I know winter isn’t far behind when the Northern Cardinals start showing up at my feeders in groups again.
During the breeding season the birds are territorial, but in the winter they often gather together in small flocks.
Over the last week or so I’ve seen at least 8 different cardinals at my feeders. Their bright-red plumage is always a thrill to see–especially when many of the other birds put on their drab browns and greys for the winter.
Every year for decades I’ve grown purple farinacea salvias like ‘Victoria Blue’. They aren’t flashy and they don’t attract hummingbirds like the red salvias do, but boy do these plants bloom for a long time.
‘Victoria Blue’ and ‘Evolution’ both grow about 18 inches tall with purple spikes that attract bees. I use these plants to break up all the warm colors among the zinnias and marigolds I grow.
You can just plant and forget these salvias. Insect and rodent pests ignore them and they never have any disease issues.
I start my plants indoors from seed about 10 weeks before my last average frost date in May, but you can also find them available for sale at garden centers in the spring.
I’ve been trying to spot a moose in the wild for three decades. Have you ever noticed that all the moose photos show them standing in a pond near the edge of a woods? That’s where I was always looking for them. But that’s not the only place they hang out.
Last month my husband and I visited Rocky Mountain National Park. On our second day exploring the park my lifetime moose tally jumped from zero to five in less than 6 hours. In the morning we were blessed to come upon a whole family of moose grazing together. A park ranger told us it was rare to see that many moose together that time of year and in that location. It was so exciting!
To see the afternoon moose we got an assist. We were traveling up Old Fall River Road which is a gravel, one-way road up a mountain with switchbacks and not a lot of places to pull over. We came to a clearing and noticed a small group of people standing at the edge of the road pointing and taking photos.
This is what we saw. Someone who has spotted moose before must’ve noticed this one because I would have never thought to look in the brush on the side of a mountain:
Thanks to the wonder of binoculars and zoom lenses , we get a close-up of what all the fuss was about. That little brown blob was actually a giant bull moose:
We watched him mow down the shrubbery for awhile, and then he disappeared into the taller brush until all we could see was his antlers bouncing back and forth.
Now that I have a better idea of where to look for moose in the wild, I’m hoping five is only the beginning of my lifetime tally!
‘Zahara Raspberry’ zinnias are quickly becoming my favorites in this zinnia series I love so much.
The flowers are a very dark, rich red when they first open:
But as the flowers age they change into their namesake raspberry-pink:
These easy-care flowers grow 12 to 18 inches tall in sun or partial-shade. This year I didn’t even have time to deadhead my plants, but it didn’t matter. They kept blooming anyway.
Zahara zinnias will give you your money’s worth. They’ll bloom for almost 6 months or until a killing frost finally closes the curtain on their season.
I like to plant this cultivar with lavenders and purples like ageratums or salvias.
I grow a handful of white daylilies and most of them are small cultivars, but there is one that towers above the rest.
‘White Perfection’ grows 30 inches tall with 5.5-inch diamond-dusted white flowers that have a yellow-green throat.
This daylily blooms in the middle of the daylily season, and those white flowers really stand out—you will notice them from across the yard.
‘White Perfection’ is pleasantly fragrant. The plants are hardy in Zones 4-9.