American Goldfinch

25 07 2011

Finally—my first-ever shot of the elusive, quick-moving American Goldfinch (male), photographed at Green Spring Gardens yesterday morning. My friend Gina saw one of these in her garden yesterday too (perhaps he followed me home?) and thought for sure she had discovered something rare and exotic—much like a sighting of Bigfoot or even rarer, the Dodo bird. She even thought it was perhaps a flyaway pet looking for its home. That is, until she started a web search and learned what it really was. She was so excited doing the research that she is contemplating a career change from flight attendant to ornithologist. This morning her voice had morphed into that of the character Miss Jane Hathaway (the love-starved-pith-helmet-wearing-avid-bird-watching perennial spinster) from The Beverly Hillbillies. (P.S. I advised Gina to not quit her day job.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hoverfly on Coneflower

29 08 2010

Hoverfly (also known as a flower flies) photographed on a Coneflower (Echinacea). These tiny flies have honey bee-like markings, but are harmless. Many species of hoverfly larvae prey upon pest insects, such as aphids and leafhoppers, making them a natural means of reducing the levels of pests. Hoverflies also like alyssum, buckwheat, chamomile, parsley and yarrow.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





It’s a jungle out there

28 05 2009

Shot of our front yard garden taken this afternoon…

Just past bloom: White & purple Bearded Iris and Purple Sensation Allium 

Debuting now: Beard’s Tongue, Catmint, Veronica Speedwell, Creeping Thyme, Sweet William, Penstemon, Rose Campion (blush pink-white and bright pink varieties), Hellebores, Sedum, Yellow Yarrow, Nasturtium, White Dianthus, Pink Phlox, Hosta flowers, Ageratum, Evening Primrose ‘Lemon Drop’, Strawflower, Geraniums 

Very-soon-to-bloom: Globe Thistle, Lavender (various), Coreopsis, Tickseed, Lilies (various) and Salvia

And later in the seasonButterfly bush (pink, yellow, purple varieties), Coneflower (various varieties)

Platycodon Balloon Flower (purple and white varieties), Shasta Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Monarda Bee Balm, Lamb’s Ear, Morning Glory ‘Heavenly Blue’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Maximilian sunflower

Ha! And this is just the list of plants in the front yard. Proof enough that I’m a gardener obsessed.

Got a question for my fellow gardeners…what is the weed (looks a lot like the tops of celery plants or almost cilantro-looking leaf) that is taking over my entire garden in spades? Why have I not noticed this prolific pest in previous years? Is it a new invasive? Do I need to photograph it for identification?
  
© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

InBloom5282009


 





Not so mellow yellow

3 02 2009

I had so many yellow-dominant photos in my archives that I had to shrink the images a little more than usual to get them to all fit into a more manageable collage—otherwise, you would be scrolling down for days. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Purple’s comin’ ’round the corner. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

notsomellowyellow3






Blooming in the garden today…

22 07 2008

Since I began gardening about six years ago, I’ve become smitten with coneflowers (Echinacea). So much so that last year I added several more colors to the front and backyard gardens. I have the standard purple coneflower, white (‘Jade’), orange (‘Orange Meadowbrite’), buttery yellow (‘Sunrise’), deep fall gold (‘Harvest Moon’), reddish orange (‘Sundown’), a doubledecker purple one called ‘Doppelganger,’ and my new favorite—Echinacea Summer Sky, a gold coneflower that graduates in an airbrushed fashion to red toward the cone! I love growing them because a) they’re perennials, b) they are quite photogenic, c) they love the sun, and d) bees and other insects love them, too, so there’s always a subject to photograph! I also have some in partial shade but their color doesn’t seem as deep as those growing in full sun. My purple and white coneflowers are all in bloom now. I’ll deadhead the spent blooms tomorrow since I just read that the blooms could repeat if deadheaded (now why didn’t I already know that?) These North American native perennials are drought tolerant, long blooming, and low maintenance. The name ‘Echinacea’ means spiny in Greek (echino) and references the flower’s pincushion center. The name “coneflower” comes from the way the petals sweep back and down, forming a cone. If I had the room in my garden(s), I would add all of these on this site. Hmmmm…I feel a purchase (or two or three) coming on!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Grow!

16 07 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.   www.cindydyer.wordpress.com





Hardly seems fair winning my own prize…

6 05 2008

I remembered photographing this bug about two years ago and sharing it with my Garden Club members and a few friends. I went through my e-mail archives and found it this evening! Here’s the e-mail thread:

7/7/2006: Hey everyone…Remember when I mentioned that I thought that bug might be a bee? I was hesitant and apparently rightly so! Thanks to my friend Jeff, I have been enlightened on one of the differences between bees and flies…thanks, Jeff! Be sure to click on the link he sent…it matches my bug exactly! Here was his letter below. — Cindy

___________________________________________________

Cin, It is a type of fly, Order Diptera. Like all flies, it has two wings. Most other flying insects — bees, wasps, even most beetles, have four. I would say that your specimen is a Flower Fly or Hoverfly, family Syrphidae, species Toxomerus.
http://www.pbase.com/lejun/image/29589768
___________________________________________________

From my Dad 7/7/2006
Oh, I knew immediately that it was a Flower Fly of the order Diptera, and that it was of the family Syrphidae, but I was uncertain of the exact species so I just let it slide — your misclassification was harmless and, as you know, I dislike correcting people in such matters (whether bee, fly or flea, it was a gorgeous photo).

___________________________________________________

Great. Now everyone on two coasts knows I’m a nerd. A little bit of Mr. Science goes a long way. — Jeff
_____________________________________________________

No, now everyone knows I have a terribly, terribly, TERRIBLY brilliant, curious, mentally acute, resourceful, wise, erudite friend and one is judged by the company one keeps….so it’s a win-win situation for me! And remember, it’s all about me! In fact, I put your entire name because there was another Jeff in the e-mail and although he is also very bright, I did not want to give him credit where credit was not due. The proper nerd has been publicly thanked. Remember, I’ve been educating these Weedettes for over two years on everything I know and everything I research…..they’re used to MY nerdiness….I just brought company with me this time! — Cindy

________________________________________________

I photographed this same fly (okay, not THIS same fly, but a distant relative) last summer. I knew it looked familiar. Here are the closeup photos I got of one on a coneflower. Learn more about this beneficial insect here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverfly

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.