Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I have a gazillion things to blog about - Rowe Woods, some private gardens, the Cincinnati Flower Show, my final Master Gardener class, the Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz, our trip to the Holland Tulip Festival, greenhouse visits, and about 10 product reviews - and I promise I'll get to all of them. But there was an event at Our Little Acre this evening!

Romie and I were out planting some of the plants I have been sent to test, as well as some that I purchased during the last gardening trip. It may be a little early to put the tomatoes out, especially because we're predicted to have a frost this weekend, but I can cover them as they're fairly small yet. The cold weather won't last.

As I walked up to the house to get one of the tomatoes ('Tomaccio'), I walked past the beautimous Japanese Tree Peony that is in full glorious bloom.  Since it is drop dead gorgeous, I can't stop looking at it.  It smells wonderful, too, so I stopped to admire it for the umpteenth time.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Sahohime'

Just as I started to walk away, a large butterfly flew in for a look, too.  You know how your eyes see something, but it takes your brain a little while to catch up, simply because what you're seeing is unexpected? That's exactly what happened to me when I realized it was a Monarch, stopping for a sip of nectar.

 Monarch on Gaillardia - August, 2007

Sighting Monarchs now is certainly early for our part of the country, but since everything else has been early, why not the Monarchs, too?  I ran to the house to get my camera, but when I returned less than a minute later, it was gone.

In my hurry to get my camera, I failed to observe which sex it was, but I did notice it was in pristine condition.  Since most of the Monarchs that reach us here are the offspring of those that winter over, I suppose that shouldn't be surprising.  If you live in Texas, perhaps my Monarch was born in your back yard!

Journey North tracks the Monarch sightings as they migrate north, so I went to their site and reported mine.  There are a few others that were spotted today that are a little further north of us, but these are definitely the first arrivals!

Monarch migration map from Journey North - May 5, 2010

Oh, and if this wasn't enough excitement for the day, I also saw a bluebird checking out one of the bluebird houses.  I'd not seen any until today. The other two bluebird houses have been taken up by a wren family and a barn swallow family, so I hope the bluebird will get the third one. That's the one they used last year, too.

Bluebird - 2009

Now, if the Baltimore Orioles come back to nest in the old oak tree, just like they've done for as many years as I can remember...


Anonymous said...

Wow! A Monarch this early really is...early! Spectacular! You've been a busy gal -- can't wait to read of all your adventures. :)

Sabrina said...

Yesterday a hummingbird was looking at me through the office window. I must get my nectar feeders out! Isn't it wonderful to have these visitors?

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

The Tree Peony is just stunning! What does it smell like? Mine has blooms with a lemony scent.

Unknown said...

I'll have to pay attention to that map; a couple years ago I was out geocaching and found myself in this little riverside park. I completely forgot about the cache for a few minutes, as there had to be THOUSANDS of monarchs fluttering around the clearing. Oh how I wish I'd had my camera with me then!

joey said...

I can see why you are so excited, Kylee. Your peony is gorgeous ... anxious for mine to begin blooming ... and a monarch is always a thrill. Congratulations on all your nominations!

Kylee Baumle said...

Nancy ~ I know! I couldn't believe it! I don't think I've ever seen one this early. Yes, very busy, but all fun stuff!

Sabrina ~ Yes, wonderful! The migration maps say the hummers are back here, but I've not seen any yet.

MMD ~ This one smells like the herbaceous ones - very rose-like and typically "peony." I've got a deep rose one that smells icky. But it's beautiful to look at!

Eric ~ So cool to see that, isn't it? We had them stop by one night in one of our trees several years ago. It was AWESOME!

joey ~ Tree peonies are just so fabulous. So frilly and BIG! I look forward to seeing pictures of yours! Congratulations on your very well deserved nomination as well! I'm honored to be in your company!

F Cameron said...

Wonderful news!

I usually see Monarchs in June in my area. The flowers that usually bloom in June are already starting to bloom here, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a Monarch soon.

On the downside--we have no honeybees this year. The wild hives in my neighbors tree either died or left over the winter. Sad. I miss the buzz as they used to literally cover my lavender and nepeta. Honeybees travel only 3 miles from a hive.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My Tree peony is finished. Yours is so pretty with the delicate looking pink flowers. We had our first monarchs this past weekend. Such excitement in the garden.

Peg Wiggins said...

Spring has sprung so early that it boggles the mind to see these critters so soon!
Although here in our part of Wisconsin I've yet to see a Hummingbird. In years past they've been at our feeder as early as May 4th.
I listen each day for the Orioles to arrive; but so far none yet.

Last night I helped my daughter move many potted plants and I mean large planters ! ! ! into the porch as frost & possible snow is forecast for 2night and 2moro.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Beautiful Peony Kylee! How exciting to see a Monarch already. I haven't seen them here yet, but according to your map they have arrived.
I marvel at the blue of the Bluebirds. So pretty.

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

So early for the monarch. I hope it can find plenty to eat without any milkweed species blooming. I am in the mid-ohio valley of wv and thought I saw a monarch last week but it happened too fast and unexpectedly to be sure.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

What fun stuff! It does seem a little early for the Monarch but it's very special just the same.

Your tree peony is quite the show stopper. Such a gorgeous color!

Kylee Baumle said...

Cameron ~ They're very early for us, too. That's too bad about the honeybees. I didn't know they only go three miles from their hive. We've sure got our share here! Maybe they'll show up a little later.

Lisa ~ Even though you're not that far south of me, you amaze me at how far ahead in your season you are!

Peg ~ I've not seen a hummingbird yet, but when I walked into work this morning, a co-worker told me she'd seen one last night, so they're here!
Yes, we'll likely have to take some pots in the house this weekend as well. Frost is predicted! Maybe they'll be wrong. LOL.

Janet ~ I always get anxious to see things when I hear they're here. And seeing a bluebird always makes me smile. I just stood there and listened to him sing for the longest time.

Beyond The Garden ~ Monarchs don't need the flowers in order to lay eggs, only the leaves, so the larva can eat them when they hatch. The adults will feed on the nectar of many different plants. I think these just want to get a head start! Maybe the babies of these will be the ones that keep on going to Canada.

Kate ~ This is why I just love spring! :-)

Benjamin Vogt said...

You are lucky!! Last two years I havent' seena monarch until 7/15 (my birthday, actually). This year the milkweed is up early, so I hope it draws them in. But worried about monarch numbers being low, anyway. Time to get the grap jelly out for orioles.

Kylee Baumle said...

Ben ~ Wow, mid-July is really late! Last year, I thought they were late in arriving, but they're sure making up for it this year.

Yes, time to get the jelly out! I've actually had mine out for a few weeks just because I thought I heard one, but I've not heard it since, so it's time to replace the jelly. The hummingbirds love my oriole feeder, too, I've found!

Commonweeder said...

How beautiful to see full spring! My tree peonies have fat buds. It won't be long now.

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