Category Archives: wildlife

Rabbits, voles, and moths…

I have seen several snakes this season and this must explain why my lilies are doing so well! This area has a problem with voles.

Voles are a cousin of moles but lead a very different life!

Voles eat plants while moles eat bugs and worms. Voles live above ground making tunnels through mulch and grass to reach the stems and roots which they eat. Moles dig tunnels underground but are looking for worms. They don’t hurt your plants but their tunnels are not attractive.

When I first moved to this house I brought many cast iron plants from another house and planted many hostas but the voles ate them one by one over that first Summer. They only eat the root so that you would think the plant was only leaning strangely but when you tried to straighten it up the plant would come out of the ground with no roots! Ugg.

They love lily bulbs, too! I love tiger lilies. I must have planted tons of bulbs when I moved here. They were all eaten with in a season or two.

Rabbits are another animal that are plentiful in my garden, too! They don’t do much damage with the exception of chewing some plants here and there. They frighten me sometimes because they will sit motionless while I am pulling weeds then take off suddenly when I get to close. They are cute, thought!

The one below was in the garden along the patio today.


One time I was pulling English Ivy seedlings under a large Formosa Indica azalea when I saw, out the corner of my eye, a few hanging dead leaves. As I reached over to pick them I turned my head to get a better look at the leaves.

I froze. I realized the leaves were actually three small brown bats! They didn’t seemed upset. They just continued licking themselves. They reminded me of mice, but with wings. I slowly backed out from under that azalea!

In my neighbor I have also seen foxes, Red-tailed hawks, deer, nutria, and I am pretty sure I saw a few coyotes walking down the street one night!

There must be plenty of wildlife in the wildflowers along the street for the hawks and such.


Many spiders, as well! This is an egg sack on the post light by the driveway.


These lights are on all night so I assume the spiders like to build webs here because of the endless supply of moths.



Filed under wildlife

Pollen invasion and the new growth of Spring arrives.

The temperatures have become steadily warmer and have really fueled growth in the garden. One negative side effect, as least for me, is the onslaught of pollen from the wind pollinated pines and oaks. I have had to deal with the allergies every Spring my entire life!

When it rains during this time I can breathe for a few hours as the rain cleans the air temporarily! You can see how it coats everything.


Side walks are covered for a week or two and the rain washes it into the low areas.


I would like to just stay inside and pray for rain during all of this but their is work to be done!

One of the first chores in the Spring is to search the lawn for seedlings from garden plants. The lawn grass usually doesn’t wake up from its Winter nap until later in Spring so you can easily spot seedlings such as Spiderwort.


It’s also a good time to move shrubs that have out grown their spaces.

This Gardenia ‘First Love’ is now shaded by a nearby Asian Magnolia that has grown rapidly the past few The plant came apart into three plants! So now I have three!


The path from the patio to the bird feeders is experience a rapid growth of wild strawberry and evening primrose! It should be amazing in May when the pink evening primrose is blooming!


And the Kerria are in bloom.


On the Coast, where I grew up, I remember older gardeners would tie up the foliage of Spring blooming bulbs to get it out of the way. This still allows it to nourish the bulbs for next year. I thought I would try it!


A good example of how plants spend their first year putting down good roots before top growth is this perennial sunflower. Last season it grew about knee high and produced only a few blooms. This Spring there are about five shoots coming up so far. It should reach five or six feet by Fall and be loaded with blooms!




Filed under Design, Gardens, General Gardening, outdoors, Plants, Seasonal Maintenance, Weather, wildlife

Birds…and other wildlife.

In my neighborhood in Raleigh there are many pockets of woods and wild areas. I have seen everything from hawks, coyotes, and some kind of large rodent. It was either a beaver or a nutria. I am not sure but it was big!

I have several feeders around the patio to feed the many birds in the neighborhood. There is even a small swamp area about a mile away on the Walnut Creek flood plain. The creek runs just South of my neighborhood. It begins at Lake Johnson, runs through NCSU’s Cenntinial Campus where it is dammed to create Lake Raleigh, than it continues to run East just inside the beltline along I40 until it runs through Walnut Creek Park and then it empties into the Neuse River after it goes under Barwell Road. Part of the Raleigh Greenway takes the same course.

The Raleigh Walnut Creek Wetlands Center is located on State Street. 59 acres of wetlands and an education center.

I have seen many species of birds from geese flying over the neighborhood to hawks hunting the very plentiful squirrels. Even a few of the very large and rare Pileated Wood Peckers.

The squirrels are the most problematic. They will chew anything they can! They have chewed holes in nesting boxes. Holes in lids to the garbage cans. Destroyed any plastic feeder but I have found these wire feeders that have survived their assault. I keep then filled sunflower seeds.


I also have a few of the sock feeders for thistle seeds.


A Nuthatch enjoys sunflower seeds.


Another Nuthatch peaking from behind the feeder.


There is the seed catch area below the feeders. Mourning Doves and other ground-feeding birds enjoy eating here.


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Filed under wildlife