Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pretty Flies & Spring Goodbyes

April showers bring May...mushrooms? The extremely wet spring we've had has caused tiny mushroom villages to spring up everywhere.

Lichen is growing on fallen limbs. This may be a common woodland feature, but it's not something you'd see in our hot, humid area!

It's really been remarkable. But the old adage does ring true, because the summer flowers are finally starting to show their faces. These feverfew flowers are going to be open in just a few days.

My achillea plants have woolly, cauliflower-like bunches that will flatten and spread as the tiny flower open. I like them in this state, too!

I have lots of mallow plants with bright maroon faces.

The wild strawberries, too, are ripening quickly.

In the late spring, I will occasionally see spiders, praying mantises, and a rare moth or butterfly, but mostly I see flies. This housefly is sucking up a drop of water left behind after our last rain.

A small, energetic hoverfly does the same here...

...before perching on the pollen-covered stamen of this four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa). Hoverflies are good to have around and many gardeners plant specific plants to attract them. They love to eat garden pests, like aphids.

I see lots of interesting flies in the spring, like this small iridescent one.

Even a common blowfly has an iridescent beauty in the sun.

The rain has also brought about a much longed-for event...the blooming of the peonies.

As soon as one bud bloomed, I picked it for a bouquet.

Small bouquets...

...and larger bouquets...

...all over the house. Every room was perfumed with their sweet smell, which I much prefer over that of roses.

Even when they're dying, the petals fade to a pearly pink and retain their charm. I have two glorious weeks with them...until next year.

Todd and I have been astonished at the healthy green growth of our amaryllis.

One week ago, it looked like this.

After just a week, it's grown up tall and green, and one of the flowers opened up.

An amaryllis bulb can last up to 40 years if cared for properly. That's a real incentive to fill a winter window sill with them! They can be tricked into blooming during the winter if you manipulate their dormant time.

I've done very little knitting this past week. I was working on a small project that called for pleating a collar. You put 3 stitches on a double pointed needle, then the next 3 stitches on a double pointed needle, and then knit the first stitch from each needle, plus the next stitch in line on your left-hand needle, at the same time. I tried twice and then put it away in frustration. I will try again this week. Not much cooking this week, either. Todd is hard at work on his dissertation and our schedules are turned upside-down during these final days of it. An out-of-state job interview and an upcoming camping trip has added to the chaos. Thankfully, our mid-afternoon naps - and lots of prayers! - help keep our sanity.

Enjoy your week!

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