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Peony season ended yesterday with the last stems going home with market shoppers. Over 700 stems were harvested this year, despite crazy spring temperature swings.

2015 Peony city market May

abundant peony harvest 2017

I thought every blueberry flower was frozen during a late March freeze and I fully expected a ruined harvest. Behold, a few weeks ago fruit formed and swelled although I rarely saw a pollinator.

So begins another harvest challenge..wild birds appear to be especially hungry this spring and despite my efforts to foil winged and four-footed marauders, I regularly notice clever catbirds, robins, and one blasted squirrel climbing under the tulle, metallic ribbon, and whirligigs. “Ha!”they say. “On berries we will gorge!”

O'Neil blueberries

O’Neil blueberries beginning to ripen


Despite tulle, mylar ribbon, whirligigs, and a fake snake, the wild visitors snack


This image of a resident female American Robin collecting nesting material reminds me to be thankful for my arms, hands and fingers. Robins engineer elaborate nests cemented together with mud…all carried in their mandible.

Now I will share images of what’s blooming here at Swallowtail Cottage this month.


A clever newbie to my garden nectars upside down on the Red Hot Pokers. I think it is an Northern “Baltimore” Oriole or a Rufous-sided Towhee. Can you identify?


Another newbie to my gardens…Apricot Fudge lily…much showier the second season. No scent, and oddly shaped…what do you think?


Ahh, the persnickety Foxtail lily…an underperformer added two seasons ago. Five bulbs were planted. One died this spring and only two others bloomed. Not enough bang for the buck…Does anyone know the secret to growing this beauty?


The patch of rescued iris has tripled in just three years and is awesome early on.  Despite my efforts, this patch is now riddled with fungus and I am not sure if I will be forced to remove all of them. Any suggestions?


This mass of flower power is on top of my cattle panel arbor over one raised bed. I am told they are fragrant, yet being on top, they are out of whiff range. As the prolific climber continues its path over the top of the arbor, I will sniff when flowers are within range. This is a Huldine clematis planted two years ago. Second season is impressive, yes? And I read it will bloom twice per season. Yeah!


This is the cluster of flowers from one bulb found in the grocery store (set of three) called a Mediterranean Lily. All three bulbs have produced a sturdy 36″ stem every year for the past three, and these flowers last for weeks when cut. They remind me of a chandelier.


And this is the Fake Snake who scares no birds away from my blueberries…when soaked the package states it will grow to 48″. Despite heavy rains since installed, this Fake only writhes and swells in bizarre places.

Oh those blueberries!

Therefore my 2017 hopes of blueberry bounty are dashed…this photo was taken a few years back when times were different. Yes, timing is everything…

Here at Swallowtail Cottage, in zone 7a, the first nesting season is now complete for the Carolina chickadees, Eastern bluebirds, and Northern cardinals. The three-week old cardinal chicks have found my feeders and entertain me with their antics. Sadly, one cardinal chick appears to have wing issues end I think it cannot fly. I shall monitor the situation as it visits the feeders and will contact the Wildlife Sanctuary for advice.

I regularly chase off the Brewer’s Blackbirds, cowbirds, and jays who invade my feeders and terrorize the new resident chicks. Tufted titmice continue their quiet routines, one Ruby-throated hummer visits the feeder frequently, House and Goldfinches continue to annoy me, Carolina Wrens are scarce, Brown Thrashers are beautiful and elegant, the occasional Chipping Sparrow makes an appearance, and my beloved Red bellied woodpeckers astound and delight. I envy their ability to fly, yet rejoice in the fact that I have arms, hands and fingers…

Happy and bountiful spring to your, my followers. I always enjoy hearing from you.


PS. WordPress just informed me that this is my 200th post. Shall I continue or retire?

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved