Thursday, June 26, 2014

Zoo day 2014

I always look forward to the annual Zoo day with my sister and nephew, and don't know why I don't try to go more than once a year (I paid for a guest pass, after all). Rain and heat put us off for about two weeks, but Tuesday morning was a perfect day for our visit to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. The Australian Adventure is undergoing some major renovations, and I can't wait to see the end results! 

The lion drinking fountain. A right of passage for any young zoo goer. Right after this we watched a lynx play around with a chipmunk. By "play around" I mean threaten to eat him/smash him with his massive paw until, while batting him around, the chipmunk escaped. He likely ran a tree and had a heart attack.

Upon entering the African Journey you are met with a large clump of petasites. I've looked and looked for these moisture and shade loving plants, but have never found them locally.

Across the way was a variegated form I loved even more!

This is Bill. He's surveying all of his kingdom.

She thinks Bill is kind of full of it.

Somehow I never noticed the tiles on the entrance to the Indonesian Rain Forest

Are chenille plants really native to Indonesia? It turns out it is!

The Australian Adventure is getting a face lift. The old fruit bat and echidna exhibit is becoming stingray bay.

The Great Barrier Reef is only changing on the outside.

Gone is the old entrance and educational center, with new restrooms in their place.

Our annual Jellyfish photo op.
The rest of the Australian Adventure is changing, as well, with a reptile house, emus, crocodile creek (which I think is more of a splash-pad than an up-close look at crocodiles) as well as a revamped aviary. I can't believe the Australian Adventure has been around since 1987!
Lots of new plantings have kept the ducks and geese rather contained to "feeding" areas around Mother Goose's Pond.

Caution. Peacock X-ing.

At this point it was getting pretty hot, and the Giant Tortoises had the right idea.

As did these guys!

These Call Ducks are new this year, or at least new to me, and I think they are absolutely adorable.

Yet another reason I need to have a farm. I would have chickens and Call Ducks.

Oh! And maybe a peacock. I mean, why not?

And so another successful trip to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has come and gone. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I make it back again this year.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Lilies Are Coming!

"We need more lilies!"

That was a declaration I made about three Springs ago after seeing a photo on Martha Stewart's blog of the kitchen table at her Lily Pond house set for dinner and full of Tiger Lilies. The real, tall, elegant Tiger Lilies, and not the invasive Ditch Lilies often called Tiger Lilies in the United States.

So I began an ongoing campaign to find and plant as many lilies as I can, and this year my investment is beginning to pay off as the lilies, both old and new, have never looked better!

Almost instant gratification. These 'Mona Lisa' Oriental lilies were shoved on a shelf and marked $1.99 because their blooms were past their prime. I snatched them up because they were less expensive than buying bulbs in the Fall, and these were pretty much guaranteed to come back next year since they were such nice sized plants this year! I should have bought them all.

And besides, even faded blooms still smell sweet.

The heat will have these mauve-pink Asiatics open in no time.

Planted in the same bed are several of the Tiger Lilies I purchased as bulbs this Spring. They are looking great!

Some of the old (at least eight or ten years old) 'Stargazer' lilies have spread to include newer, young shoots (the older clump is in the background). They haven't spread much in this bed, and I'm not sure why.

Some much shorter Asiatics in the same bed.

I really am excited about all of the bulbs I just planted this year because they really are growing so well. If only I would have marked them better...

These are some sort of double Orientals that my mom ordered and planted. Unfortunately I believe the rabbits took a little snip off of the one on the left.
Here's where I need to dig through my garden records and see what is growing. It's either an Oriental or Orienpet.

A few more who will bloom for the first time this year!

Planted late and off the clearance rack, these bulbs had sprouted and twisted around each other and their package. I untangled them and they are actually growing! However, they will all have to get moved. I had a grand plan for a "Yellow Border" in the same bed as the forsythia and split corona daffodils. Well, the forsythia are growing into the wild mass that I want them to be (no formality with forsythia, please) and are overshadowing the new lilies. I'll let them go and maybe flower this year, and then move them.

These low growing Asiatics will stay, however, as they are planted closer to the daffodils and thus the front edge of the bed. The rabbits, unfortunately, think they are delicious.

This little guy in the White Garden has been eaten down to the ground so many times I'm surprised he decided to make another attempt. He just might make it this year, with the aid of our rabbit deterrent. 

The tall and lovely 'Scheherazade' Orienpet (a hybrid of Oriental and Trumpet lilies) is growing, and multiplying, stronger than ever. I planted these fragrant lilies on the outside edge of the vegetable garden to help attract pollinators. Unfortunately this Spring I have seen very few honey bees.  

And several sturdy, tall stems of highly fragrant 'Casablanca' lilies are planted at the edge of the now ferny asparagus patch. Another attempt at drawing in the pollinators.

Like I said, with all the heat this week and next I am sure a few things will begin blooming ahead of time. I can't wait to show you pictures of everyone blooming!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This Heat Is For The Birds

As I was sweating and watering and sweating today, I noticed a ruckus in the low bird bath at the edge of the shade garden. This blue jay had the right idea! I hope this heat breaks soon because the lilies are growing so well and are so close to blooming I don't want their show to be over too fast!

Man, it's hot out!

Ready to take another plunge.

He spotted me. This bird bath was full, by the way. I had just filled it!

I guess he didn't like my spying. Of to squawk in some other yard.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meatless Monday: "Fried" Zucchini

I saw this recipe in my email the other day and thought I would give it a try. I love fried zucchini (I mean really, fried zucchini and summer go hand in hand), but I absolutely hate the smell left after frying anything in the apartment. Here is the perfect solution. Panko crusted baked zucchini. It honestly tasted just like deep fried zucchini, took less then ten minutes to prep, and would be a pretty easy snack or side for a party or summer cookout.

I didn't take any prep pictures because, well, I'm out of practice having taken almost a month off from blogging. But here you go! A new post! Make them, eat them, and share them. Now to see if this same "frying" technique would work on pickles...

Seriously. All you need is this plate and a beer. Done.