Of Moonflowers and baby squirrels

August 28, 2012

The orange geraniums burn in the sunlight, dazzling the eye and etching their image on the brain. They are heavy with blossoms, loving the heat of this tropics-like summer. Even today, the last week in August, the thermometer soared to 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit), not bad for mid July, but almost threatening as we slide toward Autumn.

Ian says his moonflower blossomed last night and he brought in a photo to show me. Mine is still sulking. The luminous white blossoms are six inches wide and fragrant, he says. I am so jealous. I bought the original plant for Barb who saved the seeds for me and it seems only just that I should get some benefit. I check and there are still no signs of blooms, but the tree tomato has a heavy crop of very large tomatoes, round and deep red, rather than the black oval fruit that Ian’s research predicted. Every day, there are more ripe tomatoes and I don’t know what I will do with all of them.

Ian is making use of his – he is making tomato soup for the staff tomorrow. I would be happy to contribute.

The container garden is a jungle, but the perennials are panting for water and I have been too distracted this year to keep them properly watered. So the poor things have burned edges and look ill as they lose their gloss and sheen from being parched. I am ashamed of my neglect, but on the bright side, Glenn has completed his chemo this week and now it is all up hill (or downhill? I never know which is best) for us as he recovers. Next year, darling plants, I promise to do better, but even you have to take second place to dearest Glenn.


Baby Red
August 30, 2012

Ian came over to mow the lawn for Glenn. It was an unbelievable 35 degrees C and we were resting in the shade when I saw a movement behind Ian’s chair. I thought it was a chipmunk, but no, it was a baby red squirrel.

Soon he was scampering around our feet, growing bolder and bolder, while Mama chattered with great concern from high up in the fir tree behind the chair where I sit and write. Time after time, she nudged him back up the tree and time after time, he escaped her careful concern and returned to the patio where he could get a good look at these strange, two-legged beings.

I was mesmerized but finally got enough sense to run and get my cameras. Mama had finally convinced Baby that she has had enough and had him cornered high up in the tree, but Ian could still see them.  I tossed him the still camera and zoomed in with my video cam to get a good view. Baby wanted a drink, but Mama said No, settle down and go to sleep…


Oh, my.  My heart is pounding. I just heard a splash and there was Little Red in the pool swimming for all she is worth, desperately trying to get out. We used to have a chipmunk ladder in the pool to allow little beings to escape, but it was gone. I called out, “Hang on. Hang on, I’m coming,” as if the little animal had any clue as to what I meant. I ran frantically toward the pool looking for the net and found it after what seemed forever. Little Red was already tiring, but I was able to get the net under her, only to have her jump out – and right back into the water. This happened three times, then I was finally able to move fast enough so that this time when she jumped, it was onto firm ground.

The poor little thing was drenched, her tail hanging heavy with water behind her as she bounded up the cedar tree and along the fence to wherever it is that she has her nest. I’m so glad I was here to help her.


Have just filled the bird feeders, Nyger for the finches and a good seed mix for the rest and the special black sunflower seeds that they all adore. I boiled a quarter cup of sugar in a cup of water for two minutes and am waiting for that to cool so that I can replenish the empty nectar feeder for the hummingbirds.

In spite of all our fun together, Little Red and her baby are still banned from the black oilseed feeder – maybe I’ll buy them some peanuts instead.

Pretty striped morning glory

The garden is filled with butterflies today, orange fritillaries and black admirals. I had only one parsley worm this year even though I planted extra parsley – everything has its season and I guess this not a good one for swallowtails – they may need less heat.

It still feels so much like midsummer, but the other night, the night of the blue moon, we saw a flock of ducks heading for the river, flying low and loud.

No sign of the moonflower blossom yet, but a surprise. Over in one of the cone shaped pots, a pretty striped morning glory has unexpectedly appeared, a gift perhaps from a bird, or maybe even the squirrel who often leaves seeds in my planters.

Oh! There’s Little Red. She seems quite recovered from her ordeal! There are gleanings to be had from my feeder filling. And who can resist gleanings?


8 thoughts on “Of Moonflowers and baby squirrels

  1. Haugens says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share the stories of your garden and your life. As usual it was entertaining and quite delightful – I could just picture that little red squirrel not listening to its mother and then your saving it from drowning.

    Oh, how I envy you being able to enjoy the end of the summer season with all its beautiful bounty. We were hailed out again this year on Sunday, August 12th (last year August 06th.) After the storm, which yielded lighting the likes of which I have never experienced in my life, I went out with a flashlight ( it was late at night) to pick up golfball-sized hail and a handful of the extra-large marble-sized hail to put in the freezer to show to the grandchildren. The saved hailstones elicited great “ooh’s and ahh’s” when I showed them off to the grandchildren and other visitors.

    There is one positive to being hailed out. Instead of concentrating on the late perennials and the last of the blooming annuals, we have been forced to make this a time of renovation for our garden, transplanting all the plants that should have been transplanted a long time ago, composting those plants that haven’t been performing well anyway, and coming up with new ideas for new plants bought at “close out” prices. Guess it is true that there is a silver lining to those grey clouds. Marilyn Haugen

  2. I truly loved the video of the baby and mama red squirrels, and to hear the story of the pool rescue. That baby seems strong-willed enought to survive to grow up and I’m glad. Thanks again for the lovely plant prose. Your striped morning glory is truly glorious.

  3. pommepal says:

    Little Red was so lucky you were around to rescue him/her. What a beautiful blue the morning glory is.

  4. Never seen a striped morning glory before. The markings remind me of a perennial geranium we have called “Splish Splash”.

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