Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Things

Spring is in full swing here in Virginia--I very much enjoy the beauty of nature at this time of the year.  The trees are vividly green and abundant wonders of nature are around every corner.  These nestling Carolina wrens are tucked away in a quiet spot on the Museum grounds--fortunately, I have a new telephoto lens and was able to get this shot without disturbing them while their busy parents were out fetching insects:
This fledgling mockingbird was flitting about the treetops in the Virginia Garden--constantly begging for food from its parents, of course.  The adult birds tend to look a bit harried!
Another lovely springtime sight is the fringe tree outside the Wason Education Center.  The blooms form elegant--and fragrant!--white drapes of flowers:
The springtime blossoms attract insects such as this bee on a false blue indigo flower--see the "pollen baskets" on her rear legs?:
I spotted my first black swallowtail butterfly of the season getting nectar from a homestead verbena flower:
I must admit I'm pretty crazy about gardening for butterflies.  I've planted a lot of native plants at my house over the last eight years.  Our Museum hosts two big plant sales every year--one in the spring and one in the fall--so I buy something new for my garden at each sale.  The VLM spring plant sale is April 21-22 & April 28-29, with a Member's Sale on April 19th.  Our dedicated Horticulture crew--staff and volunteers--have been working very hard to prepare for this sale.  Here's a picture of Darl and Ashley--I'm constantly bugging them with questions ("What's this plant?...") and they always seem to know the answers!:
So if you're hoping to attract wildlife to your garden or just want a brilliant burst of color in your landscaping, try planting a few native plants.  Here's a few of the plants being offered for sale this spring....the first is the striking pink shooting star:
I love the rich dark tone of this copper iris:
....and the delicate bluish purple of the bird's foot violet:
....and the serene pale beauty of this Atamasco lily:
But whether you enjoy gardening or not, I wish you a happy spring--filled with the joy of discovering the small beauties of nature all around you.  More off the beaten path in two weeks....

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