Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May's Wildflower Wednesday

I haven't been posting as much as I used to, but I am determined to at least post for Gail's Wildflower Wednesdays once a month.  I remembered last week, but the day came up, and oops, I didn't have my post ready.  I went out this morning, and took some photos, and here I am while our now 11 month old granddaughter is napping.  I watch her 4 days a week, and am kept very busy with her.  She is a sweet thing, though, and I think she is going to be a gardener.  She loves being outside, looking at flowers and getting excited when she sees insects.

The stars of the show so far have been the amsonias.  I decided I was going to look up the flowers I am posting about in my books and provide information on them like Gail does, but for some reason, they were not in books.  I know they are not native to Nebraska, but they aren't in the North American field guide I have, either.  They are in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower site, though.

This is Amsonia illustris, 3 to 6 feet, about 4 feet here, native to Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.   The site says the amsonias prefer part shade and moist conditions.  This one gets quite a bit of sun, and isn't always moist.  This spring, they have had lots of moisure, though, since we've broken a record for the most rain in May.  They are said to attract butterflies.  I'm not seeing as many butterflies as I was before all the rain, but I'm thinking there were some on the amsonia blooms. 

I wish the bloom time was longer.

I am pretty sure this one is tabernaemontana, but I could be wrong, because the Lady Bird Johnson site says it gets 1 to 3 feet.

I was thinking this one is also tabernaemontana.  I wish I had a better memory.  The false baptisa plants sure are doing well this season!  I have seen bumblebees on them.

These two plants have been growing next to each other for a number of years.

Amsonia hubrichtii is only native to Arkansas and Oklahoma.  They sure do well here, and look good in all seasons.

Leadplant has a good amount of native range, including Nebraska.  It is a slow grower, and sometimes needs protection from rabbits, but I'm so glad I stuck with it, and planted more once I figured out how much I like it.  It's another with blooms the pollinators are attracted to, and can be dried to make tea with.  This one is growing next to a day lily my mother-in-law planted when she was alive and lived here.  That's a penstemon in front of it.

Here's another hubrichtii growing in the front yard.  The yellow bloom is golden alexanders.

I managed to protect a clump of phlox pilosa, one Gail loves, from the rabbits.  This one may be a cultivar, though.  I planted some of each, and don't remember where each was planted. I sure am enjoying the golden alexanders!  They are a host plant for black swallowtails and are visited by native bees.  I have seen a few caterpillars on them in the past, and hope to this year as well.

When I hear reports of flooding and severe weather, I try to remember who I know from blogging who lives in those areas.  I hope all of you are OK and able to enjoy being in your gardens, or are able to make the repairs needed so you can.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The First Salad Thinnings of 2015

I think I didn't do many posts on the vegetable garden last year, and don't know how many I'll get done this year, but I need to at least post on my first salad from the garden!  (I did add some things from the store, though.) The garden is on the north side of our garage, so part of it gets shaded some of the day.

This is looking south from the driveway.

Looking west from the garden entrance, I didn't show the rabbit barricade I have to lift my legs over to get into the garden from.  We need to come up with a better way to keep them out, and get me in.  Plus, they have managed to squeeze in a few times when I didn't get the wire back up high enough.

The strawberries escaped from a tub, and I decided to let them stay.  Our neighbors have a locust tree on the north side of the garden, which sends up more and more little trees I need to cut back from all over the garden.  I suppose that means there are tree roots taking moisture and nutrients away from the garden, and if the strawberries do well, I'll let them roam around some more.

I have lots coming up!  I started planting in January, and can't remember when I planted these, but it was probably March.  There is some asparagus in here that came up from the plants across the garden.  I decided to keep them there and see how they do.  I have random flowers on the side of the garage, goldenrod, brown eyed susans, and sometimes the white blooming obedient plants escape my pulling.

I like to have an assortment of lettuces, spinach, kale, radishes, and such.  I am thinning out the volunteer dill plants that come up so thickly.

This is such a pretty sight to me!

I hope to get lots of soup made with the spinach, kale and carrots this year.

I've mentioned this is the hardneck garlic that my mother-in-law had growing here.  I didn't know how to take care of it, so it got quite thick before I learned that you harvest it when it dies back, and replant it in the fall.  I hope to get the rhubarb harvested this year and used for something.  It is always picking time when I have the most other gardening jobs to get done.

I hope the resident garter snakes are enjoying their digs.  Soon, I will be turning part of the compost over to get it cooking.

Looking back to the east:

I have been pulling hollyhocks out of the garden for a few years, but it looks like I may be letting a clump grow this year.  Peas are one of the favorites of rabbits.

I see they found this row.

 I just have a small patch of asparagus, and we end up buying a lot of it from the farmer's market, but still, I am hoping for each year to have more.  I didn't get it fertilized this year, other than putting compost on it in the fall, but did use something organic last year.  What organic fertilizers have you found to work well with asparagus?

Walking further east:

Are you tired of lettuce close ups?  ;-)

It doesn't look like the rabbits got to these peas.  I planted them so closely because the seeds were a few years old, but it looks like they all came up.  I thinned them once, and put the tops in with some mushrooms, asparagus, and violet leaves and blooms.  I should probably thin them a little more  One of the seed packages said to plant them pretty close together, though.

I may decide to take out this volunteer spiderwort.  I will also take out some of the smaller violet clumps that have popped up.  I'll keep these, though.

I am not sure what the shiny green plant is.  Do you know?  It must have come in one of my mixes.

The lacy plants are annual larkspurs, and the longer leaved ones are bachelor buttons.  They and verbena bonariensis come up in the veggie garden every year, and I need to thin them out.

Today was the first day I made it out to start the thinning.  It's one of my favorite things to do, and one only a gardener would have the patience for.  I pull out clumps or individual plants, pull off the roots, and place them in a bowl.  I was hoping this was going to be enough to share with the neighbor whose yard I am also gardening in, so I did not pick any violets until I went in, and kept them separate.  I wasn't sure if she'd like them. 

I took this photo after the thinning.  There is still plenty to grow and thin again in a couple days.

I ended up not gardening much today, because I made some whole wheat sour dough with 1/3 cup rice flour in each loaf.  I enjoyed my lunch, and only had a bit of the thinnings I didn't use.  I want to pick some from her yard tomorrow if it works out, and will get some to her then.

I have not gotten to those who have visited here for my last couple of posts.  I hope to get those visits returned soon.  Happy gardening, or looking forward to gardening!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday

I have had a busy day, but did remember to go out this morning to take some photos for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.  I like the way she focuses on one or a few plants at a time and provides good information about them.  I tend to try to show what all native plants I have blooming on the day, but one of these times, I just may do it her way.  I did provide links for those who want to find more information on the plants, though. I am so happy that spring is here, and there are a number of plants blooming!

I think I've posted the lovely blooms of the ground plum milkvetch that I just planted last year.  There are 3 of them in the curb area, and each is a different size.  This is the largest one, and I am tickled at all of the blooms, and that they are lasting longer than many of the spring blooms.

I am posting the Fremont's clematis again, because it's, another of my favorites.  I am so happy that the mature clump I divided into 2 survived the move.

I just looked up merrybells and see they are not native here.  I just have a couple, and they are quite small, but are a welcome bit of color.

Someone in the Facebook group, Gardening with Nature in Mind recently identified this for me, and I think he said it was an anemone of some kind, but I am not remembering the common name he said.  There are a number of kinds, and the ones I found have similar blooms, but differently shaped leaves.

The pasque flowers are finishing up already, but the seedheads will look good for awhile.  (I have different kinds of these, and as it turns out, some are not the native ones.  I think these are, but I am not sure which are which for some of them.)

It is hard to photograph native coral bells, heuchera richardsonii.  I sure enjoy them, and the foliage looks good  even in the winter, turning a reddish, if I'm remembering correctly.

I am pretty sure this is purple prairie verbena.   It is a native that a friend of mine dug up at her acreage.  It is a good plant for the edges of a flower bed or if one would need a ground cover.

Woodland phlox is another of my favorites, and also one of the rabbits' to eat.  We seem to have a bumper crop of rabbits this year, so I am protecting this clump, and put a basket over another clump that had been eaten down, so hopefully, it will bloom still.

The clump of Virginia bluebells is getting a little larger each year.

Some of the native columbines mixed with non-natives that used to be in the area, and some of them have larger blooms.  I see more of them this year are back to having the smaller ones.

Amsonia hubrichtii is another of my favorites, with their many about half inch star shaped blooms, but by next month, they will probably be finished blooming, so I'll show them in bud.  The plants will grow more, too.  I am sad, because in finding the link to provide, I saw that these are not native here or to areas close by.  At least they are native somewhere, though, and do grow well here.

I took this photo of violets in the vegetable garden with my zoom, and the blurry images are a tomato cage.  We have eaten a few leaves and blooms.  I let Larry know that after we had them in some mushrooms with a bit of asparagus from our garden, and some spinach from the store.

Happy spring, garden blogging friends!  We got down to 26 this morning, but warmed back into the lower 60s.  I think we are expecting some cooler days, but nothing that should hurt the plants.  I know some of you still have snow on the ground, but soon you will be joining the rest of us.  Hang in there!