This week in the garden: June 26-July 2, 2022

Sharing the Stream on a hot day (June 25, 2022)

With the heat and humidity, lots of birds have been visiting the stream. They don’t seem to mind sharing with others. Here a female Cardinal and a Robin share the top of the stream.

Red-eyed Vireo at the stream (June 24, 2022)

Red-eyed Vireos win the prize for most ridiculous bathing style. I call it ‘silly dipping’. They dive into the stream, skimming the water surface, and then zooming back out as quickly as possible. The Robins — who bathe leisurely and repeatedly, even just sitting in the water for extended periods — must think the Vireos are crazy.

Dead Man’s Fingers fungi (June 4, 2022)

I was ridiculously excited to find two Dead Man’s Fingers fungi in my pollinator garden, growing in the composted pine mulch in the shade of Golden Alexanders. I also found 2 pretty little mushrooms that looked like striped parasols. Last year, I found Dog’s Vomit Slime fungi growing in the mulch. Gotta love these fungi names.

Coloured pollen (June 24, 2022 and July 9, 2020)

Over the past couple of years while taking insect photos, I’ve noticed that flowers produce pollen in different colours. The Red Pincushion Flowers have pink pollen (photos 1 and 2), daisies have bright yellow pollen (3rd photo), my Explorer Rose has pale yellow pollen (4th photo), and Purple Prairie Clover has bright orange pollen (underside of Leaf-cutter Bee in 5th photo).

Leaf-cutter bee nest (June 28, 2022)

A small leaf-cutter bee has started making nests in a bee house in our backyard. The bee house was installed as part of a study by University of Ottawa student Lydia Wong.

The bee is cutting pieces of Fireweed leaves that are growing nearby. You can see pieces cut out from the edges of leaves in the second photo. I believe that I spotted the bee collected pollen from Prairie Cinquefoil flowers.

Current shade combo: Poke Milkweed and Downy Wood Mint (July 1, 2022)

There aren’t many native plants blooming in the shade garden right now. I do have a few showy patches of Poke Milkweed (top left) and Downy Wood Mint (pale purple-blue spikes) though. Poke Milkweed (last photo) is a SW Ontario native. Non-native astilbes and coral bells are also blooming.

Baby bunny (June 27, 2022)

Lately, we’ve been seeing a cute baby bunny in the garden. Here it is helping me out by eating a weed.

Elderberries in full bloom (July 1, 2022)

The Common Elderberries are in full bloom in the back hedgerow, and Red Elderberries are in full fruit in the front shade garden.

Dog’s Vomit Slime Mold (July 2, 2022)

This morning, my son asked me about the yucky-looking thing on top of the mulch pile. It’s Dog’s Vomit Slim Mold that has been partly dug up, by a squirrel probably. It feeds on decaying organic matter like the composted pine mulch that I like to use.

According to thespruce.com: “It’s part of the protist, not fungi, kingdom. So it’s actually more closely related to an amoeba than a fungus. It is also known by another nickname—scrambled egg slime mold—because the fruiting body (the part you see) is light yellowish in color and looks a bit like scrambled eggs.”

Iridescent Grackle (June 14, 2022)

I used to think that I didn’t like Grackles. It turns out that I mistook nuisance flocks of European Starlings for Grackles. This spring, we’ve watched a pair of Grackles and their 3 offspring visiting the yard. They occasionally use the feeder, but mostly they pick up sunflower seeds that drop on the ground. Males have such beautiful iridescent blue feathers on the heads.

Tall Meadowrue (July 2, 2022)

With all the rain this spring, the Tall Meadowrue is taller than me (5ft, 1in). IT is another plant that is blooming in the shade garden right now. A few years ago, I grew these plants from seed from botanicallyinclined.org after I saw it in bloom at Chapman Mills Conservation Area (2nd photo).

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