MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Creatures In My Garden -- Part 1

When we first moved into this house, about seven years ago, there were hardly any interesting birds or other creatures. A groundhog used to come to eat all the pears that have fallen down from the tree. Squirrels are omnipresent in the USA and thus our house was no exception. I could hear the twittering and the singing of the birds. Honey bees would buzz around only when the rhododendrons were in bloom; and that usually happened in very early spring. There were lack of creatures because like most typical houses here, this house had some evergreen trees; some spring-bulbs and then green carpets of lawns everywhere. But, painstakingly over the years I have transformed and still transforming that garden into a wild-life oasis.

I have planted lots of native flowering plants; some non-native flowering plants; spring and summer bulbs; perennial herbs; fruits and nuts trees. I also plant annual herbs and vegetables. Each tiny (less than a foot in height and about 2 inch across) perennial plants have grown to their full capacity; they are tall and wide and fat and healthy. Each of them has taken up every inch of the garden space that was provided to them. They are crawling and climbing and some of them standing tall and erect. Such thick bushes and ground-covers have created pockets and places where various species -- birds, mammals, reptiles and insects -- take shelter or cover for safety.

Our garden has indeed become a magnet for wild-lives. It has become a bit too much, I guess, as neighbors say that now and then they see black bears passing through our yards. That's why I have stopped providing foods to birds as the food also attracts bears. Bears, deers, groundhogs, chipmunks, raccoons, birds, squirrels, rats, mouse, snakes, frogs, salamanders, stray cats and all sorts of insects are constantly visiting the garden. And, that also has created quite a danger. Luckily, I have not come face to face with any bear but I'm getting stung by bees or wasps that I can't recognize.

I walk around the garden to capture their pictures but they are too fast (or I guess camera-shy) as they fly/run/dart away as soon as I approach them. So, here are some that I could get. I feel happy to be able to provide sanctuary in this earth where habitat-destruction and ever dwindling of nature and forests have become a common place. I am not a charismatic person or a born orator that I can arouse the passion in others and lead them against climate, environment and nature destruction. So, I'm trying to do my small part in my small ways. And, it also helps me feeling a bit smug and/or snobbish as my neighbors hung all those hummingbird-feeders; none visit the feeders and neighbors ask if I've seen any humming-bird. Of course, I have -- they come, sip nectar, take rest on branches of my trees and then fly away :-).

Hummingbird: Ah! there I see some interesting flowers

Hummingbird: Let me have a drink 

Insect: Do you know me? 
Photographer: Sorry, I don't know you. Who are you? 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail: I see some nice cone-flowers. Let me land

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail: Yipeee...I've landed

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail: Ah! sweet nectar....sweeeettt....

Photographer: Are you a yellow-jacket wasp? It seems like you are some kind of wasps but my knowledge is so poor about you guys. 

Photographer: C'mon, don't roll your eyes. Cucumbers are creatures also; okay, a different type. But do you know that plants are the number of abused living things in this world? 

Chipmunk: Dear visitors, do you see the big green evergreen bush on the right? I live underneath it. It's such a lovely home

Mother Deer: eye-sights are not that good but I have very good smell and hearing. And, I think I can smell something, some strange two-legged creature with a big black thing in her hand

Baby-Deer: Duh! who just want to always tag behind mom and follow her? Let me venture out a bit further and check out all those other things. 

Photographer: Are you a honey-bee or a hover-bee? Whoever you are, you are very welcome here. 

Photographer: Okay, I know people don't like you. You are not a native species and you usually destroy the Brassica family vegetables. But, I don't mind, dear cabbage-butterfly and you have not destroyed any of my cabbages yet though there are so many of you all the time fluttering around in the air. It's beautiful to see your aerial dance. 

Photographer: Hmm...Is this a carpenter-bee? Or a fly? Apparently many flies mimic the bees and wasps and only an expert can distinguish with naked eyes.

Can You See ME :)? 

I am big about 2 inches or more in length and scary

I'm not exactly sure who I'm. I think I am the Great Golden Digger Wasp.

But don't be scared of me. See, even this gentle butterfly is not afraid of me. Howdy Amigo!!

Hey! how does my butt look? 

I think I'm some kind of bees

Photographer: Sorry about a hazy picture. This is either a Monarch or a Viceroy. They look similar from side. They can only be differentiated if they spread out their wings. 

I'm a teeny-weeny cutie-pie. 

Dude! how may photos of mine will you take? Will you ever stop?? I mean seriously...

Photographer: Are you a yellow-jacket wasp that's drinking water from our pond? You then seem to be quite docile as I'm constantly breathing down your neck to take pictures and you don't seem to mind. 

Photographer: Bear in our backyard. Sorry for the hazy and not so distinct pictures as I didn't dare approach it and was trying to take the pictures quite fast :-). In the first picture, it's standing tall and eating sunflower seeds from the bird-feeders.

Observing and watching these wild lives is my meditation. I surely do forget everything as I see the birds and wasps drinking from our artificially-made small pond; butterflies fluttering; bees and wasps  hovering over flowers; bumble-bees buzzing from one flower to the next, and chipmunks darting from safe place to another. The peace and calm it brings is thousand times more powerful and effective than doing yoga or sitting in a room and practicing meditation. And how much nectar does a tiny flower has? I see bees, wasps, hummingbirds all visiting the same flower again and again!?

Now, I need your help. Anyone know who might be living here (the picture below)? It's a pot with some papers stashed into it. I see the creature every summer -- they always live in the nook and crannies like this -- stashed papers, leaf debris. Their color is exactly that of yellow-jacket -- bright yellow with those stripes. But their bodies are not of wasps. Rather much like bees -- thick and fat and hairy. It also hovers on top of flowers. But I don't think I've ever seen them sipping nectar. Rather they seem to bump into (or attack) other bees. They are very protective of their homes and will sting you and attack you. And their stings are extremely painful; itchy and the area will get swollen. They are always so fast, darting in and out that it's impossible to capture them in pictures. So, if anyone has any idea, do let me know.

I'm joining in the memes hosted by  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's and Today's Flowers meme.


  1. You have a beautiful garden, and I absolutely love your photos! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  2. Lovely photo of the wildlife in your garden, and the hummingbird is especially lovely to see since we don’t have them over here. I didn’t know you got bear in your garden! I haven’t seen that since I lived in Norway, not many bears in London :-)

  3. oh how I loved the tour of your garden and your dialog with the many creatures who live there -- I can imagine that observing them is like a meditation for you, because just reading the post felt like that for me; I needed this little bit of peace and serenity just now, so thank you and I am glad I came to your blog at this precise moment!

    I don't know anything that would help you in your IDs ... so today, here, I am just a taker, not a giver. Your beautiful work (in the garden and in your picture-taking) is an inspiration and a real gift.

  4. Such a great variety of summer photos! That big wasp is impressive! You might try this site to find what you're looking for:

  5. I feel that it's important to provide for critters too but I am so glad we don't have bears or deer for that matter visiting my garden. I think you've made the right decision not to provide food so as to discourage some visitors. It's exactly what I would do.
    Lovely shots of some of your visitors - not often easy to get them in such sharp focus.

  6. Wonderful post! I love your words + images! You are an inspiration!

  7. Hi, KL! Love all your creatures and even that big yellow-orange wasp, although I scare of wasp.
    You're right my garden is on 60th northern parallel, near Saint Petersburg,

  8. Yes, the photo you linked came up!Do you know that you can see it, if you go back to your own blog, and go on the SEASONS post again - you can see all the photos that have been linked! Will come back later to read your post, but many thanks for the beautiful shot you linked:)

  9. Black bears? Yikes! You have such a beautiful garden though and wonderful visitors. The photos of the Hummingbird are simply wonderful!

  10. A wonderful post!
    Oh! Lucky you to have hummingbirds :)
    Black bears!?

  11. I can't find the insect that you're asking about. Your description though reminds me of something I've seen in our yard. The Husband told me it was a bumble bee when I described it to him. I looked up its photo, but I still wonder if it may be something else. I love your garden. I hope I can do something natural like yours in our front yard. We've decided to take out the lawn. Hurrah!

  12. Wow, you're back in full force! And envious of the hummingbird you were able to capture! As well as all the bee-/wasp like characters! I saw one of the neighbors in the street have cone flowers, so I hope I can find a place to purchase them - one of my favorites (never saw them in Southern Calif.) Many thanks for sharing all of these wonderful critters (especially mr. Bear and plants/flowers with SEASONS!
    Hope to see you back next week (and if you don't post weekly, another thumbnail of this one will do!)

  13. Wonderful, great series of photos!

  14. I so enjoyed this entire post. You're brave to be out there taking photos of bear! I would definitely have to be indoors looking out the window in order to do that. I was chased by a mama bear once when I got out of the car to get a picture of two of her cubs in a tree. Never again. Too close for comfort.

    Loved all the photos. And really liked your commentary. The fawn just has to be my favorite today tho.

    And no, I never stopped blogging. Just slowed down to two posts a week after my heart attack. Thanks for visiting with me.

  15. What a beautiful, fun and interesting post!
    Oh, I so wish we had hummingbirds... We do have bears but I've never been lucky enough to see any.
    Thank you for sharing!

  16. Hello, wonderful variety and beautiful photos. The hummer and butterflies are some of my favorites. I also love the cute furbaby! Sorry, I am late visiting and commenting. I am still catching up after being away. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  17. is an example of a can search bird mister...

  18. KL, your photos are wonderful and such an array you have! I would stay away from some of those bees though...hornets, bees, whatever they are...Google Japanese Hornet...they are NOT good...we had them when we lived in VA although I have nto seen them here in CT...very nice to meet you...:)JP

  19. Great photographs - especially the hummingbirds! And yes, those big wasps are scary, but I think they are not really interested in people.

  20. Stunning photograph of the natural life in your greenery enclosure, and the hummingbird is particularly exquisite to see..You have a wonderful patio nursery, and I completely cherish your photographs! Much thanks to you such a great amount for sharing. :)

  21. Superb photos, lots of wonderful captures.

  22. What a wonderful wildlife garden KL.. lots of happy wildlife... I can't tell by the photo but there are many flies that mimic bees and wasps with coloring, but flies have big eyes and bees and wasps don't. That looks like a monarch to me and how lucky you are as I have not seen one this year....Michelle

  23. Great critter shots. I think I have a possum living under my deck. LOL