Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tigers in the Habitat

Imagine my surprise - there I was stalking a squirrel or woodpecker, when there before me was a tiger! No, not that kind of tiger - rather a tiger lily - the dark orange variety of day lilies found this time of year growing throughout the mid-Atlantic states.
About 14 years ago - when the Habitat was just a backyard - we had hundreds of day lilies blooming from late-June through late July. And then something sad happened - the food chain was experienced - the then small deer population discovered our day lilies. The deer, who are habitual eaters (they come back and back to the same place), totally destroyed the lilies within two years - first eating the blooms, then the leaves, then the stems down to the ground. Then in the following year, the deer seemed to be waiting for the lilies to just break through the ground - and when the lilies did, the deer eat them. In those years the Habitat was known simply as the Deer's Private Salad Bar.

The lilies were so numerous that if they were still alive and well, any photo of the Habitat would include their bright yellow, orange, and even purpose colors. The photo shown here is one of the remaining lilies from that time - I move a few plants around each year, keep them close to the house, sometimes they last a day or two, but most times the deer find them anyway. It is rare that one plant can actually produce a bloom this nice.

Oh yes, for those of you looking for a real tiger, here is one that lives about 15 miles away in the National Zoo.

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