Thursday, May 30, 2013

Complementary colors

Violet and yellow are on the opposite sides of the color wheel, which makes them complementary colors.

Courtesy Wikipedia

The two most prolific bloomers in my late spring garden are violet and yellow.

I fell in heads-over-heels with the tiny white-edged flowers of 'Sapphire Showers' Duranta erecta (syn: Duranta repens) in the garden of blogger Diana Kirby (Sharing Nature's Garden). I wanted to possess it the moment I saw it. Do you know what I mean - that dreamy plant puppy love feeling?

'Sapphire Showers' can get as tall as 25 feet in tropical regions. It is not particularly cold-hardy; Diana's specimen appears to have perished in the bitter cold winter of 2010. Luckily for my specimen, we've had mild winters since I planted mine. It's about five feet tall.
sapphire showers duranta

I love its cascading habit. I planted it in the far southeast corner of the backyard. Now I'm kicking myself for not planting it closer to my back patio where I could see it more easily! Duranta's a sun-lover, though, and my back patio area is pretty shady, so it's just as well... when it freezes dead to the ground, I suppose I could replant closer in, hmmm?
sapphire showers duranta

On the opposite side of the garden, in the front northwest section, is this most adorable mound of grey santolina, which is blooming for the very first time ever. Such a cutie!
gray santolina

I fell in love with its precious little yellow pom-pom flowers and nubby sage-green foliage in the midst of the Seattle Garden Bloggers' Spring Fling, in Shelagh Tucker's garden. ~Zing!~ went the Garden Cupid's arrows, straight into my heart. Swoon!
gray santolina

Come to think of it, Shelagh's may have been green santolina (Santolina rosmarinifolia syn. S. virens), which is taller and a lighter yellow. It's hard to say, given that everything grows larger and more lush on the West Coast, but I love my little mound just the same. And so do all manner of bees and flies and buzzy things - like this baby katydid and this unfortunate common house fly. "The Circle of Life" plays out once again in the garden...
baby katydid eating fly on santolina

Now I'm thinking I need to plant some gray santolina under the 'Sapphire Showers' duranta and some 'Sapphire Showers' duranta behind the gray santolina - right?

What complementary colors are knocking your socks off in your late spring garden? Leave a comment and a link and tell me all about it!

Words and photos © 2009-2013 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

About that other bird...


Owly was last seen the morning of April 3, taking shelter on an unseasonably cold, windy, wet morning. Owly hung out most of the day, then left. I knew it was the same owl because of the missing tufts above the right ear. I've read owls use these houses for nesting only - no love connection, no need to hang around! I'm thrilled Owly paid us several visits, and maybe next year there will be owlets. I'll be sure to make sure the house is clean and ready for Owly's return next spring.

Words and photos © 2009-2013 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to raise a mockingbird

In a nondescript boxwood hedge under our kitchen window,

deep within its leaves,

lies a little nest of twigs lined with all manner of natural and manmade textiles.
mockingbird eggs

We thought the nest had been abandoned, but last Saturday, all four eggs hatched,
newly hatched mockingbirds

and the proud parents made themselves quite visibly and audibly known. They stand watch day and night,
proud parents

and make multiple visits to the nest every hour to feed the babies.
feed the baby

Today the babies are a week old.
one week old

Mother and father are even more protective now,
look out

and swoop over my head when I get too close.
daddy mockingbird

The big baby in the middle is much larger than his nestmates.
baby mockingbirds

He's really good at begging to be fed!
feed me

Words and photos © 2009-2013 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.