Hearing his "Ek, Ek, Ek!" is the sign to go outside and look up because he caught some lunch and is bragging about it to the world. On the other hand, this red tulip is an antique flower. What? It grew in the yard when we bought the house over 31 years ago, and has survived landscaping changes that should have disrupted it. It is the only tulip we have, and it keeps company with an antique daffodil in the same bed of bushes. Two years ago we replanted much of the back yard, adding a Jane Magnolia bush. Last summer I watched the squirrels eat all the buds before they could bloom. This year, though, we are rewarded with beautiful magnolia blossoms.
Hostas are easy to grow, and we divided those in the front yard and moved about half of them to the backyard last year. They have such rich colors in the spring, before the slugs get to them, that is....
The Goldfinches are turning bright yellow and their lilting song entertains us as we work around the yard, raking up the last of the dead leaves and bringing the patio furniture out of storage.
The waterfalls in the creek also provide a steady backdrop of liquid sound to the afternoon's work.
We try to limit ourselves to Kentucky native plants now. Foam Flower is doing well beside the creek.
This bright green plant also thrives along the creek. It was the first to sprout and seems larger than most of the others. We see little yellow buds coming out, and I'm afraid it may be Yellow Rocket, an invasive that can turn a farmer's field completely yellow in the spring. Our philosophy for unknown plant is "Let it grow more till we can figure out what it is, then we can yank it." After all, I'd hate to be pulling out plants I paid for only last summer, just because I don't recognize them.
I planted several varieties of ferns, including some divisions of Father Fern, and this one by the creek is poking through nicely, as is a larger Cinnamon Fern. No, there isn't a species called Father Fern. We just say that because this one was here when we bought the house too.
We bought some wild flowers that I usually find in the deep woods, and I doubted they would do well in our yard. The Mayapple has sprouted along with Wild Ginger and Bleeding Heart. No sign of Jack in the Pulpit yet, but it's still early. I haven't seen them out in the woods yet either.
The volunteer Dogwoods under the pines are doing well. I like them when the bracts are small like this more than the big white blossoms. Sweetbush and Spicebush are doing well too. We hope to get berries from them and the Winter Holly for the birds. Dick enlarged the garden, so we will be on the hunt for more natives to add, trying to have something ready to bloom in all seasons, while leaving space for future growth. We may need a bigger yard!