Monday, April 15, 2013

Fauna and Flora - Spring

Spring is in full swing in Austin. My garden is looking totally fabulous and I'm really enjoying all the fauna coming to visit the flora.

stock tank pond looking diagonally across yard
I've cleaned up the stock tank pond, and now I must wait for the repotted dwarf papyrus and water lilies to regain vigor. The winter was so mild that my tropical lily, not usually hardy here in zone 8b, is already rebounding. The Wanvisa and Colorado hardy water lilies are quickly responding to the fertilizer and warmer weather.

Louisiana iris in the stock tank pond
I should have repotted the Louisiana iris in the fall, but failed to do so, and now I will wait until after its bloom. It has so overgrown its two gallon pot that it is totally unbalanced and required rope to anchor it after repeatedly dousing the gorgeous purple blooms.

leopard frog resting amongst the iris
The central area of the iris provides the perfect resting spot for a leopard frog or two, who have seeded the pond with huge floating egg sacks attached to the water lily leaf stems just below water level. The eggs hatch into a myriad of tiny black tadpoles which slowly disappear, probably as goldfish food.

blue heron fishing at the stock tank pond
So far this spring I've spotted all four comet goldfish at one time, but haven't seen any sign of the poor single slow fantail. I had worried that all the goldies might have fallen prey to my visiting blue heron over the winter, who came again yesterday. Luckily for the goldies, the water is very green from a spring algae bloom. I know I haven't seen them at all since I fed the water lilies (excess fertilizer causes the green).

bluebonnets, Autumn sage, Knockout rose, and yellow bulbine
Meanwhile, the blooms are amazing. The bluebonnets I planted last fall are very happy on their rocky slope, and hopefully will spread next year. They are nestled below autumn sage and a young Knockout rose, next to yellow bulbine, which is seeding like mad up to 10 feet away.

The birdfeeder is a hotbed of activity. Today I spotted a painted bunting, and two days ago my husband saw a Prothonotary warbler there. Titmice, goldfinches, house finches, chickadees and cardinals, as well as lots of sparrows, are all busily emptying the larder. The squirrels, grackles and mourning doves are totally puzzled by the new feeder that has a grid that lowers with their weight. I've also spotted golden-rumped warblers and cedar waxwings in the treetops viewed from my second story studio windows.