27 November 2007

Blue Birds and wild seeds and bad cats, oh my!

As November quivers and shakes itself towards its end, it's throwing everything it can think of at us, weatherwise. Along with the usual rain, wind, cold, wet, dark dreary November-ness, we had a brief lull with temperatures in the high 50s (F) and into the low 60s. Now it's plummetting again! Have I mentioned how much I dislike November?? The weather tantrums are most of the reason (mostly the lack of sun, to be honest.)

There have been a few decent days in this month. A week ago, there wasn't too much wind and there was some sunlight, so I amused myself by sitting outside watching the bluejays stuff themselves at one of the feeders.

That same day, our photography class traipsed off to the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University, one of my favourite places. In one of the greenhouses used by the botany professors/researchers, there's a collection of blueberry species (Vaccinium) from all over the world, including Madagascar and Africa. I'm not sure which one this is, because it had Lost Label (Lola Syndrome), but isn't it lovely?

Here it is with the blossoms open. Can you imagine the size of the fruit from flowers that are nearly three inches long?

Out in the gardens, we captured milkweed pods releasing their seed on the wind. Of all the seedheads there are, this is one of my favourites, but this is also a favourite plant, as I've indicated in the past. Without milkweed, we have no monarch butterflies, plain and simple.

Does this grow where you live? It's Myrica pensylvanica, the northern bayberry. It grows in great and wonderful profusion around here, and some like to use it in wreaths and flower arrangements. Like hollies, it's usually dioecious, (male and female plants) but a quirk of Myrica is that it sometimes can be monoecious. The waxy, blue berries are used in making bayberry candles, but I like this plant because it's a great shrub for birds, who nest and shelter in it and eat the berries too.

Yolanda at Bliss tagged our furball family to do a meme, which they said they'd get to later this week. Meanwhile, Mungus thought he'd show you one of his favourite activities: attacking wool socks on his 'mother's' foot. Look at that innocent expression: "Who me? This foot came up and attacked me. I was just protecting myself, honest!"


  1. Gosh no we don't have bayberry down here. I love the smell of it. I have to have that scent during christmas especially. I don't think I have ever seen it live and growing.

    Poor Mungus, poor little fur child so mistreated by the woolen socked Momma.

    You have beautiful pictures indeed.

  2. I like that flower in the greenhouse. Three inches long, that would be interesting to see the fruit.

    I've seen bayberry in the garden center before, so I assume I could grow it around here. Though my recollection is it is a pretty sizable shrub...

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Mungus has a great expression on his face. I'm impressed with those blossoms. What a gorgeous colour!

    How is the photography class going? How did the appointment with the osteopath go?

  4. jodi - i love milkweed! my garden buddy gave me seeds from her plant and I plan to try them next spring. Maybe i'll finally get a nice butterfly picture to post.

  5. Love that bayberry! I've not seen it here, but maybe I've just not noticed it.

    We've got a sock kitty here, too. Well, I'm not sure if it's socks or if it's feet that Simon is so enamored with. It's probably socked feet. LOL.

    Yolanda Elizabet tagged my kitties, too, and they will have to wait on me to do the typing for them later on in the week. How fun that will be! :-)

  6. Ha! I love your cats, and that Mungus is a minx! So cute! Jodi, I love LOVE your use of blue in your gardens. It's glorious. It's such a good idea I'm going to borrow it. Not blue, but a signature color all my own. And I'm totally with you about the milkweed. Milkweed = Monarchs. 'Nuff said.

  7. We have Southern Wax myrtle here but blueberries don't like alkaline soil. The tropical milkweed has a few flowers left - if any pods form I'll plant seeds for Monarchs, too.

    But Blue Jays?? We have that rascal in common, Jodi!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. Jodi: Bayberry grows wild here also and I love the smell. A nice, clean, herby smell! Your blue does look lovely. Did you match it to the blue poppy? My 'performers' post will be up this evening. Do you have an email address somewhere? I couldn't find it!

  9. I love the photo of the milkweed seedpod. It's so beautiful! But the cutest, by far, is Mungus! Oh my, what a face!!!! Such a cutie! I know he doesn't feel like much of a cutie with his claws in your foot, but he's really a doll to look at. I'll just stand over here while I'm wearing wool socks, k? Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  10. Those bluejays are very pretty and look extremely good in your garden where many other things are a lovely blue too. ;-)

    Gorgeous blossoms! And how very big!

    LOL Mungus is in topform I see. My furbabies do this too so I wear extra thick socks and still my skin looks I crawled through a roll of barbed wire. Oh well.

    Can't wait to see what your kittycats have in store for us!

  11. Hi all and welcome as I play catchup again!
    Lisa, I'm wondering if you're thinking of another bayberry? This one has some fragrance but I think there's another couple of plants that go by the same name? Anyone help me out here?
    Carol, there were some other Vaccinium species in the greenhouse, one in fruit, a couple coming into flower, that were equally interesting. I'll have to get back and get some.
    The northern bayberry doesn't get real huge here; a few feet tall and wide, but easily managed by pruning.
    Kate, the photography class is done, and it was awesome! I learned so much--including some fun stuff to do with photos and photoshop! I've been to two osteopath appointments so far...we're a work in progress.
    Gina, milkweeds are wonderful plants, and butterflies of all sorts adore them--but monarchs NEED to eat them so good for you for planting some.
    Kylee, sock kitties are entertaining, aren't they? Most of ours can be that way given the chance--our Simon too. But he prefers newspapers!
    Debi, it'll be fun to see what you use as a signature colour in your garden! Blue sooths me, although too much of it indoors and I decide I'm cold (in the winter). But it's still one of my favourites.
    Annie, I can see you'd have definite problems growing blueberries in alkaline soil. Or rhodos or heaths and heathers...the Southern Wax Myrtle sounds interesting. And I just can't help it...I love blue jays, saucy as they are. I guess ther'es enough here for everyone to share.
    Layanee, your performers are marvelous! I left my email address for you (I have to figure out a way to put it on the blog without attracting spambots.) And the blue things...I sort of matched them to the poppies, but mostly just to the fact that they make a nice contrast and are a happy happy colour, but cool too.
    Cindy, yes the Mungus is a doll--he's one of the smartest furbucket friends I've ever met, and a real charmer--he just loves people, but he simply adores my longsuffering spouse. It's really sweet to watch them.
    Yolanda, I see we have a collection of bloggers with scratched feet and happy cats. And that's a good thing, mostly (scratches just give my skin extra character, right)
    The kittycats are very hard at work on their post, but they've been arguing about what photos to put up. So they're not done yet! By the weekend, though.


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