Long Time Gone

The last time I shared the life of the gardens nighttime temperatures were below freezing and there was snow on the ground.

Now windows are opened both day and night while the cacophony of bird songs overwhelm one’s sense of hearing.

Babies are born, flowers grow and vegetables harvested.

The gardens are another year older as are its inhabitants …

Parrot Tulip 2017
Parrot Tulip
Bearded Iris
Bearded Iris
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
Robin family
Robin family
Baltimore butterfly
Baltimore butterfly
Juvenile Grey Squirrel
Juvenile Grey Squirrel
Eastern Cottontail rasbbit
Eastern Cottontail rabbit




Transformative Qualities

And so it begins

A miniscule sphere harboring new life


Emerging as  a creature from a nightmare

Juvenile Black Swallowtail Caterpillar



Growing into a character in a children’s dream


Black swallowtail caterpillar on dill

Ever so slowly shedding greens and yellows encasing its soft body in an armor of crusty brown


To one day emerge into a creature which we embrace as a symbol of what we can attain


It does not happen in a blink of an eye, it does not happen over night

Days, weeks months in a life that exists for but a short period of time

Once its insatiable appetite for parsley, dill or carrot greens  has been quelled it will travel  long distances to find a place to rest as it transforms into a creature no longer shackled to the earth

We too have the capacity to transform but only after many years of feeding our own voracious appetite for that which we are drawn to

Look to the sky to see them glide on an invisible current and know we too can unshackle ourselves from that which keeps us from soaring ever higher

Certified Wildlife Habitat 139,583 – The Creatures Sharing This Space

Mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids and birds all live within the balance of the web of life.

Green frog

Arrow-shaped Micrathena spider

Rose-breasted Grosebeak

When human kind enters and tries to control and change their environment to suit their needs the interconnectedness of the web is destroyed. Non-native species may enter, an imbalance of natives may occur. If we focus on the interconnectedness and provide the essentials needed for those who live here, food, water, cover and places to raise young, we can restore the balance.

Fly Catcher babies in nest under the southwest deck

caterpillar perhaps a dagger moth caterpillar

Ameerican Robin fledgling in sumac

During daily excursions into the gardens I am greeted by those with whom I share this space.

Hackberry butterfly seeking salt

Guarded but not afraid, they allow me to be the caretaker for this moment in time.

Whitetail deer fawn grazing behind the barn

As my reward they tolerate a close encounter.

House Wren feeding young

Common Garter Snake

Their likeness forever captured.

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Red Admiral on white echinacea flower

The Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) is a North American nymphalid butterfly

I encourage you to go out into your shared space and photograph the creatures you encounter!

The Case for Sunflowers, As If One Was Needed! Certified Habitat #139,583


1998 – I measured, researched, weeded and planted.  Then I submitted a blueprint to have my original property certified as A Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.  A storm moved through, all was washed away and we moved on.

September 18, 2004 flood

 2012 – I went online, clicked on the site, answered  questions and my new property was certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

The first certification was difficult but an amazing learning experience. The second much easier and allows for the inclusion of many more properties.  In both cases I needed to provide four basic elements for wildlife:  food, water, cover and places to raise young.

male and female American Gold finch bird on sunflower seed head

Warbler on sunflower seed head
White-breasted Nuthatch

Sunflowers not only provide a warm palette for garden design, they also provide food for a variety of wildlife.

butterfly on sunflower
Butterfly  on Sunflower


Sunset sunflower

Whether planted by birds or squirrels of intentionally planted by the gardener, sunflowers add multiply dimensions to any garden.

Sunflower 3

Bumblrbee on self-seeded sunflower

Sunflower 4



The Certified Wildlife Habitat – Creatures Who Make the Gardens Their Home

At any given moment on any given day

Black Swallowtail Butterfly


Eastern  Garter Snake

Creatures of both the day and night

White Breasted Nut Hatch

Make these gardens their home


It is an honor to provide an environment for all to live in harmony

Green frog Lithobates clamitans

In return they provide for us

American Goldfinch bird

A sense of peace

White marked Tussock moth caterpillar

A place for reflection

And connectivity with our Mother, Gaia


Black Swallowtail butterfly on Oriental lily
Chipmunk on log

Breath of Spring

I wanted to share photos of the winter gardens but the snow is still coated with ice and I am unable to break though and safely walk around the grounds.  Instead I will share moments of sunnier days . . .

Honey Bee
Honey Bee on Portulaca flower
Pea Tomatoes in the vegetable garden
Pea Tomatoes in the vegetable garden
Monarch Butterfly on Stonecrop  Sedum flower
Monarch Butterfly on Stonecrop Sedum flower

How DOES the Garden Grow – With Red Spotted Purples

Darting quickly around the garden resting only for a moment

The Red Spotted Purple is a joy to watch

As I leaned into the Spicebush trying to capture her in a photograph, my cheek was pricked and then began burning.

Stop by tomorrow to see the miniscule creature that caused me much pain.

Red Spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis
Red Spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis