Birdsong Hollow

Spring into summer birds have been building their nests in the hollow.

Billary, long-time resident cardinal, wakes us in the morning and closes the day when he makes his rounds atop the trees circling the front yard, declaring loudly, exuberantly, the last of the sun on his chest, that this is his home. He and his family live in the brush by the creek, angels flying too close to the ground.

Bluebirds join them in attacking the windows during the heat of the day. Billary bashes with such force I think he’s going to break his head. The bluebird flutters softly. Carolina wrens nest in the fig, the potting shed and anywhere you hang a cap, and Phoebes do a tag team to feed their fledglings all day long under the front eaves. There’s a wren fluttering about on the old front porch with dried stems stuffed in its mouth.

It’s like living in a Disney film. No sign of the serpent yet here in paradise.

Late spring began with the blooming of the perfect porch vine, Jasminum x stephenense, an ancient specimen gently pried from Peggy Cornett’s Belmont back yard in Charlottesville decades ago. I can still see her strong fingers teasing the little seedling from the soil.

Jasminum x stephenense

The solstice a few days ago saw us just past the peak of the Regale Lilies. Hummingbirds have begun visiting the scarlet geraniums at the top of the walk, quickly probing each floret for its nectar, but there is a dearth of other insects – few bees, only a solitary battered black swallowtail. Are the voracious birds taking them all for their young or is there something more sinister afoot?

Have just finished digging bulbs from the pathway in the east meadow, in the nick of time while I can still see their ragged yellow tendrils. I like to dig bulbs that need to be moved as they go dormant, leaves turning yellow. You can still find them and they can be stored to dry in flats over summer, re-planting in the coming fall. The pathway was full of an old Van Engelen mix called The Narcissus Grand Mixture. Wonderful how they multiply.

As the creek has eroded over the years, especially with periodic flooding from heavy rains which gouge the banks, the path that runs along it has crept uphill, hence the old daffodils that used to line its edge. This year we’ve begun rock work that will stabilize it for our foreseeable future. Lacing branches and brush in the arms of eroded creeks can help also, but they sometimes wash away and need to be rebuilt.

As does everything in the garden.

 

 

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