Yesterday I awoke at 6am with crashing thunder and multiple lightening strokes headlining the arrival of the first rainstorm in 29 days. It was quite a storm with over 5000 people losing power in Frederick(not us) but most importantly for our yard was the total of more than an inch of rain. It was followed by more rain in the afternoon and then again last night. It is hard to believe how dry it has been here. The ground has been cracking, trees losing their leaves, and plants have been dying left and right. Gardening has been discouraging on the whole when you see so many of the spring’s investments disappearing. It’s not just that it’s been dry but the temperatures have been high enough to make it really unpleasant to go outside.
Two weeks ago a posting from Melissa at Garden Shoots reminded me that last year I had made a photography trip out to the sunflower fields that Maryland plants near the Potomac River. I had heard that the fields were not up to last years display but I remembered that the Indigo Buntings were plentiful last year and I decided to journey out to the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area to see what I could find.
The field was full of dried out stunted sunflowers that were well past the peak of flowering.
I spent a couple of hours there hoping to see the Indigo Buntings that were so plentiful last year. I thought I imagined I might have maybe possibly seen one or two in the distance. But the field was loaded with Goldfinches and House Finches. There were hundreds.
I did see a Pileated Woodpecker in flight across the field.
After two hours of waiting and watching on a very hot day I packed it up and decided to go find my own water. On the way back from the Potomac I stopped at Lilypons Water Gardens. Their 250 acres of ponds are filled with flowering water lilies at this season. It was refreshing to see so many flowers at once and what a contrast to the dry tired field of sunflowers.
You can wander freely about the grounds and it’s a great spot for photography. Wildlife abounds as you would expect with so much water and lush vegetation.
I have to confess that I don’t really know my Water Lilies at all. I’m a water gardener wannabe. I could guess at some of the varieties I was looking at but I’m probably on safer ground just to cite the colors. Suffice it to say, Lilypons is worth a visit if you are in the area. And if you aren’t, they have a mail order catalog.