Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Drama Builds

As I mentioned back on the 14th, my Amorphophallus konjac has decided it't going to bloom before I can stick it and all it's putrid beauty outdoors. As of this moment it's gotten 20" inches taller, four of those inches in the last day. I'm scared.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Calendar Says It's Spring

And the garden agrees. At least a few Crocus and Helleborus do.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Skies/Blue Birds

Today I FINALLY got out to do some hiking and birding. It seems like the last few weekends have been either too cold or too wet or both to get out. I went to three different locations and purposely let it just be an enjoyable outing without any counting or listing taking over as the focus. I did, however, swear that I would get at least one picture of a bird, however common, however bad. As I was thinking about leaving my last location I decided I could settle for one of the Mallards sitting in the lake or even the American Robin I found in a playground. Then, as is almost always the case, I get a satisfying sighting just as I'm ready to go home. Walking back to the parking lot I caught a bit of burbling chirping behind me. There, up in the top of a tree was the source of the sound.

Soon it took off and flew toward me along the edge of the prairie.

It was soon joined by another as they were making an inspection of a nesting box.

My first Eastern Bluebirds of the year! I'm taking this as an official declaration that Spring is here.

What Was I Thinking?

A few weeks ago I purchased a nice, blooming-size Amorphophallus konjac tuber at a garden expo. I've grown this species for years and while my plants enjoy reproducing vegetatively with offsets they don't seem particularly interested in growing big tubers that will flower. This one is obviously going to flower because when I got it the bud was already a few inches above the tuber. Now, I know full well that as a fly-pollinated species A. konjac attracts it little winged matchmakers by smelling like carrion. Of the species I have, A. dunnii is the only one that has flowered with any regularity and it actually smells OK--a little closer to what we think of as "floral." It also has always flowered in late spring or summer. I didn't follow the thought to the logical conclusion until my friend, Matt pointed it out to me: this puppy is going to flower before the weather is warm enough to put it outside. A week ago it seemed to perk up and resume its flower formation. Today it's 10.5" and growing. Will I find a suitable place for it when the bloom opens and fills the air with a rotten stench? Will it catch me off guard making our home smell like roadkill? (This once happened with a Typhonium. Not recommended.) Stay tuned for further floral developments.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Which Wren? Not a Wren! It's a Brown Creeper

UPDATE: We have a winner! It's not me. The bird is a Brown Creeper, one possibility that briefly crossed my mind but I immediately dismissed because I thought they were bigger. Thanks so much to all the helpful people who responded to my inquiry!

It's wet and dreary out so I decided to try to photograph a Black-capped Chickadee perching photogenically in the climbing hydrangea. Seeing a small bird hopping up the side of the oak tree I first assumed it was a White-breasted Nuthatch. But it was brown! It's some kind of wren but I don't know which. According to eBird I can expect Carolina Wrens this time of year and it may be too early for House, Sedge or Marsh Wrens--probably the wrong habitat for some of those, too. It doesn't look like a Winter Wren to me which is another possibility. Sorry for the quality of the photos. It's not very sunny today and I was shooting from inside the house so it wouldn't be spooked.