There's a Bear in the Flower Garden!
Look! We had a bear in the flower garden this year!
Okay, so it was a bear statue rather than the real thing. We do have an actual bear den down the hill, or so we've been told. When trees were replanted this summer through a conservation program, some of the planters saw a mother bear with a pair of cubs. They said the den was in the extra hilly terrain near the existing old-growth forest, so we cannot see it from an easy vantage point. The last time I went down there was a few years ago, and I promised myself not to do that again. Let's just say it involved a wayward dog who refused to cross the creek, resulting in a trek across a messy logging operation. There was no easy path toward the road or pastures. I had to cross hills and valleys I had seen but never navigated, whilst lightly stepping on rocks and logs, hoping neither would give way under my feet or the dog's paws. When we finally reached the road, this wayward dog was dodging traffic before I could lead her back by the pasture where the not-so-friendly Texas Longhorn cow was standing guard at the entrance. Luckily, she was on the far-side of the pasture, and we hurried along a seldom-used path of briars before she spotted us. By that point, I was back to familiar but still-treacherous territory, darting across the creek of paw-paw trees and hidden barbed wire fences from pastures of long-ago. The real miracle is that I dodged poison ivy, but perhaps that was due to a generous slathering of Tecnu, the absolute best remedy I have found for preventing that kind of rash. I learned about Tecnu when another wayward dog stumbled upon a skunk rather than the usual squirrels and rabbits. Someone suggested it, but it did not work as well for that purpose.
Let me stop chasing the proverbial rabbits and get back to the point. This year's potager was a success, but this bear flower garden was the icing on the cake. This photo was taken before the 10-foot tall sunflower grew, and the zinnias expanded to provide more enjoyment for the numerous butterflies. Our Monarch Conservation Acre did not look like this batch of non-natives, but at least some other pollinators found something to enjoy while birds munched on the sunflower seeds. Unlike this garden of annuals, perhaps the milkweed and other native flowers will appear after a winter spell. Wouldn't you rather see lots of happy monarchs instead of hungry bears?