Hello there! Let's see what we can see on a field trip around Hidden Valley Lake. Let's go this way and take advantage of all the shade that we can. Whew! It's hot today!
This new archway will hopefully be covered with climbing roses and clematis when you come back to visit next summer. This summer all it's going to have are annual vines.
The lane is over this way, past my favorite ornamental tree, a Bird Cherry. Its new spring growth is almost a chartreuse green color, followed by white, sweetly scented panicles of flowers in May. As soon as it's finished flowering the leaves turn this lovely burgundy color.
Just a few steps beyond is our first glimpse of the lake. It's very peaceful today, but look out on the weekend! All the power tools come out then. *Groan*
Over here on the right is the veggie garden. Man, don't those zucchini grow fast? It seems like I just planted the seeds yesterday!
On your other side is the bird aviary and the Silkies. Heah... chick, chick, chick!
....and the peacock. The peahen must be hiding out in their little house.
......peek in the barn for a quick look at Mindy. Hi Mindy!
Okay, here we are. The gate to the *back forty*.
Well, hi there little cutie! You must be the one eating my green bean sprouts!
We've allowed the trees and bushes to grow around most of the lake itself, as we've been in the process of developing this back acreage as habitat for wildlife for the last fourteen years. Deer are plentiful here, as well as other four-footed and winged critters.
Right here by the gate we'll check out some milkweed. I have no idea what that bug is! Do you? I've never seen it before. It's so neat to come out and really take the time to look at what's here. It seems that every time we do, we see something new.
On the lake side of the path we'll see the first of the native beebalm. How delicate it looks, but it survives drought and poor soil just fine!
The other side of the path sports the first of two wildflower areas. My folks planted these about five years ago and combined they probably cover about an acre of ground.
Oh, look at that beautiful butterfly. Hold still a minute! Gotcha!
There's a small orange one, too bad I've forgotten almost all of my butterfly knowledge.....oh well, this walk is just for enjoyment anyway.
All right. Let's mosey on back to the trail, it's so much cooler over there.
Sensitive fern? Beautiful.... whatever it is.
Here's the next opening to view the water. An old, partially sunken rowboat has been here longer than we have! The bass love to hang out here, so we leave it alone.
Look. Way over to the right, in the middle of the horse pasture, there is a young Catalpa tree. I love its large, lime green leaves.
Now we're coming to the second wildflower area. Yes, it looks much the same as the first, but in a month it'll be filled with wild bergamot and goldenrod. The best part is, it only gets watered by rainfall. This is one batch of flowers that I don't have to drag hoses for!
Swallowtail? Pretty flying flower!
Now we're rounding the back side of the lake where there are mostly scrub willow trees and sumac, with a few others we've added for greater height, (shade) and diversity.
Honeylocust leaves. I just love the dainty, almost ferny looking leaves, but watch out for those thorns!
This is a view of the far side of the lake. We often see deer when looking this direction. There's a natural, cool running spring over there that they love to drink from. There's also a Canadian goose nesting barrel way over there. We weren't fortunate enough to have a pair nest there this spring, but we've had them in the past.
Moseying on.....the scrub willows almost meet overhead. It's like walking under a natural tree tunnel.
Back out into relatively open spaces again. I'm sure glad the sun isn't out today, too hot!
Wow, was that ever loud!
Along the South side of the path there is giant Pampas grass. A long line of shelter-belt for slowing prevailing winds.
Take a peek into the water... right about here. See the bass? This is one of their nesting areas.
On and out the far side, and over by the fishing pier ....wait! What is this?
A Monarch caterpillar on some Joe-pye weed. Everyone tells me that milkweed is the only plant a Monarch eats. Not in my experience. I've only ever seen chrysalis on Joe-pye, never on milkweed. I'll keep looking though, maybe one day I'll see one!
Well, that's it for today! Let's find some deep shade, a couple of comfy chairs, some ice cold raspberry lemonade and have a chat, and maybe a cat nap!
Thanks for joining me!
Author's Notes ~
All images included in this article are my own.
Special thanks to Sharran, owner of Blue Gardens cubit for the impetous to publish this fun little article!
[Edit] 08, January, 2011.