Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Leopards and Cheetahs and Tigers, Oh My!

 I hope you all saw the very helpful educational post at Une Femme the other day, clarifying the difference between leopard and cheetah patterning. In that same spirit, I thought a Public Service Announcement about a competing sector of the Natural Inspirations Kingdom was in order . . . . the lively world of plants, which offers us the vibrant colour and dramatic spotting of the tiger lily. I know that if Une Femme had been at that naming -- and the woman has horticultural training, along with some Renaissance dance, some serious equestrian skills, and some marine experience that might surprise you -- this lily would never have been named for a striped beast, but that's the common name we're working with here, at least in these parts.
 Whatever the distractions of the ill-suited name, there's no question that this is a stunning flower. What I especially love about it in my garden is that it comes up, unbidden, each August, from where someone put a bulb in the soil at least 20 years ago -- we never planted it, and it's in an area that my botanist friend calls my "Darwinian garden" because it sorts the weak out so quickly.
 I know, the photographic repetition might seem tiring to you, but I just can't get enough of this beauty, and I especially love to see its orange contrasted against the complementary blue sky, and to see the orange echoed, in muted form, in the peeling arbutus bark nearby.
But to return to the animal kingdom, we've had a ferocious beast causing all sorts of destruction in the garden recently. Here are the leaves of the tiger lily -- usually long, sword-tapered (as in the baby lily pictured below), these leaves have all been munched.

So far, the baby's unscathed, perhaps not yet noticed. I'm crossing my fingers it will survive as I have high hopes of another blooming stalk for next year.
A nearby arbutus uneda (which you might know by its common name, Strawberry Tree) can scarcely produce a leaf before it gets nibbled to a nub. And this nasturtium was unearthed whole by the deer ripping the leaves off the plant. Beautiful they are, those deer, but grrrrr. . . .
A frivolous post, I know, but beauty and frivolity have their place. I want to add, though, how much I've appreciated your comments in the last few posts. The conversation about 4-generation families last week was quite wonderful and then your responses to my post about being laid low with depression were so thoughtful. I often think it's a bit sad that these conversations exist in the disappearing wake that follows a post -- This blog is so much more than what I write, and I thank you all!

6 comments:

  1. The orange against the blue is just magnificent. I love your garden photos ... Today I dawdled a little in my garden to admire the unfurling leaf buds on my quince (still a strapling) as well as my fabulous dark purple hellebores. I can't wait for September (our spring) and all the fruit trees to flower.

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  2. AH a Tiger Lily sighting...
    I used to have some here but they have disappeared.

    I hope that orange goddess has perked up your day.
    I came home to find a mother deer and two fawns devouring my roses in the front garden...shocking! and my camera was not in hand.
    Adorable fawns vs. David Austin Roses
    I am either digging them out and planting behind the fence or buying duplicates and feed the babies in front....

    It's survival of the fittest!

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  3. My first thought when I opened this post was "look at that blue sky!!" I can see why you are so entranced with this flower, and yes, the orange against the blue is truly spectacular. We used to put out blood meal to keep deer away certain areas of the garden, but I know some balk at that.

    Thanks for the link, glad you enjoyed my little vent of frustration.

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  4. Tiffany: Quince is so beautiful in flower - I wonder if yours will this year. So funny to think of the hellebore blooming now, but I guess that makes sense what with the topsy-turvy of it all.
    Hostess: I admire your attitude, and for the most part, that's what I try to emulate. Have to admit that I occasionally get caught swearing at Bambi, though. Ours often come up from the beach and it would be almost impossible to fence, so just have to shrug and see what survives.
    Sue: The trouble with the blood meal is that it would probably entice the raccoons to dig up soil -- we used to avoid bone meal because our old Golden would avidly search it out. My neighbour has used (commercially-available, really!) cougar pee, but in our rainy climate, it has to be renewed regularly, and it's expensive. Others swear by a mix of raw eggs & something else I can't remember -- haven't been desperate enough to bother yet, but the day might come.

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  5. I'm afraid I do spray all my lilies or I would never see their beautiful blossoms or the leaves for that matter. The deer are voracious and neither blood meal or bone meal have deterred them, though they do help the garden. I use a purchased concoction that works beautifully even though the yard smells like a septic tank gone bad the day I spray it. I suppose that tells me something about the contents.

    Love that blue and orange together. I shall miss the lilies I've fought so long to maintain.

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  6. Mardel: I'm really surprised that the deer munched the leaves but left the blossoms -- I think if they'd gone the other way 'round I'd be looking for some kind of spray-on concoction myself.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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