more interesting

Trees, shrubs, and ground cover are more interesting than I give them credit for. These white pine needles resemble a July 4th fireworks show.

This shrub’s colors move from evergreen to a frosty blue grey.

And then this ground cover is just so fun. The stems look like spring action toys–if you pushed on them, they would spring right back.

monarchs and milkweed

Since moving back to #Illinois, I can’t help but notice all the attention paid to pollinators–the critters like bees and butterflies that move pollen around on a plant, causing it to produce seeds.

Milkweed is the ultimate snack for monarch butterflies.

They migrate thousands of miles for this stuff.

And they need milkweed to lay their eggs because Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves.

Local milkweed bloomed and has since faded, but these butterflies persist. I spied a few this past week and hope I might see some more before they migrate south for the winter.

animal kingdom

Some days–heck, weeks–are just so odd I have to wonder if there is a persistent full moon. I was painting in the kitchen this afternoon when this little guy appeared in my living room. My front door had blown open a bit, and he trotted right in. He looked at me quizzically, as if to ask, What are you doing here? I would inquire the same of him after I shooed him out.

My front door blew open again a little later, and both my dogs scooted right out. Nickel came back with a large turkey leg in her mouth. I had to jump in my car to locate Penny.

And then earlier this week, this extremely large hog made his or her way up to my backyard chainlink fence to say hello or to wink. Who could say, really. My neighbor has two of these plus ducks and armadillos. Living in #Belhaven is like my own animal kingdom.

the ultimate cinderella of trees (it’s the crepe myrtle)

When I first relocated to Jackson, which was October 2016, I had to ask myself, What’s up with all of the stumpy trees? They were missing their bark; the trees kind of looked naked. And their limbs were shorn/pruned from the top.

Crepe myrtle Jackson Mississippi Deep South trees

It’s the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia), as it turns out. And this little tree tells the most amazing Cinderella story if you live in the Deep South. In September, as I’ve noticed, the bark starts to peel off, revealing a smooth, green surface. In the following months, property owners prune the limbs as shown above.

And then in early/mid June, wait for it… this.

Crepe myrtle Jackson Mississippi Deep South trees

The flowers are incredibly showy and so brightly colored. If you visit Mississippi (and you absolutely should), I recommend timing your visit for June so you can take in all of this unreal beauty. The weather is hot, yes, but the trees offer a wow transformative experience.

bon hiver (good winter)

Although winter is my least favorite season (too cold, not enough daylight), I quite enjoy winter in the Deep South. It’s chilly for two weeks and then abracadabra, it feels like spring. What a lovely gift.

This winter has been a good one, I think. My orthopedic surgeon cleared me to walk without a brace, and I’ve greatly enjoyed the freedom. And then THIS.

Camellia Jackson Mississippi Belhaven

I have two camellia trees in my backyard, and one of them bloomed much earlier than I expected. January 1, 2019, in fact. Good winter.