Not the big furry kind. Not even the big-footed kind. But around our yard, we’re seeing some giants and never-before-been-seens that just seemed to appear out of nowhere.
We’d seen evidence of the giant swallowtail visiting our yard –eggs, munched-on leaves — we even enjoyed fostering some bird-poop caterpillars for awhile. But until this weekend, we had never actually set eyes on the giant butterfly itself. When it appeared, I stalked it all over the yard with my camera.
Of course, the best pictures are of it on the invasive Lantana I have yet to pull. Drat that pink-and-yellow Lantana! But between the hyper dogs, curious kids, and unwillingness of the butterfly to rest for even a fraction of a second, I’m lucky I got any shots at all.
Giant toadstools and other mushrooms are appearing all over my yard. I’m sure they are all deadly. You won’t find me seeking out edible mushrooms anywhere except the wild grocery store. But who can resist letting a sleeping gnome rest under a toadstool of that size?
Even with the gnome there, I don’t think one gets enough of a size comparison. So here’s a shot with my son’s hands as he places the gnome for me.
I absolutely love how mushrooms look underneath. This one was already overturned, presumably by rambunctious wrestling dogs. I guess this is a variety of Amanita mushroom — that definitely means poisonous. I finally decided to order a book on Texas mushrooms. I’d love to be able to ID them better… and then pull them out of the yard with gloves on.
We’ve got two Southern Leopard Frogs living in the big pond. They are so much fun. It’s like a game we play, the humans trying to catch a glimpse of a frog before it dives under the water. The second frog is more skittish than its companion. In fact, it let out the cutest chirp when it decided that at 5 feet away I was way too close — it chirped and zipped underwater with a splash. Not this other guy — he watches me for a long time. I think he secretly likes posing for a camera.
So many plants are beyond huge now. The Common Tree Senna is getting to be 4-5 feet tall and has its first blooms just now appearing.
Texas Poinsettia (Wild Poinsettia, Fire on the Mountain, Euphorbia cyathophora) is making an appearance. However, every spot I found it was not in a spot I originally planted it. I cast narrowed eyes at this potentially naughty spreader. Oh well, it’s native and very pretty.
And we have a new bloom on the Exotic Love Vine.
Now take a look at where it is on the Cousin Itt of a plant that it has become. Sigh. Where’s Waldo?
Here’s another Waldo hunt. The hummingbird feeders have become buried under the Black-Eyed Susan vines. Good thing I have plenty of others around for the hummingbirds.
Oh, happy big black carpenter bees, always on the blue sage plants. They are so hard for me to get a picture of — always wanting to land on the opposite of the bloom from where I’m standing. This carpenter bee was so heavy that the entire bloom would sag down when the bee landed for a bit of nectar.
Speaking of blue sages, this Salvia plant is one that I bought spur of the moment in the spring. It’s sending forth giant stalks of beautiful violet blooms. Is it Majestic Sage, or a close cousin? I regret not actually writing down the name.
Not to be outdone, Tropical Sage is in bloom. So pretty.
Squatter alert! This squirrel seems to have taken up residence in one of our Screech Owl houses. Not only that, but it’s a thief, taking some of our row cover but not quite getting it inside. Evidence, mister! You are caught red-pawed! There was a rag hanging off one of the lower limbs, too. Little naughty squirrelsy.
The garden never ceases to surprise me. I love hunting for yetis and other whatnots around the garden.