Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mountain Mints

There are several kinds of mountain mints, and I seem to have a collection of a number of them.  It has been amazing to go out and see what all insects are feeding from the blooms all day long! 

The first four photos are narrowleaf mountain mint.  It isn't getting as many visitors as the others, but maybe it is because the area is more shaded.

The next four are the mountain mint next to the front walk that probably gets the most pollinators on it.  I asked our five year old granddaughter to come see all of the different insects on these blooms today, and explained that if she doesn't try to touch them, she can watch them, and they won't sting her.  She asked if she could talk to them, and she said something very sweet to them.  I told her they didn't know what she was saying, though.  Then we went to other parts of the yard to see the bees, butterflies and such.

The rest of these are short-toothed mountain mint.

I have a couple more kinds, but didn't get photos of them into the post. I hope to do another post showing those.

Cleome Serrulata, Wildflower Wednesday

Cleome serrulata is a native self sowing annual.  I was tickled to get some seeds at a plant/seed share, I think, last season. It is the first year I have had them in front of our picture window, anyway.    Planted in the fall, they come up in the spring. I am posting to participate in Gail's at Clay and Limestone Wildflower Wednesday.

Of all the plants in the yard, this plant, also called Rocky Mountain beeplant has had the longest bloom time, and has attracted about as many pollinators as the different kinds of mountain mints. It has been fun seeing lots of American ladies earlier in the season, and now, painted ladies on the blooms

I am signed up for a class on bee identification in August.  I hope to be able to remember the names of the bees on the blooms in the yard.  It is fun seeing a number of different kinds here.

I am not remembering what this yellow creature is.  I always like to see different kinds of insects feeding near each other.  They seem to be better at sharing than we are sometimes.

I am thinking these are a sweat bee of some kind.  It is fun to watch them balancing like this.

 The Lady Bird Johnson site says they get 3 to 6 feet tall.  These are at least 4 feet tall.  They do well in dry soil, and sun to part sun. In addition to providing for bees and butterflies, doves and other small birds eat the seeds.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

October Wildflower Wednesday/East Bed Update

The garden season is wrapping up, and there are not many blooms left.  We had a heavy, wet snow a week and a half ago, which caused a number of plants to break or lean over.  I am glad most have perked up and are showing nice fall colors.  I decided to do a post showing the east front bed instead of focusing on one plant for Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone.  I want to look at some older posts to see changes over time.  I am in the process of making changes to a number of areas, including this bed.  I wonder if I will reach a point where I won't want to keep making the changes. I tend to plop plants in without a design, and while there are lots of blooms and pollinators, there are also holes that are not quite big enough for a plant the size of the ones around the space.

I am not a fan of the eastern fox squirrels we have, but we co-exist the best we can. 

The squirrel is eating some of the seeds I scattered from the maximillian sunflower, and maybe the rosinweed, after removing a wild senna that was taking up too much space.  I also scattered some pale Indian plantain seeds in the area.  I don't know if they eat those.

I skipped over some of the west side of the area, and went to the front of the bed, where we are facing south.  I think my plan was to start here with the photos, and not include the squirrel photos, but I changed my mind.  The tall plant on the left is sweet black eyed susan.  The brown plant in the middle is one of the sneezeweed plants that have self sown around.  The other ones are not as brown as this one.  I am also seeing brown coneflower plants and seedheads that the birds have been eating from.  The sign shows we are a Monarch Waystation.

The New England aster in front did not bloom this year.  I cut several of them back, because they had a disease that was causing the leaves to turn brown.  The others bloomed, thankfully, and I am glad the foliage that came back is looking better.  The brown stem is common milkweed.

The green foliage next to the sign is one of a number of amsonias of different kinds, which seem to have cross pollinated with each other and given me my own kind of amsonias.  They are loaded with lovely blue blooms in the spring, but need to be trimmed back a couple or so times in the summer so they won't flop over.  I am thinking about taking some out to make room for other plants with longer bloom times.  I need to figure out which ones.

This is facing west. The brown seed heads are yellow giant hyssop, a new to me plant that I am enjoying.  My memory has not been very good the last few months.  This is either the first or second season for this lovely plant, which I have two of.  Oh, I also scattered some seeds from it in the area where I made a space for seeds.  The plant to the right is gray headed coneflower.  The tall plant in the back is cup plant, which is on the other side of the front sidewalk.

You can tell it is fall!  The yellow amsonia hubrichtii will be staying.

You would not see a number of the plants I have, such as maximillian sunflower and meadow rue, the plant with the lovely colors growing together in nature, but they seem to do OK here.

This amsonia on the left side of the photo may be one that I dig out at some point.  The sweet black eyed susan is flopping.  Oh, the little shrub on the right is an American black current.  It replaced the butterfly bush that had been there before I found out the seeds can get into the waterway and grow down the way, crowding out native plants.

We turned the corner and are facing north.  The area between the bicycle and the fence is where the seeds are planted.

I wish I could remember which kinds of asters are which.  They have self sown around.  I don't even notice them much until they bloom.  It is fun to see the different kinds of pollinators that depend on them in the fall.

Here is where we started with the squirrel.  I was thinking the plant with the tall brown seed heads was prairie bush clover, but just now, when I did a search, I think I figured out that it is round-headed bush clover.  I had two of them, but one died after after a few years.  The asters and mountain mint are mingling nicely.

The liatris by the fake bird house has grown here a number of years.  I don't remember what kind it is.

Here is the maximillian sunflower clump that I scattered some seeds from in the other area. I was pleased to read recently in Heather Holm's Pollinators of Native Plants that it is a host plant for silvery checkerspots and bordered patch butterflies, which must explain why I saw bordered patch butterflies several times this season.  I don't remember seeing them in the past, but there may have been an occasional one.  There have usually been some silvery checkerspots around, and I did see some of those this season as well.  There is a bordered patch on the asters in the header photo.  (There are some seedheads of pale Indian plantain leaning on the sunflowers.)

I wasn't remembering what the plant next to the stake is, until I asked in the Facebook group, Gardening with Nature in Mind, and was told it is rosinweed.  I may have picked it up in one of our plant shares we have for the local members.

We are back to the sweet black eyed susan.  I think I am going to trim them back early in the season so they won't get as tall and flop.

I don't know what I was thinking when I planted pussy toes in an area with tall plants around it, but the clump has spread, and looks to like it there.  There is a bare space behind this, where I planted some prairie milkweed plants, which did not grow much. I hope they do better next year.

I am thankful for our yard, and hope to start using my time more wisely, so I can be outside more. I hope all is well with you and your gardens.