We planted this wonderful native down on our dry weather creek for bank stability. This plant likes/needs wet feet, and is perfect for the task. This is the Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis. It can grow to 18′ tall and 10′ wide in full sun. The blossom looks like a button, as you can see and attracts all the pollinators; look for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to come to it once established. It is particularly favored by our native bees. The plant is deciduous, but in my experience, some stems freeze back to the ground. The plant recovers each year to bloom in the summer. I found that used in a pond environment, any submerged portion will provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, ducks, and fish. Some 25 species of birds eat the seeds. A native worth planting by our creeks and ponds.
This picture shows the “button” later in the season, about to go to seed.
Many native plants as well as drought tolerant ones are available to use when planting your own butterfly garden or just to have a small blooming area of joy right outside your window. We planted several colors of Cosmos and Zinnia. In addition, we now have native wildflowers growing up in among the planted seeds, none of which have been disturbed by the deer. This little garden has been blooming for a couple of months now and has been enjoyed by the butterflies, bees and humans alike. Why don’t you give it a try and see what you can grow, too!
Spurred Butterfly pea Centrosema virginianum, part of the bean (legume) family. We can find this sprawling vine from about April to September. It is vining, with no tendrils. The flower is a great nectar source and the plant is larval food plant for Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly, Urbanus proteus. It’s great for the organic butterfly garden. Thankfully, it tolerates dry conditions well. Thank you, Grady, for another great picture.
Wonderful picture from Grady of one of our native wildflowers, the Purple Pleat-Leaf Alophia drummondii. Sometimes called Pinewood Lily. This flower loves our sandy soil, and can be found blooming from April – June, in part shade. Since it doesn’t make a great cut flower, best to enjoy them where you see them; flowers remain open a very short time. In fact, they tend to wither by the noon heat. If you should want to move them into your garden, you need to sow seed in the fall.
A great time was enjoyed at the Spring Shrimp Boil. We received many compliments from you. We had 63 people in attendance and raised $215.00 from the silent auction. We hope that our speaker, Bill Mitchell, provided valuable information about your agriculture and wildlife exemptions. If you would like a copy of his notes, then let us know. (Barbara Mitchem)
Upcoming Events: “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!” (Jean Herring) So you’d better be at ORWMA’s Annual Ice Cream Social! Bring your favorite flavor of ice cream or sherbet. ORWMA will supply rock salt and ice. If homemade ice cream isn’t in your area of expertise, bring a toipping to share or a dessert (cookies/cake). We will have a contest for: 1) most unusual flavor, 2) personal favorite, 3) creamiest & 4) best presentation.
So bring a lawn chair, your ice cream or sherbet or topping/dessert to Lynne Bigelow’s backyard (1287 Oakridge Road) at 6 PM on Saturday, July 20. We will also introduce our new website under construction at http://orwma.org. All of Oakridge is encouraged to come and if friends/family are visiting, bring them as well.
The ORWMA Summer Birding Census will be held on June 15, 2013, 6:30 AM, Oakridge Community Center. A birding brunch will be held afterwards at 10:30 AM. We hope you will set aside this time! (Brenda LaVergne)
In the Works:
July 20 Ice Cream Social (Jean Herring)
August Deer Census (Jim Trickett)
September 21 Oakridge WMA Fall Meeting (Larry Petter)
December 7 Wounded Warrior Hunt (David Mitchem)
We are always excited to hear your comments! From Jim Trickett: “You guys did a great job with the shrimp boil. The format was great, the exhibits were good, the word got around to a number of new landowners, the new banner was well done and having Billy Mitchell there was a great idea. It was evident you are all working hard to get it back on track and I think y’all are doing this.”
This cute little honeybee sized guy is among the many species of Robber Flies, but this Bee Fly Diptera: Bombyliidae is another family of flies. When he is not on cameras, he can be found checking out the pollen of the flowers, and on the ground. This species lays its eggs in soil and takes a year to complete the life cycle. The larvae are parasitic on immature stages of other insects and therefore is considered beneficial.
Reviewing pictures we have taken, I found a shot of the bee fly building his burrow in the ground. I did not realize until recently, what the identity of the insect was.
If you’re driving Miller Creek Loop, you will find these water lilies as we did last Saturday in the rain.
White Water Lily, Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata. These perennial lilies are native to Texas and only become a problem if they become too thick within their environment . Then there is a risk they will start to shade out other plants. These lilies are found in our ponds, lakes, slow streams and ditches. The plant parts and seeds benefit waterbirds and small mammals.
Little Carolina Wrens are ready to leave the nest at 12-14 days after hatching. These little ones are just about ready to fly! Today is day 12 and we are watching them as they move halfway in and halfway out of their nest. Sure hope these little birds reuse this nest soon!
Almost a week old, all 5 hatchlings are still doing well (see below). Mr. Carolina Wren (the dad) brings food to Mrs. Carolina all throughout the day. These little ones open their mouths when my camera nears thinking food is on it’s way in!
The Carolina Wren is an industrious little bird and a noisy one, too! They have a loud song for such a small bird. The male & female are similar in color & markings, only the male is slightly larger. Male Carolina Wrens work vigorously to build several different nests at the same time. These little guys are tireless! But when it comes time to actually lay eggs, the female will chose which nest she wants. Below is a picture of the male wren as he works building his nest in a flower cart on our porch earlier this month.
Once the female has chosen a nest, she sets up housekeeping and lays her eggs. This family laid five eggs most of which you can see below. Only the female sits on the nest and the male brings her food all throughout the day. She will only leave her nest about 6 times a day for water and such, much less often than other species of birds.
Hatching begins after 14 days and all the eggs will be hatched out over a 24 hour period. “Mrs. Carolina” left her nest this morning just long enough to allow me to snap this picture of her new babies. If you click on the picture below and enlarge it, you can see they have very few feathers at this point and you can see the small bones inside the wing and the claws on the feet.
The male will continue to bring food to the female and new hatchlings until they are ready to leave the nest. The male is a busy bird! It’s been a real treasure to have the opportunity to watch this happen right on our front porch. So keep your eyes and ears open for the Carolina Wren.