Monday, July 30, 2012

Snakes, Bees, and Cats-Oh My!

Strolling through the gardens can be an eye opening experience. Such was the case when I happened upon a garter snake near the house on the north side.
I was almost pretty much in shock because I rarely see snakes in the garden. When I do I always get very excited as snakes are good! Of course this garter snake will not bite me and inject poison into me so I consider this one to be good. I have occasionally seen copperheads in the garden, but they are rare and are usually tiny so I just move on. I would never ever intentionally kill a snake when given an alternative, because I consider all snakes beneficial in that they reduce the rodent population. Of course they might also reduce the frog population too; which is not so good but overall I tend to leave snakes be in the garden.
Many people have a fear of snakes. I will not say fearing snakes is irrational, because I cannot possibly know what a person feels who is afraid of snakes. I will say though, snakes can be fascinating given half a chance. At big amusement parks like Busch Gardens there are always snake shows, and I find it truly neat just how a snake feels up close and personal. They are not at all slimy and icky like slugs as some might think. They can be pretty cool in the garden too in that they help control pests and add a different element to the garden.
Now this fella is cool too. He helps with the rodent population but we are having difficulty with him and our resident orange tabby cat called Orkin. While Smokey boy has not attacked Orkin (he has no claws) he does tend to bother her to the point that she will simply stalk off or attack him. It is a frustrating time for us. Especially since Smokey is a stray and has no home and as you can see he is always hungry. We want them both to feel at home in our gardens and hope the situation works itself out to the good for both cats. 

Another cat has also shown up in our gardens. We call him Cloud and he will be taking a visit to the veterinarian's clinic next week to be neutered and vaccinated. He is a good boy, but he is not as friendly as Smokey. 

Please, if you have pets get them spayed or neutered to prevent all of these unwanted animals roaming around homeless. These two new cats would not be hanging out in my garden if they had a good home or even a home where they were fed and given basic necessities. It is not fair to let dogs and cats fend for themselves and is quite an issue here in my area of Tennessee. Thousands of animals are killed each year simply because they are homeless. If we reduce the population by spaying and neutering perhaps we can reduce the euthanasia rate as well. 
I normally don't grow sunflowers since there is not an awful lot of sun here, but occasionally some will sprout from the bird feeders. Such was the case of this little sunflower. The amount of bugs buzzing around it was a nice treat. I snapped these few pictures in the same session. The bees just seemed to take turns on the sunflower which I thought was very cooperative of the bees.

Look at this big bee. It came in as soon as the little bee took off and they would rotate around on the head of this sunflower....

in the garden....

Don't forget about Skeeter's Giveaway post for a Troy-Bilt found here. Time is running out!

 Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. I like snakes. I love their slithering movement, sliding down rocks or on the ground, silently. Beautifully. Obviously, I'm talking about small snakes, like yours. Not pythons or anacondas. :-)

    By the way, that's a strikingly beautiful cat you've got there.

    Greetings from London.

  2. I have not seen this garter snake in my gardens but have seen many this year. Esp, back in Spring. More then we have seen in a long time. It looks as though you snake is interested in the garden hose. Maybe thinks it is a friend with its snake like figure...

    Smokey is pretty and I hope in time he and Orkin can work out their differences. Good luck with the new addition as well. It just boggles my mind why people dont take care of their pets. Grrrrrrr....

    Ah, the volunteer sunflower and bees. Pretty pretty pretty....

  3. Looks like your garden and garden visitors are thriving!

  4. Sunflowers are good. Not only being pretty they are food also. I like that.
    Sure hope the kitties learn to get along. They are good for the garden & can be very entertaining.

  5. I also like to see snakes in the garden but I do not see as many as I used to. They used to hang out in the stone wall but since I have been back to gardening and am out there all the time I think they have moved away from the wall. I usually see 1 or 2 and they usuall have a baby, another good thing! Since we do not have the poisonous snakes in Maine, I am not scared of em but they do startle me for a second when I see them.

    I always thought sunflowers were neat but never grew them but after seeing how awesome the big fields of them in Germany, I just have to plant a few. With all the beauty acroos the big puddle, whenever I hear Germany, my first thought is of all the sunflowers!

    The kittys may never be good friends but will probably tolerate each other in time.

  6. You are so nicw to take in these stray animals and to advocate for them. Maine imports a lot of strays from the south because there is more demand for pets than there are local strays available.

  7. Very cool picture of the snake!!! (the closeup one) I don't mind snakes, but really don't want to encounter one when I am on my knees weeding or under a bush pruning or on the rocks, climbing down along the driveway....can't jump away easily.

  8. Your sunflowers are beautiful minus the is veryveryvery scared of them, even a night crawler...she is irrational but I can't talk her down from it....the cats look like they belong in your garden....Stella rose

  9. I have a garter snake living in my front garden in the boxwood. I love when garter snakes inhabit the garden, they keep the slug population down. Also, like you, I have sunflowers that sprouted from bird food. Not so unusual I guess.

  10. I don't like snakes, and thankfully don't see many in my garden. I do love cats, and agree completely about getting them 'fixed'! I bet Smokey and Orkin will work it out. They just have to know which one's the top cat! I have a cat that is de-clawed (we rescued him), and most of our other cats are scared of him! haha We think it's funny - we know he doesn't have claws but I don't think cats ever think that's a possibility!

  11. I'm not a fan of snakes but know they are good. I've learned to co-exist with the skinks in my garden which are like snakes with feet.
    I hope the kitties work it out. Nice to have all of them and I agree on having them fixed.
    Great bee shot on that sunflower. Enjoy it's sunny face.

  12. I have seen two little gardener snakes in my garden, I got a few sunflowers also from the bird feeder. One is really big.

  13. Logically I get what you are saying about snakes. I would never hurt one but would not be excited in a good way to see one in my garden or my house (that has happened before). Your cats will probably never grow in to soul mates, but they might agree to disagree. I have two myself, and they are certainly not the best of friends. It was hard for me at the beginning, but now I realize, as twisted as this sounds, that it actually adds interest for them. They have to plan and plot their next move, watch out for their arc enemy, and make sure they keep the upper hand. It keeps them sharp.

  14. I am one of those people who is deathly afraid of snakes. I know it's an irrational fear, but if I saw one in my garden, I'd be recording Olympic times in running away:) I hope Smokey settles in and learns to tolerate the other cats, if not like them. Perhaps he's had to fend for himself so long that he doesn't know how to share with others.

  15. Looks like everyone is excited about that sunflower...great message and people just abandon or let their pets run unfair to these animals...I also love snakes in the garden...

  16. Amen sister to your spay and neuter rant!