A Tale Of Two Turtles

It was just like any other day that’s ever been in the early morning at the Fairegarden. Sun comin’ up and then…
After coffee is consumed, when the outdoor light has reached a candlepower that doesn’t need the flash, the camera is toted out into the garden. We head to the East to the arbor and look up at the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ facing the same direction. No wonder we never see the blooms, they all face the neighbors house. Oh well, I hope they enjoy seeing the pretty purples.

The circuit is walked, looking for photo ops in the perfect early light of day for such endeavors. In the front island by the street, the self sown lamb’s ear and Nigella are beginning to bloom. Dainty drops of dew enhance the radiance of the fresh light of day, making the flowers sparkle. Then the gravel path is followed to the back gardens, here a snap, there a snap, everywhere a snap, snap of the shutter. We are looking at the gardens, not downward where steps are taken on the crunchy rocks.

Hidden so well by Nature’s camouflage that we nearly step on it is an Eastern Box Turtle, also enjoying a morning walk. I crouch down to get a better look and take some shots. Off it goes, rather than pulling inside it’s shell.

There have been several sightings of turtles here over the years. We even believe offspring have joined the Fairegarden Turtle population. See posts, here-Turtle Blues, here-Turtle Reds and here-Color Pupple Or Turtle Purples. The markings on his head are like none seen before, this is a new fellow for the census counting. The red eyes reveal that this is a male.

Trying to hide from the very annoying human who seems to be pointing this metal object at him from all angles, he momentarily gets stuck between the rusty barrel rings of the objet d’art sphere. Freeing himself with extra effort, he is now nestled between the reed woven exercize ball, a craft gone wrong, and the ball of metal hoops. The photobug/gardener decides to return to the gravel path and head up to the shed garden.

More snapping occurs. In the attempt to capture what the eye sees in the beauty of the Allium aflatunence ‘Purple Sensation’ seedheads, a dismal failure of pixels, there is another creature in the frame that was not noticed until the writing of this story began and the memory card contents were perused. Note the brave drawing of a colorful arrow to help you, dear readers see who is also checking out the shed bed.

Our first thought was, how did that turtle get up here so quickly? It is true that we may have dawdled at the zen garden, admired the knot garden fireworks and tried to get a decent picture of Veilchenblau in full decadent bloom on the other side of the shed roof. Did enough time pass for our turtle friend to walk the twenty-five feet up here?

A few shots are taken for identification purposes. The size seems to be about the same. But this appears to be a female, the eye is more tan than red. It has been said that the shells of turtles are distinctive, like human fingerprints, but studying the differences is tedious and time consuming. The spots on her faire head are definitely different from the turtle by the balls. There is one sure way to find out, however.

Returning to the spot where the male was last seen, he is gone. But further detective work finds him up near the base of one of the Chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mops’, just inches away from his last known whereabouts. He certainly is a flashy fellow, with that wildly decorated head and those piercing red eyes. This confirms it, two turtles were seen within mere minutes of each other on a bright, early May morning.

Oh happy day! This yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Every effort has been made to provide hospitality to creatures large and small, crawling, flying and walking. Some, like the birds, are so commonplace here as to be almost taken for granted when heard and seen. Nests are built in trees, shrubs and birdhouses we provide. Flowers attractive to pollinators as well as people are grown as best we know how and winged visitors abound. Water is provided, brush piles are maintained, there is no spraying of poisons. The payoff is when we discover other interesting characters sharing this space. It brings a smile. As does the fact that it is almost Lily season. (Lilium ‘Buff Pixie’)


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17 Responses to A Tale Of Two Turtles

  1. Layanee says:

    There must be some further good fortune waiting for you this day. Mother Nature is giving you prizes today. Keep your eyes open and tread lightly in the garden this beautiful day.

    Gosh Layanee, what more could I ask for than seeing these turtle amid my beloved gardens? I will keep my eyes open, though!

  2. gail says:

    Frances, They are beautiful critters and to have two in your garden is marvelous. You are a wonderful wildlife steward. The clemmies are lovely and so are the nigella flowers~xxoogail

    Thanks Gail. I know you are also a steward of wildlife. It is the right thing to do.

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What wonderful treasures Mother Nature is pouring in to your garden. They are lucky to have found your beautiful paradise.

    Thanks Lisa. I am a lucky gardener, and do the best I can to make this a safe place for all of Nature’s creatures. Except maybe mosquitoes!

  4. Larry says:

    What a neat post Frances… I always enjoy your posts! Larry

    Thanks for reading Larry, and those very kind words.

  5. My Kids Mom says:

    My boys and I rescued a two inch diameter turtle from the street yesterday. Teeny little thing we settled by the creek. There are many more still in hiding, but not in our yard I suppose. I haven’t added water features here for worry about mosquitoes, and our yard is largely fenced in, so unless creatures fly, climb or dig, they aren’t likely visiting.

    Oh Jill, how fun and cute! I have never seen one that small, but would love to. I hope your foundling likes it by the creek. We have seen the turtles crawl under the fences here, so you might have some and not know it.

  6. catmint says:

    Dear Frances, I must say your detective skills, in conjunction with your photographic and wildlife-attracting skills, make a darn good and very enjoyable post. cheers, catmint

    Hi Catmint, thanks, so nice to see you here. I do appreciate your sweet words! Cheers!

  7. That was one cool post my friend. Bear says la femme turtle is “cute.” I showed her the red eyes on the male. She and I didn’t know that fact. I saved a turtle yesterday from the paws of Tap. I placed him gently in the forest.~~Dee

    Thank you for those kind words, dear Dee. The turtles are cute to my eyes too, even the male. He was so different in his skin and even head shape. Thank goodness for your efforts to save the turtle from Tap. My dog long ago would dig at the hard shells until I would come to their rescue. How scary for them!

  8. Nell Jean says:

    Fun post, good detective work to identify that you have a pair. All I saw this morning were signs that an armadillo was here in the night.

    Thanks Nell Jean. Eeek to the armadillo. They can be very destructive in a garden.

  9. Our garden is too much in town for wild tortoises, but we often stop on country roads to escort them OUT OF the traffic.

    We are also in town, Diana, but there are turtles in older neighborhoods in most places. I know that a couple were brought here from traffic when my daughter lived in the house and were placed under the shed by well meaning friends. Those are probably the grandparents, or greatgrandparents of the ones I see now.

  10. Les says:

    This is indeed turtle season. Seems many of the get a case of wanderlust this time of year. I guess some are out seeking new territory or perhaps a new mate. I stopped the car in traffic yesterday to pick up a rather large painted turtle that got into the roadway, but was not going to get out because of the high curbing. I am not shore if he/she was grateful or just glad to be let go.

    Yes, Les, those poor turtles in the roads seem doomed. I believe friends of Semi brought at least two turtles here as street rescues long ago and placed them under the shed. This is a good safe place for them now, but I told Semi to ask them to just place them on the side of the road in the direction they were headed.

  11. How cool to have turtles in your garden. No turtles here.

    Thanks MMD. We loving having them here.

  12. Hi Frances,
    I am up past my bedtime trying to visit some blogs I haven’t made it to in awhile. This will be my last stop. I enjoyed reading about your fun garden walk, snapping those photos of the turtles and garden. I am so happy it’s spring. Now, I’m hoping for some 70 degree days. It’s either been hot or cold lately.

    Hi Sue, thanks for visiting and nice to see you here. I am glad to hear your spring has come. The weather has been strange here as well, extremes like you say.

  13. Sheila Read says:

    What a lovely and fun post. I felt I was in the garden, walking with you and sharing your joy in discovering the turtles. Your story of almost stepping on the turtle in the gravel reminded me of a time I almost stepped on a baby seal on the beach in Maine. It looked just like the other whitish gray boulders o the beach. Nature’s camouflage is amazing!

    Thanks Sheila. Wow to the baby seal, that must have been a jolt to the nervous system. I imagine those would be quite a bit larger than a turtle.

  14. Barbara says:

    I always love to read your fun view of your garden! What a treat you give to all the garden world :).

    Hi Barbara, thanks, so nice to see you here. I appreciate those kind words.

  15. Alistair says:

    Frances, I think most people in the uk would see your wildlife creature as a tortoise, as we normally associate turtles as sea creatures, do these ones come from the lakes. Beautiful photographs today.

    Thanks Alistair. Your comment sent me to do some more research and it seems that our turtles are similar looking to your tortoises, but are actually related to the water turtles. I appreciate your helping me to learn more about our creatures.

  16. Lola says:

    Nigella blooms, love them. 2 not 1, but 2 turtles in your garden. Marvelous. And being who or what they are maybe, just maybe you could have some babies?
    Love all the blooms in your garden.
    Yeaaaa, we are getting some much needed rain. Don’t like the thunder tho.

    Thanks Lola. We do believe that there are offspring among the turtle population here. I am glad to hear you are getting rain.

  17. ryan says:

    That’s great that you have turtles come through. I’m really jealous. We have a red-eared slider in a tank in our house, and we’ve occasionally put it in the garden for a little while, but it would dry out if it escaped. I would love to see a wild turtle wander through. Really great.

    Thanks Ryan. It is thrilling to stumble upon the turtles here. We have many, many skinks and other creatures. Most run away quickly when they see me coming. The turtles are too slow and large to get away without me being able to snap a few shots with the camera.

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