Friday, May 28, 2010

Visiting the Garden

The Garden is a great place to visit any time of the year, but summer and fall are stand-out times.

Check out the Children's Garden (and all of its individual gardens), the Hydrangea Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Hosta Garden, the pathway and borders above the Hayden Conference Center, and the (in the process of renovation) Flower Display Garden for interesting plants and great ideas for your own garden.

But also, visit the Geology Museum's garden (the Lawrence Sutherland Family Garden) and the Fran Hanson Discovery Center's Terrace Garden, perennial garden beds, and Snell Vegetable Garden. All have interesting selections of perennials and woodies (and edibles in the kitchen garden) to discover.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big-leaf magnolia

I haven't managed to take a photograph, but the big leaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) near the back gate to the Arboretum is impressive at the moment. It's in full flower. The large white flowers are striking, and the tree is getting to be a good size.

Big-leaf magnolia has a limited range in nature, occurring in a small area between Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, NC. Andre Michaux 'discovered' it, and it's among the many species he named.

But it makes an excellent garden tree (we have one in our home garden), and we have a number of them in the Garden. (You'll see their offspring, too, in areas far from the parent trees, thanks to bird dispersal).

Monday, May 10, 2010

They've fledged!

The first brood of young bluebirds successfully raised in the Bob Campbell Geology Museum's nest box have left the nest.  Yesterday, they were all there!  There's currently an egg in the nest, probably one that didn't hatch.

Their departure is right on schedule with the developmental timeline that I posted (after the eggs hatched).

Friday, May 7, 2010

A promethea moth

A beautiful promethea moth appeared on the Bob Campbell Geology Museum porch yesterday morning. Maybe it had emerged nearby, or simply had sought the recessed light of the porch fixtures.

In any case, 1st graders from Pickens Elementary School were delighted to take a look, in between their explorations of the Museum and the Garden.

It was a lucky sighting; these large silk moths aren't so common that we see them frequently.

I didn't have my camera during the day, but returning yesterday evening, I managed to take a not-so-good picture, washed out by the light from the lamp.

Happily, this morning, BCGM staff member Darlene Evans had a fellow butterfly (and moth) enthusiast, Carolyn Turner, take a look, and she moved the moth to a safer spot at the edge of the porch. Hopefully it's out and about this evening!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Red-shouldered hawks

We've been hearing the Garden's red-shouldered hawks quite a bit;  they're feeding hungry nestlings, so are out and about foraging for food.

I was surprised, though, to look up from my computer a minute ago, to see one perched in the Gordonia out my office window! S/he didn't stay long, but swooped down toward the mixed hardwood forest behind the Carriage House, maybe having spotted a chipmunk or squirrel on the lawn.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Growing fast

Baby bluebirds waiting for food
The bluebird nestlings are looking hungry in this screenshot from the Geology Museum webcam.  We're hopeful that our first successful brood will be fledged from this nesting box sometime in the coming weeks, thanks to the snake baffle Dave Cicimurri installed this spring.  All of the other boxes I've checked have eggs or nestlings in various stages.