sun-drenched wings and petals

5.21.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
sun-drenched female northern cardinal

It was a borderline-humidity morning, between comfy and muggy, and Tim was still coughing from the cold he caught in Italy, but we decided to chance a walk anyway. This is the time of year when the sun feels too bright and my camera sometimes responded by turning the blurry bokeh effect into solid black.

pipevine swallowtail butterfly

We forgot the bug repellent and I came home with two mosquito bites, one on each forearm. But the pretty (and non-biting) insects were out enjoying the sunshine, too! I’m not 100% sure of all my identifications here, but I’m giving them my best guess. Some of the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies seemed new to me.

fire pink
common whitetail dragonfly
oakleaf hydrangea
dusky dancer damselfly on hemlock needles

Summer, for the cold-blooded, represents the Elysian days. Warmth brings life and animation. Their blood responds, literally, to every rise and fall of the mercury. Chill is synonymous with sluggishness, cold with immobility. The sun directly regulates the intensity with which they live.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Grasshopper Road)

white waterlily
ebony jewelwing (aka black-winged damselfly)
grass pink orchid
mating silver-spotted skipper butterflies
tulip prickly pear
variable dancer damselfly
stokes’ aster
chamomile
downy wood mint
Coastal Plain Habitat boardwalk in May

Even though it isn’t technically summer here yet, either meteorologically or astronomically, it can now be called summer for all intents and purposes!

seven weeks later…

..we take another walk
8.2.23 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden

When I woke up yesterday morning the dew point was only 61°F and the temperature was only 65°F (18°C)! Surprise! I couldn’t believe my eyes!! Perfect walking weather. Where on earth did it come from? Canada, the TV meteorologist informed, and it wasn’t going to stick around. So off we went, determined to make the most of a seemingly rare opportunity.

In the rush to get out the door I was so focused on not forgetting my hat that I forgot my camera! (How was that even possible???) So I made do with my cell phone’s camera, which I found very awkward to manipulate, especially since I couldn’t hang it around my neck with a strap and have my hands free whenever I wanted them. But it didn’t matter — I was OUTSIDE and enjoying every precious minute.

The flowers that sleep by night, opened their gentle eyes and turned them to the day. The light, creation’s mind, was everywhere, and all things owned its power.
~ Charles Dickens
(The Old Curiosity Shop)

I couldn’t find identification tags for many of the flowers and plants we saw, but some of the ones I matched up had very curious names.

American bladdernut
yellow pitcher plant (carnivorous)

I found this specimen of eastern hemlock, my childhood spirit tree, in the Mountain Habitat section of the gardens. Looking at a range map I see they do grow in the mountains of North Carolina, but not naturally here in the Piedmont region. It seemed scraggly but trying its best to grow in this locale. Notice the tiny new green cones growing above the brown ones.

♡ eastern hemlock ♡
plumleaf azalea
eastern tiger swallowtail
stokes’ aster
this large patch of oregano smelled yummy

It was such a refreshing morning saunter. And the low humidity stuck around for our afternoon visit to the farmers market, adding another pleasant outing to our day. Last week, when we went to the market for the first time on Wednesday, it was in the 90s and very humid. Two days later, when we picked Katie up on Friday, her last day of camp, it was 95°F (35°C) with a heat index of 105°F (41°C)!

one morning in two lovely spring gardens

Edgerton & Stengel Memorial Wildflower Garden
5.7.23 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum

One last walk with Janet in Connecticut… (There may be walks together in North Carolina in our future…) It was a lovely, sunny, spring day. So many blossoms!!!

golden ragwort
wild azalea
large-flowered bellwort (aka merrybells)
roseshell azalea
wild columbine (aka red columbine)
mayapple
bluets
eastern redbud
dwarf crested iris
Virginia bluebells
path into a rock garden
purple trillium
nodding trillium
yellow birch (aka swamp birch)
great white trillium
fern forest
Solomon’s seal
toadshade (aka toad trillium)
gray catbird singing for us
Caroline Black Garden
5.7.23 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum

After enjoying the wildflower garden we crossed the college campus and visited another garden, this one of ornamental trees and shrubs from around the world.

huge copper beech in the background
Janet noticed this bat lying motionless on a rock
blossoms reflected in water pool
unfurling
Janet looking into a garden “room”

You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Under the bare trees the wildflowers bloom so thick you can’t walk without stepping on them. The pastures turn green and the leaves come.
~ Wendell Berry
(Hannah Coulter: A Novel)

magnificent copper beech
stunning copper beech leaves
copper beech bark
looking up into the copper beach
eastern tiger swallowtail
dandelion seed caught on a flower stigma

I will miss my adventures with Janet, sharing with each other all the little details we notice along the way.

colonial flower garden

7.27.22 ~ Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

A gray catbird greeted us when we got to the Ebenezer Avery House at the bottom of the hill at Fort Griswold. The last time we visited was in January a year and a half ago. Of course there was nothing growing in the small garden at that time. But this time the air was filled with a pleasant fragrance that must have been some herb or flower I didn’t recognize.

We had a nice walk all around the fort and then it was a delightful surprise to find this little front yard garden surrounded by a picket fence. We lingered here for quite a while, enjoying the colors, smells and visiting butterflies. The flowers were in all stages of life, new ones blossoming right alongside the fading beauties. Please enjoy!

eastern tiger swallowtail
monarch

After we had our fill we made our way back up the hill and past the fort to our car. It was a good workout. 🙂

looking up the hill to the fort

I started to imagine what the people who were in this house during the Battle of Groton Heights might have witnessed from their vantage point that tragic day in 1781.

summer butterflies and bees

7.31.21 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park
Waterford, Connecticut

We’ve been having some gorgeous weather, comfortable temperatures and dry air! Blue skies. 🙂 Saturday we saw dozens of butterflies and hundreds of bees in the gardens at Harkness Memorial State Park and took many many pictures. Sometimes there are simply no words left to describe the beauty… Enjoy!

pollen clinging to hairs on the bee’s body
monarchs were everywhere
peek-a-boo
black swallowtail

Flower pictures coming tomorrow!