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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

September 2018 Wildflower Wednesday

Oh, my goodness!  How did it get to be September already?  Many plants are finished blooming for the season, but the fall bloomers are in full swing, adding beauty and nectar for the pollinators.  It is awesome to be outside with butterflies and such flying around! 

The plant I am going to feature for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday this time is one that is new to me.  I don't remember if I planted it last year, but this is the first season for it to bloom.  It has been fun to watch the Helianthus maximiliani grow and then bloom.  I have to admit to tying it up for support, as I have done with a number of tall or floppy plants.  Here is information from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

I have these in pretty much full sun, in an area that gets hit with the sprinkler system my husband uses on the lawn when it has not been raining in awhile.

I wrote down the dates in the order the photos were taken, but for some reason, they didn't load in order.  I rearranged them, and decided to delete a few, but I think I figured out the dates these were taken.

I can tell this one is from July 26.  It is definitely not an early bloomer.


This must have been taken August 3.  Last month's featured plant, Cleome serrulata, Rocky Mountain Bee plant was in full bloom here, and the Maximilian sunflowers were still not ready to bloom.  Can you see the sunflower foliage in the middle?


This was taken September 14.  Look!  There are flower buds!


Here is what the top looked like the same day.


The next few were taken this week.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower site says these get 3 to 10 feet tall in one area of the page, and on another 3 to 6 feet.  That is quite a range!  The tallest stem here is about five feet high.  The blooms face east.


The white seed heads are Pale Indian Plantain.  I saw a wasp on one of them today.  I don't know if there was any pollen on there or not.


I have seen butterflies and a few bees on the blooms, but not always when I have my camera handy.  I read that numerous birds eat the seeds.  I just hope the squirrels here don't eat them all.


Here is what the Cleome serrulata plants look like this week:


This one loaded sideways for some reason.


But wait!  I need to show some photos of the action on the New England Asters, which I most likely have featured before.  They are the hot spot for the pollinators this week.  I counted 8 monarchs in this spot today, a bordered patch, and a bedraggled buckeye. This is a volunteer plant.  I am not sure how long it has been here, but the older clumps had a disease of some kind, and I cut them back.  Some of those are getting ready to bloom, and one has no buds yet.  I am thankful for the healthy volunteers!




I hope to get more blogs visited next week. I have a lot going on this week, getting ready for a native plant/seed share this Saturday for the local members of a FB group, Gardening with Nature in Mind. I know I've said this before, but I miss visiting blogs like I used to, now that I am spending so much time on Facebook.

Added After First Posted:
The next day, I saw a bordered patch butterfly and a buckeye butterfly on the sunflower blooms, and took some photos:


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 2018 Wildflower Wednesday

I get to do my Wildflower Wednesday post on a plant I've never grown before.  This monthly event is hosted by Gail, of Clay and Limestone.

I had grown the non-native cleomes a number of years.  I was pleased that someone, and I am not remembering who, sent me some seeds of the native kind, called Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, Cleome serrulata.  Then some people in the Facebook group, Gardening with Nature in Mind brought some seedlings to a share we had, and I took one to plant in another spot.  They both did well, and I am pleased they have had a number of insect visitors.

The photos are from different days, but did not get put in the order I tried to get them in, so just know that the ones with the green house in the background are the ones I planted from seed in the fall.  The other is in the east front bed.

Cleome serrulata is a self sowing annual.  I will collect seeds and plant some just in case it is not as reliable at it as the non-native ones I used to grow.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says the plant gets 3 to 6 feet, and does well in sun to part shade.  Mine are about three feet tall.  It says the water use is medium, but then says dry later in the information.  It is not overly dry here.  The one by the house probably gets a bit less water than the other one. 


This one in the front yard is kind of growing in the same space as a maximilian sunflower I don't remember planting.    It seems to be holding its own.


 The blooms on this one may be a little lighter colored than the other ones.


Can you see the visitors to the blooms here?


These are in the front yard:


I have enjoyed seeing all of the pollinators on the blooms.



 The next two photos are out of order because a few of the photos did not show up when I first uploaded them, and I had to do them separately.  I just noticed seed pods today, and think I will take them off to promote more blooming.  That's how it works with most annuals.  Do you have experience with these and deadheading them? 



This photo was taken today.


In looking for more information to share, I found out from the USDA database that it can be considered a weed, and one of the sources they used is a book I have, Weeds of the Great Plains, published by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.  I looked it up in my book, and found that the seeds are a valuable food for mourning doves and songbirds, and it is a source of nectar for butterflies and night flying moths.  A number of plants in our yard are in the book as well, such as heath aster, tall thistle, Helenim autmnale, which is a favorite of the bees here, lambsleaf sage, purple poppy mallow, and others.  I guess they are all in good company.  ;-)

I look forward to finding more spots for these showy blooms that provide for the pollinators.  I hope all is well with whoever is reading this. I have not been posting except for Wildflower Wednesday, and have not kept up with the blogs I used to frequent.