May 27, 2011

Bearded Iris

The seemingly endless rain we have experienced in Northwest Ohio over the past ten days has certainly been appreciated by the plants in my gardens, and my iris plants look strong and healthy. A brief break in the torrential downpours yesterday gave me a few minutes to snap some pictures of the emerging irises.

My wife planted most of our irises a decade or more ago, and they bring welcome bursts of color in between tulip season and when the summer flowers start blooming. I also like that the irises stand up well against the frantic feet of my squirrel-chasing dogs, and a pocket of irises is almost an impenetrable barrier to my scampering canine companions.

May 13, 2011

Crabapple Tree in Bloom

One of the highlights of the seasonal colors that appear in our yard is the blooming of the crabapple tree pictured on your left. For a week or so the tree produces brilliant pink and fuchsia petals, and local bees become almost drunk in their gorging on nectar and pollen from these flowers.

I too derive a state of near intoxication from the color this tree brings each year. I remember trying to work on my dissertation a few years ago and being almost lured, Siren-like, by the powerful beauty of this crabapple tree.

Interestingly, while this was a wet and early spring, this crabapple tree was about a week behind its usual schedule of blooming the first week of May. Occasionally the tree will burst into color around April 30, but this year it was mid-May before the color arrived.

May 9, 2011

Digging Puggle

Left: Puggle in full-blown gurrowing mode

Pictured on your left is one of our Puggles, whose name is Chauncey Gardner. I suspect that pound-for-pound this 20-pound dog is capable of excavating more cubic feet of earth than just about any other dog.

I am not sure what sort of critter Chauncey thinks he is going to catch with his digging. I have been filling in the 3-foot hole every day, but in 30 minutes or so Chauncey is able to revert the ground to its former holey state. I suppose I could just let him dig in this same spot: it is out of the way, it is not near the root systems of any significant plants, and the time he spends on this massive hole he is not digging other holes in my yard.

Left: Momentarily surprised Puggle

I had to set up the second photo, and I was shooting for a Scooby-Doo "ruh-roh" feel in the next image. I called Chauncey's name in an excited voice and he popped up to see what was going on. I managed to get lucky and snap the shutter at the right moment, and the picture came out pretty much as I envisioned it.

It is difficult to get angry at such a happy little dog, and his digging is just a minor quirk as far as I am concerned. Heck, for all I know he might be inadvertently aerating the earth in the places he digs.

May 4, 2011

Tulip Time

After planting hundreds of perennial bulbs last fall, I have been impatiently waiting for spring to arrive. The recent warm weather and rains have been kind to my gardens, and in particular the tulips have rewarded me with some spectacular color this year.

Unfortunately the curious squirrels dug up and devoured a fair number of bulbs, but that is an annual battle. I figure I will compensate for the inevitable squirrel feasts by factoring in a 20 percent or so shrinkage from rodents, and that by planting a few extra bulbs in each area enough should survive the rodential onslaught.