This is Scabiosa. It's pretty - not my personal favorite, but pretty. The butterflies and bees like it, so I have it in my garden. It's semi-evergreen here and will bloom about 10 months out of the year if nothing eats it first.
This is Newman. He's pretty too. I've named all the rabbits in my garden Newman, after the devious mailman who is Jerry's arch-nemesis in Seinfeld. Newman loves Scabiosa. He prefers it plain, but he'll also take it with cayenne pepper, dog hair, and Deer-Off.
I have a complicated relationship with Newman. He's adorable, so it's hard to hate him. And he plays right into my Peaceable Kingdom and Rabbit Hill delusions. I love the idea of my yard as a haven for wildlife (a baby rabbit took refuge in my garage one spring and I brought him arugula - which, by the way, he didn't eat). Part of me enjoys having Newman in residence. I just don't want him raiding the refrigerator.
Newman sees it a little differently. His attitude is, I'm a rabbit, this is what rabbits do, deal with it. And because he's cute, I do deal with it. In addition to the scabiosa, Newman and his many flop-eared friends are partial to my pansies, rudbeckia, day lilies, and annual sunflowers. They may also have been responsible for the demise, a few years back, of my brand new and very expensive Illicium floridanum (which apparently is not poisonous to wildlife, so don't believe everything you read). I am still uncertain whether the perp was a bunny, a beaver, or Bambi.
Nevertheless, I cling to my Walt Disney version of nature. Destructive little monsters they may be, but I still feel bad when one of the Newmans has a fatal encounter with my neighbor's cat. Or when one ends up by the side of the road, which is what happened the other day.
This is a turkey vulture. He's not pretty. In fact, he's downright unattractive. He might even be considered disgusting to those of us with refined sensibilities. The turkey vulture is a year-round resident of North Carolina, but an infrequent visitor to my Peaceable Kingdom. However, because of the aforementioned roadside accident, one has been hanging around the neighborhood for the last few days. At first he gave me the creeps. My dog took one look at him and wanted to walk in the opposite direction. But as I learned in this entertaining and informative video, he's not a bad guy. He's a turkey vulture, and he's just doing what turkey vultures do. Yes he's a scavenger, but he's [generally] not a killer. So if you're alive, you can relax.
The best part is, he doesn't eat plants. Welcome to my kingdom, vulture.
The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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