These photos were taken in the last 24 hours around The Havens as we patrolled the grapes for grape flea beetles, who love to suck the juice out of the tender buds of the grapevines as they begin their spring sprouting business. It doesn’t do them any good to be nibbled on at such a young stage, but here is one sprout that had no depredations.
The strawberries are blooming, so Jim spent the day working on building the bird cover for the strawberry bed. It isn’t quite done, but it will be before there are actually berries. Last year we tried covering them with the grape vine netting, but the rabbits thought they should be able to have a nursery in that bed for their younguns, and probably they also thought they should be able to eat some of the berries, so they just gnawed their little rabbit way right through our expensive bird net, which then made it permeable to birds and therefore useless. This version of the cover will be constructed of chicken wire, so I don’t think we’ll be hosting any rabbits this year. Or birds.
We took a little time away from that job to hang the dragon head driftwood piece that I have been calling the Day Lily Dragon on the wall of the sauna. I liked it down on the ground, but the strong winds we have been having keep blowing it over and it was not doing it any good at all to keep crashing over on its side. So it has become a wall piece, and I think it looks pretty good up there. I am looking forward to the summer sunset and sunrise photo ops when it will have interesting shadows.
The apples are blooming. So are the bleeding hearts and the violets.
But by far my favorite news item involves the plantings out behind the pond. When I originally made that garden 15 years ago, my vision was for an oasis of nature for the birds. That is why I have a pump feeding a little waterfall into the pond, in order to give the birds a water source year round. I missed the mark when I planted the forsythia, which really isn’t a native plant. But it does well back there and the birds don’t seem to care that it is not a native, they use it as their tea room, pub, and waiting area for the bath.
So, anyway, at the time I established this garden, I purposely planted both American bittersweet vine (Celastrus scandens L.) and Woolly pipe vine (Aristolochia tomentosa Sims) which is also known as Dutchman’s pipe vine. The main reason I planted the pipe vine was because it is the sole food source for the pipe-vine swallowtail butterfly, and I dearly wished for that sort of butterfly to become a resident here. Right after I planted it, the pipe vine became lost in the jungle. A few years later, I noticed it gamely trying to climb the fence, and was astonished that it was still there. But this is the first year since I planted it that it is going to bloom.
You can see why they called it Dutchman’s pipe vine. So cute.
Now, you’ll excuse me but I have to go back out to the vineyard and go through it again. The more adult flea beetles I kill, the less there will be next year. I’m sorry to say that as far as I am concerned, this is one species that can go extinct and I wouldn’t mourn it.