Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's a peak time for birds in the Garden

The chorus of bird songs that welcome me each morning as I walk up the hill to my office is amazing. 

Many are familiar, but they're punctuated with new birds as migrants come home or move through.

I heard a Louisiana Waterthrush yesterday with Patrick McMillan (the director of the Garden) along the streamside trail beyond the Woodland Wildflower Garden  -- it's full of different species of ferns, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and a few trilliums.

I heard the song again today on a lunchtime walk with a good friend.  

Males sing profusely when they're establishing their territories, and I heard the song at the same spot as yesterday.  Hopefully, he'll attract a mate and establish a nest in the eroded bank at that spot -- it seems like the right habitat.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Garden volunteers visiting from JC Raulston Arboretum

It's always great to have gardeners visiting the Garden, and this was a special group.

I hosted a group of volunteers from the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State in Raleigh this morning, showing them as many highlights as I could fit in -- in a couple of hours --a challenge more than ever. 

The Upstate visit, orchestrated by Marian St. Clair (Garden columnist at the Greenville News and SC Master Gardener) and Beth Jimenez (of the JC Raulston volunteers) included visits to private gardens in Greenville, nursery visits in Greenville and Seneca, the visit to SCBG, and a special tour of Chuck and Betty Cruickshank's personal garden in Clemson  (Chuck shared the story of the SCBG Hosta Garden with us on site).

The Garden is alive with colors of green in spring - this has been a wonderful spring for natives and ornamentals alike. 

More trilliums than I've ever seen before were in flower, and later today, SCBG Director Patrick McMillan showed me a Silene polypetala in full flower that's just appeared in the Woodland Wildflower Garden. 

Silene polypetala flower (P. McMillan)
None of us has ever seen this plant in flower there before -- nor do we know its origin -- but some combination of good conditions has supported the flowering of this rare Georgia native in our Garden!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pond sliders and frogs

This evening I heard frogs calling from the Cherokee World View Garden pond coming down the hill from a brief office visit.

I don't know all of their identities,  but there were multiple different calls -- probably including a tree frog in the mix, too.  What a great reminder of spring being here. The crickets have started to sing, too.  Summer is on the way.

red-eared slider

young pond slider (very small!
These pond sliders were hanging out on the Duck Pond dam -- I was looking for the Northern Water Snakes that like to bask there on rocks.  But the red-eared pond sliders were fun to see, too.