Garden Diary - September 2013

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Saturday, 7 September 2013
A Garden Visitor

I was using the string trimmer to clear the edges of the Mdway path from the edge of the lawn down to the driveway. Between the plentiful rain and the hot weather we've had this year the weeds are supersize. And plentiful. Garden? What garden? It's under there somewhere. So I'm merrily weed-whipping along. The white boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, is in flower. The stems are rather coarse for the trimmer to whip through. They pull up fairly easily though, so I put the trimmer down , took off the protective goggles I was wearing, and starting yanking the boneset out by the roots. Then hello,

Who's this? We have a garden visitor!

I am very fond of turtles. Snakes too, but let's stay focused. Box turtles show up here at BelleWood Gardens as infrequent visitors, not even every year. But I have found a youngster barely the size of the palm of my hand, an adolescent, the empty shell of one that died . . . . And today's handsome male in the prime of life. I don't think he was as thrilled to meet me as I was to see him. But I confess I swooped him up and dashed for the house to get my camera. First he closed up - box turtles really do close up tight - then started scrabbling away, still in mid air.

Back to the same place, gently set him down and backed off. Sat for quite some time. First his nose moved forward. Then I could see the glint of an eye still in the shadow of his carapace. And then he extended his neck and front legs a bit, but still giving me the stink eye.

I suppose he figured this was enough disturbance. He wheeled around rather quickly, stumped off into some undergrowth, then stopped to contemplate his adventure. Long life to you sir, hope we meet again.

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