July 27, 2010

My Secret Garden

My Secret Garden is four miles from my house. It’s the place where I relocate all the chipmunks that fall prey to my Havahart Live Animal Trap. It’s a lovely spot that includes a thick forest, an open meadow and a refreshing pond.

With camera in hand, I always take a walk after releasing the chippies and have fallen in love with this peaceful landscape. A large field of Common Milkweed grows there. The plants are about 48” high and bloom in June and July. Monarchs are especially fond of the nectar and their larvae eat the leaves. Milkweed is also a source of nectar for hummingbirds and many other butterfly species.

I literally see dozens and dozens of Monarchs fluttering from one milkweed to another, but never get close enough for a good photo. But….I did catch this one drinking nectar from some red clover.

The flowers growing there are as pretty as the ones blooming in my garden at home.

I see a lot of dragonflies and because they have excellent eyesight, I was surprised to get so close to this Widow Skimmer. Dragonflies are the fastest insects in the world, reaching speeds of between 19-38 mph.

White-tailed deer are often meandering around when I arrive, especially if it’s early in the morning. I’ll be posting about deer at a later date. For now, I’ll leave you with this deer footprint, which to my eye makes a heart-shaped track.

The novel, The Secret Garden, was published in 1911. Even back then, Frances Hodgson Burnett understood the healing power found in all living things.


  1. Fabulous post Donna! So glad I got up early to have time to read my favs! (Been a little busy -- and tired -- lately).

    I just love these pictures -- I always wonder about the difference between weeds and wildflowers and as you point out, well-tended garden flowers. All beautiful.

    Love the idea of the have a heart trap and wish I'd known about that when we used to garden.

    and Secret Garden was my favorite book at one stage of my life and now I want to re-read it!

    Great post, beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

  2. You are fortunate to have a beauiful place where chipmunks are welcome to be relocated. I wonder how many find their way back home?

    We trapped a huge armadillo in our hav a hart trap night before last. He wasn't welcome anywhere else, so he went to our armadillo graveyard.

  3. Ha Ha, I just took a baby chipmunk on a little ride around my block. That is so funny that you do the same thing.
    This Secret Garden looks like a serene and happy place.
    What do you use for bait in your HAVAHART? I use peanut butter, sometimes nothing...those chipmunks have tiny brains and just go into it.

  4. What a grand Secret Garden you visit ... we have milkweed here but the butterflies are very scarce this year.

  5. Hi! Donna forgive me if this comment sounds or is the same... Something happened while I was posting....

    So I'm not sure if my first comment posted..So here I go again.. Sorry"

    I love your Secret garden and would love to have something as pretty near by where I could relocate pesky chipmunks if I had them...

    I would Daydream for so long, the Chipmunks would beat me back to my own house...Lol!

    Lovely post...

  6. What a beautiful and serene place, Donna! How awesome to have all that milkweed out there and the Monarchs! WOWZERS!!!

  7. I think Vetsy has the right idea. Looks like the perfect place for some good daydreaming! Delicous post as always Donna!

  8. What a beautiful place. I love that something so natural is so beautiful and attracts so many insects and animals. Maybe the chipmunks have heard if they get caught in your traps they are taken to a luxury resort to live in.

  9. This is a beautiful place, Donna. I'm sure the chipmunks must be thrilled to be relocated here, and I can see why it lifts your spirits at the same time. I love all the native plants, but some of them I prefer in a setting like this, especially the milkweeds. While the Monarchs love them, they would take over my garden at home.

    Interesting info about the dragonflies; I had no idea they were so fast. The other night a whole horde of them were flying about my lawn; I was wondering if they might be migrating somewhere.

  10. Love the new look of your blog. What a wonderful place to visit.

  11. PS I miss the Coo Coo Kid

  12. Don't know where in cyber space my other comment is! The secret garden is wonderful! The dandelion photo is so great.

  13. Lovely spot and your pictures are great. Do you worry about ticks? I've become almost paranoid about them when I wander through natural places.

    Can't wait to read the deer post.

  14. What a beautiful and peaceful place. Way to go Donna. That quote is just right.

  15. What an awesome post, Donna. I'm so glad I made it to your blog this morning! It made me so happy...your secret garden is beautiful. Oh, and those shots of the butterfly and dragonfly...amazing! You made my day!

    P.S.: My daughter just passed by and pointed to the computer and asked me if we were going there today. :)

  16. Donna,

    Such a lovely post. So many beautiful things to see and photograph. And you are so kind to your little chipmunks. One of them has been wreaking havoc on my flower boxes.

  17. What lovely photos. Looks like a lovely place to walk. A Secret Garden was one of my favorite books as a child. Stella

  18. I'm glad there are places like that around. Are there paths to walk on there? I enjoyed your photos.


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