Black Eyes and Bees

I am ashamed to say that I stroll by this plant often and never give it a glance.

Yesterday, I got closer than usual and a swarm flew up.

What was that?


I took a closer look as the swarm settled back down.


Each bee or wasp chose a black eye and began busily combing over it.


Some bees had legs that were covered in deep yellow pollen.

The batch of Rudbeckia hirta/ Black-eyed Susan flowers was as busy as a city airport.


It is one of only a few flowers blooming in full as August approaches.

I shall be more observant from now on as I buzz by.


FLOW in the KNOW

I Know They Know

I know they know the difference between real rain water


and sprinkler water from the lake and well water from the hose.

I know they know this because it happened again.

The sprinkler waters them, they grow with a few blooms.

I water them with the hose, they grow with a few blooms.

Then, it rains two inches last week.


Everything is clean and refreshed.


All the plants in the garden perk up.


A few days later, the Rain lilies explode with blooms.


I usually call them Fairy lilies, their proper name is Zephyranthus robustus.

I know that they know when the water is rain water.


I don’t know how they know, but

I know they know.


To Italy on Sundays

If you don’t own a private jet, you can still go to Italy on Sundays…

sort of.

Raffaldini Vineyard is a great place to pretend that you are in an Italian vineyard.

The view is spectacular.

The wine is delicious.


The pizza is from a brick oven, albeit a small one, on wheels.

It is a lovely place to spend a quiet afternoon.


Even if it is raining.

We love Raffaldini’s.


Vine Time

I love vines, as you probably know by now.

By the end of July they have reached the top of their trellises.

They are finally starting to produce flowers.

Two of my favorites are putting on a show this week.

The hybrid Passion vine is opening several flowers each day.


I had to get on a ladder to get these shots.

Notice the pollen underneath the stamen paddles.

Hybrid Passion vine

This vine only made one fruit last year with no seeds inside.

My Moon vine has produced its first two blooms this week.

I missed the first, but caught this one closing this morning.

Moon Vine

More blooms ahead.



Losing the Game

I have shared part of this story before.

I am retelling it now because of the mama deer and twin fawns

that were photographed by my neighbor’s critter cam.

When I was a science teacher, I was required to take workshops and classes to renew my teaching license every five years.

One of the workshops that I took was called Project Wild.

It was full of activities to help students understand nature and ecology.

The teachers played some of the games to get familiar with them.

The game that I remember most was a survival game.

Each participant drew a card with the name of the animal they would play

along with the types and amounts of food it would require to survive.

I was a mama bear with twins. My list of requirements was long.

All the “resource” cards were tossed in the middle of our big circle outside on the lawn.

A clock was started and we all had to quickly forage for the right kinds and amounts of foods.

When the clock stopped. We all counted our cards.

The “winners” had gotten enough food and water to survive.

The “losers” died.


My bear family didn’t survive. I felt guilt and sorrow.

There were not enough resources and too much competition.

I wonder if all the winners remember that game as much as the losers do?

I had done my best and failed, not just for me, but for my twins, also.

That mama deer ate every daylily bud and bloom. She ate every hosta leaf in my yard.

They will all grow back next season, but those fawns needed food NOW to live.


Maybe if everyone played games like that, and lost, we would all have more empathy.

I have gladly sacrificed my flora for those two fauna.




3 4 Pots

I have three plants that I do not intentionally let out of their pots.

All three have a reputation for going rogue if let loose.

I LOVE all three or I would never chance a release of a new “Kudzu” into my gardens.

I have not had the least bit of trouble with this first one,

Bleeding Heart vine/ Clerodendrum speciosum, thomsonia. 

I have taken cuttings and produced new plants, but it has never escaped on its own.

The second one is also a vine.

Love-in-a- Puff/ Cardiospermum halicacabum  produces puffy pods which contain round black seeds with a white heart on each.

After three years of having this plant, I have only found two escapees near to where the mama plant was the previous summer.

The last one however, Jewels of Opar/Talinum paniculatum has escaped many times.

I always dig up the seedlings and transplant them into pots.

This plant has a long root that may prove impossible to remove.

The beauty of its blooms and pods is what I find irresistible.

The “limon” leaves are edible, but I have yet to eat one.

(My husband has still not forgiven me for bringing some Crownvetch on the property nearly thirty years ago. We are still finding it.)

So these three are for pots, but worth the risk.



A Pond with a View

We are very fortunate to have a great source for koi and water plants

just a short drive away from us.

Gayle’s Koi in Catawba has been our choice for buying koi and water plants for years.

She has a huge pond full of gorgeous giants.

Butterfly Koi with flowing fins

It is on the side of a hill and seems almost like an infinity pond.

Look at this view!

My son and I went to get several small koi and some water plants last weekend.

water hyacinths
water lkettuce

Water plants are needed to help shade the water during the hot months here in the south.

My son picked out two colorful fish from one of her holding tanks,

while I wandered around enjoying her garden art and unusual plants.

If you are local, I will pass along her contact information.

Gayle is the best.



My Five Ears

I have five different Elephant Ears.

I lost my favorite this winter, but found a replacement at the Tropical Nursery in North Myrtle Beach.

I got my first big green one decades ago ‘Caladium Esculentum.’ (name on tag?)

I love how these hold water and tip over when they get full.

Then I added some black ears. These get bigger with more water.

Next came my favorite Colocasia, ‘Mojito.’

Then the Coffee Cups.

I loved these until the caterpillars rained down poop into the cups.

Now I have a new one, ‘Frydek’/ Alocasia micholitzana.

This one looks nothing like the label, so I do not trust this name. The leaf shape is the same, but the coloration is different.  This may be due to a difference in the amount of sunlight.

Five different ears with similar shape and different coloration.

I hope you appreciate my cutting my ears off for you.

FLOW van Gogh