Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, December 7, 2012

This week in the garden - #41

Most of my efforts in the garden this week amounted to what my mother would have called "piddling" - a little bit of this and a little bit of that, not really much to show for it but enough to keep me busy.

Truthfully, most of my attention has been on the house this week as we prepared to have a couple of rooms painted to freshen them for the holidays and I did some rearranging of furniture for the same reason, so it was a productive week, just not in the garden.

Today, while the painters were doing their thing inside, I went outside to try to get some hummingbird pictures. There's been an unusual amount (for December) of hummingbird activity in the yard this week. At least three of the little guys have been doing battle over the remaining flowers and the sugar water feeders. I wasn't really sure of the identity of all of them so I wanted to get some pictures to try to confirm just who they were.

I took my chair and my camera and binoculars out by my little pond where a hummingbird feeder hangs from a tree limb. I had seen at least one of the birds feeding there several times this week so I thought that would be my best shot at getting a picture. So I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited some more. As often happens, the birds were not cooperative.

While I was waiting though, I amused myself by watching some of the other visitors to the area.

I've been seeing this beautiful dragonfly around the pond all week. I believe it is called a roseate skimmer or possibly a scarlet skimmer. Unfortunately, I'm not much of an expert on dragonflies.

But I sure do like them anyway. They are fun to watch and fun to photograph.

This one was very cooperative, unlike the hummingbirds.

There were lots of Cloudless Sulphur butterflies flitting around as well. Several of them were taking advantage of the last blooms of the Anisacanthus wrightii, flame acanthus.

I decided the hummingbirds were not coming to the feeder and tried to take a picture of one that was feeding on the yellow cestrum.

In this light, he appears to be juvenile Rufous Hummingbird.

 But later, he did actually come to the feeder and I don't see any rufous on him here. Or is this another bird altogether?

I'm so confused!

At least there's no confusion about this. It is a male Monarch. I'm still getting a steady stream of Monarchs through my garden. There were at least two here today.

The holiday season is upon us and yet it is hard for me to feel very holidayish when the temperatures continue to be around 80. Our average first frost of the season comes around December 10. That's just three days away. It doesn't seem very likely, but the weather can change quickly, so who knows? We may yet get some cooler weather to help put us in the mood.


  1. I must admit I do an awful lot of piddling in my garden, all year round - between hospital stays and recovery from numerous operations, but the piddling, when done often enough, actually gives results. It might be painfully slow for other people to watch, but who cares :-)
    Loved your photos of the dragonfly with the red wings, never seen anything like that before!

    1. I'm with you, Helene! If truth be told, piddling is what I do most of the time!

  2. Great Pictures and even better subjects, Dorothy ! The hummers are gone from here, do they stay in Houston all year?

    1. Some do, Randy. Usually Rufouses. I had two that stayed in my yard all winter last year.

  3. Fantastic pictures, especially the hummingbirds and dragonflies.

  4. I think most of my gardening falls into the "piddling" category, Dorothy. I'm totally amazed that you still have hummingbirds. We haven't seen any in months (but then again, we took the feeders down). Love your photos. That dragonfly is gorgeous!

    1. I suspect that we will have the Rufous hummers staying with us through winter again this year as they did last year.

      I'm really captivated by that dragonfly. He's by the pond every day now. I really must learn more about these critters!