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September 9th- The begining of Fall

After a few weeks of continuous rains, Fall is announcing its arrival. Our neighborhood cherry leaves turned yellow overnight. The sun is less scorching, and I could leave the windows open all day long. Our cats, Momo and Maxie, love the sounds and scents coming from the backyard garden. When you open the windows, it seems that our isolated home space is suddenly filled by the invisible water of nature. You can smell the faint fragrance from the rose bed and the tea olives. The mixture of sounds is a small orchestra performance: different birds chirping, calling, and singing, tree leaves touching each other, insects squeaking and buzzing, critters hopping and running, squirrels setting off alarms with barking and tails drumming the tree trunks if there is a cat being spotted...Occasionally, a truck drives by which reminds you that you are still in today's man-made community.

Another couple of Carolina Wrens have moved into our strawberry basket. Those smart and bold birds obviously like how it is weatherproof and predator-proof. We keep the door closed and only a top window open for them to access. Every time when we went inside the greenhouse, we saw new progress: from tiny eggs to closed-eyes with half-developed wings, and now four pairs of round eyes staring at you with four yellow pointed beaks. They should be able to fledge any day now.

carolina wren baby bird nestings
Carolina Wren nestlings in their strawberry home

Hummingbirds frequent our feeder daily. They also visit the sedum flowers, butterfly bush flowers, roses, and phloxes, which are all conveniently planted around the feeder. The other day, we saw a female hummingbird drinking from a pink crape myrtle blossoms. I am glad that our garden is able to provide nectars throughout the seasons.

hummingbird drinking from a hummingbird feeder
This hummingbird came to me and chipped after she drank the sugar water.

sedum flowers
sedum flowers attract hummingbirds too! I love how they gently glisten under the sun

Last year we bought six little pots of mums that were on clearance and planted them in the ground. They have triple-sized since and have never stopped blooming since June. We enjoy these "loud" flowers, as they stand out in the various shades of greens when the other Spring flowers are done blooming. We plan to get more mums this year when the stores put them on the final sale, thanks to the sad fact that a lot of people treat mums (Chrysanthemum) as annuals or just a seasonal potted decoration.

chrysanthemums-garden mums
Those mums were only one third of their current size when we planted them last fall.

Our pink muhly grass did not come back after the winter. We thought that since muhly grass is a Southeast native plant, it must be easy to grow in our native we did not do any research and casually dug a hole and planted them in the ground without any conditioning the soil. Wrong! Apparently, they need really good drainage. When I checked the roots, most of them were rotten in the water-tight clay mud. Big mistake for being lazy and not doing homework before planting. I am determined to try again this year and will report the progress.

Since early summer, we started to see baby toads all over our garden. I would say at least a thousand of them, just fingernail size, hopping around. These little toads have a red tone and we don't know what they are or if they will ever grow big. It is September now, I still see the same size of small toads everywhere I walk. Well, as long as they are happy, we are happy to have them residing in our little paradise. Please help us eat more mosquitos!

tiny toads in Georgia
Look at how they blend in!

Did I mention that we have three ponds now? We converted two giant holes that were caused by fallen trees into a waterlily pond with goldfish and a small wildlife pond. But both of them are located higher up on the slop and we don't venture to enter into the woods every day to sit by the ponds and feed the crazy mosquitos. So we bought a big plastic pot and created this small water feature right on our deck outside of our kitchen and breakfast area windows.

lotus leaves in a small pond. water feature
Home-seeded lotuses are growing happily in the white pond

We put two small goldfish and a dozen mosquito fish in it planted a couple of aqua plants and added a stone slate for the fish to take shelter. I also bought some lotus seeds from Amazon, and the tender leaves have now reached above the water. On sunny days our DIY bamboo fountain drips down, creating a Zen atmosphere. We arranged all the sun-loving potted plants around this white pond: Myer Lemon, Elephant Ears, Fig, Plumeria, Pomegranates, Chinese Copper plants...all of which formed a small tropical garden. Small birds love this corner. We also used three clay saucers as shallow birdbaths for the little birds to drink and take bath. Sometimes we can see bees drinking from them as well. Almost every day, wrens, sparrows, finches, and titmice wait in line and shower one by one. After the shower, Carolina wrens would fly to our Bay Laurel pot and use the mulches to dry their feathers. Titmice love standing horizontally on the Plumeria trunk and play among the little trees. We are so proud to have created this playground for them, and we get to enjoy closely seeing the happy land right from our windows.

Weather report: 72 F, Cloudy.

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