Gardening · Photography

Surprises in the Backyard


It’s starting to look like Autumn. 


You can see the squash leaves turning yellow and drying up…the pool collapsing.  Okay, no, Bill’s draining it.  But still.  It’s an end-of-summer thing.

Although, so is this:


Growing season hasn’t ended for us, really. 

This was once the zucchini bed.  Now we’ve got spinach coming up.


And in the next bed over, we’ve got cilantro, lettuces and arugula coming up beside the leeks, Vietnamese coriander, and the lone melon.


And in the boat garden in the front yard – we’ve pulled the tomato plants and basil (they didn’t do well there anyway) and planted broccoli rabe.


Those aren’t the surprises, however.

Apparently Bill and Alex were playing catch yesterday while I was out, and when Alex missed a ball, he had to go climbing through the squash plants at the back of the yard to retrieve it.


As Alex reached down to get the ball, Bill heard him say “Woah!”

Here’s why:


I know you can’t tell from this picture, but the thing is HUGE compared to any of the other squash growing in our yard.  And we’ve got some big squash out there.

But this one dwarfs them.

I put my hand next to the squash so you can kind of get a better idea of the size. 


And then, for comparison purposes, I took a picture of my hand next to one of the other “big” squashes in the yard.


So that was one surprise.

Here’s the next.


These are the arborvitaes that form a natural fence between our yard and our neighbor’s yard.  If you look way up high in the picture, you can see a bunch of small white flowers.


They’re clematis.  The vine climbs up one of the arborvitae, tiny white flowers accessorizing the branches.


The thing is, we didn’t plant this.      


We have a clematis growing at the corner of the garage.  We’ve had that since we lived in our other house, so about twelve or thirteen years now. 


I love it.  It’s like a humongous bridal bouquet.

So somehow it got seeded over on the other side of the yard and grew up the arborvitae without us noticing. 

Until it bloomed this year.

I love surprises like that.

And, finally, not a surprise, really – just a picture I took when I got distracted on my way back into the house.

We’ve had a bunch of carolina wrens in our yard this year.  They seem to like hopping around on the wood piles.  Kind of like feathery chipmunks.

Anyway, I heard one as I headed toward the back steps after I’d taken all these back yard pictures, and then I saw it flit from our neighbor’s rose bush to the butterfly bush in our yard, right near one of those wood piles. 

So I stalked it.

Yes.  Quietly and carefully so as not to scare it away, I crept, barefoot, up the driveway, around the woodpile, and closer and closer to the butterfly bush.

I got one picture.


Then it flew away.

And so ended my career as a wildlife photographer.

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