockingbird. I had taken a picture of one back in 2011 but didn’t know what it was. Not too long ago I was going through old pictures and decided to post that old picture on the “What’s This Bird?” Facebook group and they identified it for me. I was pleasantly surprised to correctly identify this one when I saw it, but I did check with the group to make sure. (I’ve been known to get my shorebirds wrong…)

northern mockingbird
northern mockingbird
110-year-old Japanese threadleaf maple

I spent quite a bit of time lingering under this enchanting tree. The birds seemed very fond of it, too, singing away in the upper branches. Peeking out I could see Long Island Sound in the distance. A perfect place to curl up with a good book and, just as I was thinking that, a woman showed up with a book, looking for a place to read where she couldn’t hear the lawnmower. It wasn’t until she mentioned it that I noticed the noise droning away in the background. The lawns of the grounds of this old mansion property are vast and must require a lot of maintenance! Anyhow, I hope she was able to get some peaceful reading in, listening to all the birds.

Long Island Sound in the distance

As we left that wonderful tree Tim spotted three squirrels chasing each other in another tree. They were so cute!

playful squirrel
scratching acrobatics
dandelion dreams
beautiful mourning dove
mourning dove

Pretty doves, so blithely ranging
Up and down the street;
Glossy throats all bright hues changing,
Little scarlet feet!

~ Harriet McEwen Kimball
(The Doves)

mourning dove
tulip
Jonquil ? and ?

I will try to make my next posts about the west, box and rock gardens. We didn’t even get to the east garden and the orchard! Another time…

18 thoughts on “cutting garden”

    1. So happy you enjoyed the outing, Anna! πŸ™‚ The maple leaves seemed so delicate yet the trunk looked very strong.

    1. Thank you, Frank! This variety grows wider (8′-12′) than tall (6′-8′) which gives it an interesting shape. I have now learned that there are at least a thousand different varieties of Japanese maples!

  1. A 110-year-old Japanese threadleaf maple tree? I love it. I sometimes wonder how old some of our trees are, but no one was keeping an eye on them like your maple tree so who knows?

    1. Apparently under the right conditions they can live to be over one hundred years old. I wonder if the salty sea air has been good for it. It would be interesting to find pictures of it when it was a youngster. πŸ™‚ (Perhaps the gardeners of rich people kept records…)

  2. Oh lucky you, what a place! and still more birds – some I have heard of, but none of them in Norway. Great trip and great place, Barbara, looking forward to next chapterβ™₯

    1. Thank you, Leelah! Lately birds have been eluding my efforts to capture their pictures so I was thrilled to finally get a few more photos for my collection. πŸ™‚ I would love to go see the birds common in Norway… πŸ’™

  3. Lovely variety to capture, the Gray Catbird is fabulous and such fun to photograph! The first two images of the Japanese threadleaf maple tree are beautiful compositions of a magnificent marvel. First time I heard “The Doves” poem, how cute!

    1. Thank you, Donna! I adore catbirds, although I hear them more often than see them. Watching this one sing and getting a picture with his beak open was a real treat. Harriet McEwen Kimball’s poetry is new to me — I love her noticing the little scarlet feet. πŸ™‚

  4. These are gorgeous!! I especially love the catbird, mockingbird, doves, and the bluebells … what a stunning color! You know, Mary Oliver never fails to impress, does she?

    1. Thank you, Debbie! Mary Oliver is right up there with Emily Dickinson in my book. πŸ™‚ It was nice of so many birds to show up that day. πŸ˜‰ Blue is my favorite color so those bluebells dazzled me, too. πŸ’™

  5. This is an enviable walk Barbara – I would enjoy a stroll here. I can see how you could get enough photos for multiple posts … I did that very thing last Saturday and sorting through pictures yesterday afternoon, I said “you’ll make two posts and quit taking so many pictures!” You had some beautiful birds up close – that Mourning Dove is so striking as is the Northern Mockingbird. I saw my first Northern Mockingbird this past Winter. Arnie, the older walker who is more of a birder than me, said it was out of its territory and ‘passin’ thru” … I’ve never seen a Gray Catbird before. You’ll have to go back at “cuttings time” to this picturesque place. I also liked the 110-year-old Japanese Threadleaf Maple. Sounds like a perfect day.

    1. Thank you, Linda! It was a perfect day. A bit breezy and cool, I even wound up with my gloves on after a while. “Quit taking so many pictures!” is something I keep telling myself, too, but to no avail. But I look forward to whatever pictures made it through your culling process and onto your posts. πŸ™‚ I hope you get to see a catbird one of these days. According to my range map they do breed in your area. They live here year-round. Usually I hear them more often than I see them. They’re related to mockingbirds and have many songs but when they’re hiding in the bushes they have a raspy mew that really does sound like a cat.

      1. I like walks like that – they are more memorable that way and I’d rather have a brisk day than a hot and humid day. Tonight is supposed to be the last day of a freeze/frost advisory for a long while so I assume that means until Fall. It’s been chilly and below normal here for about 10 days. I went and listened to the Catbird … I didn’t know that’s why they have that name. I did hear a song sound byte that sounds like a cat. Interesting. I hope to see and/or hear one some day. The pictures … I have no control I think. I debated in grouping all these pictures into five posts if I couldn’t squeeze the goslings into the Elizabeth Park walk and decided to just make a “geese and goslings only” post. We are impossible aren’t we? πŸ™‚

        1. We’ve been having below normal temperatures, too, but it looks like things are starting to warm up a little. I’d love it if it could stay in the 70s longer! πŸ™‚ Yup, so many pictures, so impossible to sort and decide! πŸ˜‰

          1. Our weather started the big warm-up yesterday and today was gorgeous. I need to get out and trim bushes but I really like to wait another couple of weeks so I don’t get another growth spurt. The elm seeds were raining down hard and the maple seed helicopters as well. After a long sorting and deciding session, I tend to take less pictures … for a little while anyway. πŸ™‚

          2. As usual, our weather is following yours, warming up today and expected to be even warmer later this week. I guess I’ll be seeing the maple seed helicopters soon. πŸ™‚

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