Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September's Wildflower Wednesday

I've enjoyed seeing more and more butterflies, bees, and other pollinators the past couple of weeks.  I'm sad that a number of flowers are finished blooming, but am pleased to see the asters, pitcher sage, and some of the goldenrods blooming to showcase for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.

The New England asters have self sown around the yard, and the pollinators have found them.  Even though I cut them back this spring, the stems got a disease on them.  Still, they are loaded with blooms, and pollinators.  This particular clump had the most sulphurs, skippers, various kinds of bees, monarchs, and painted ladies on it.

The most monarchs I have seen in a day this season was seven.  In the past, there have been more.  I hope next year is better.

How many hoverflies and bees do you see?

There have been a number of painted lady butterflies around, and now there are also some American ladies.  I can tell this is one because of the two large eyespots.  I see pussytoes is a host plant.  I am pleased to have some of that for them.

There have been several kinds of sulphurs.  I enjoy seeing bees and butterflies feeding peacefully near each other.

I was thinking this was a duskywing of some kind, but Cynthia, Gaia Gardener suggested it may be checkered skipper.  How cool!  I've never heard of that.  I looked it up, and think she is right.

The goldenrod, 'Wichita Mountains' also draws a number of butterflies and bees.  I just looked it up, and read that the blooms and leaves are edible.  Have you ever tried it?

I am pretty sure the bluish and orange butterfly is a gray hairstreak.

This was taken at a different time of the day when the area was shaded.

Pitcher sage is another one that self sows around the yard, and I love the blue blooms.  They usually have a butterfly or more on the blooms.  I cut most of the plants back late spring so they will be bushier and a bit shorter.

I have seen more silver spotted skippers this year than any other I can remember.

This has more spots than the American lady.  This is a painted lady.  I think there have been more of these than other seasons, too.

I just got a big leaf aster plant a couple years ago, and am enjoying the blooms.  It is spreading around a bit, and does not seem to be as appealing to the rabbits to eat as some of the other asters.  I looked at my last couple of posts, and saw that I'd already included this in one.  I didn't remember it had been blooming that long.  That's good to know, since there are some that do not have a long bloom time.

It is a host plant for several caterpilllars. Do you know what kind this is?

It has been a hot summer and fall.  I am glad the highs this week are going to be in the 70s, instead of the 90s like they were last week.  I am almost ready for winter to be here, so we can start over with spring, and hope for milder weather.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday, August, 2016

I tend to post a lot of photos in my Wildflower Wednesday posts, and today is no exception.  I am glad Gail from Clay and Limestone created this, as it keeps me posting at least once a month.  I did something a little different this time.  For quite a few plants, I have a photo of a whole plant, and then a close up.  I tried to include as many insects as I could in the close ups.

The joe pye plants in the yard have been full of bees each time I go out.   There are usually around 10 in this one at a time.

The Illinois bundleflower buds will be turning brown soon.  This plant got taller than usual this year.  As with a number of other plants, I had to tie it up so it wouldn't fall over.

The cup plant has been getting larger each year. Next year, I want to cut it back a bit from the sidewalk, so it doesn't flop over it as much.

Flowering spurge gets visits from tiny insects that I have trouble getting photos of.

I had to catch this photo of the monarch on the liatris, which I am thinking is scariosa.

The brown eyed susans, coneflowers, and blue mistflowers are filling up any bare spots in this area!  I think I see a clump of riddell's goldenrod that will be blooming soon in there, too.

There were no visitors this time, but these blooms are being utilized by some pollinators.

I think this is the third season for the big leaf asters, and maybe the first year they've bloomed.  Most of the asters were eaten down by the rabbits, so I am glad these are blooming.

The native Helen's flower got huge because I didn't cut many plants back this spring, hoping for more blooms on the tour we were on on Father's Day.  Next year, they should be shorter and bushier if I get them pruned.

They are drawing in several kinds of pollinators, some quite small.

I cut back the liatris aspera in this curb area in the spring.  I'm glad it took it fine, and is blooming.

There is usually at least one bee on it.

The hoary vervain is having another flush of blooms, since I deadheaded it in the spring.  The several butterfly milkweed plants around are looking great.

Ironweed is one that self sows around.

These normally have insects on them, but didn't when I took the photos.

Someone's honey could be pretty tasty, since the bees are feeding on short tothed mountain mint.  Another clump had one of the black wasps that are frequent guests.

This is a native plant given to me from a member of a Facebook group we are in, Gardening with Nature in Mind.  I'll need to look up the name of it.

I hope we start seeing more butterflies soon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hot July Wildflower Wednesday

I have been very lax in posting and reading other blogs.  I want to at least participate in Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, even though I missed it last month.  Our yard was on our local Wachiska Audubon Society's wildlife habitat garden tour on Father's Day, and the next week, the Nebraska Herbal Society came for a tour and slide show of plants that are pollinator friendly.  While I thoroughly enjoyed doing this, I plan on being on no tours next year!  One change I made to the way I normally garden was not cutting back plants like sweet black eyed susans, and gray headed coneflower in order for them to be less floppy, because that also causes them to bloom later, and I was hoping for as many blooms as possible.  I am planning on letting plants grow closer to each other next year, too, so there is less dirt exposed.  I also want to start watering much less.  Maybe I won't need to cut back as much.

Gail highlighted Joe Pye Weed this month.  Mine are just starting to open their buds.  I am doing what I usually end up doing, and show a number of plants that are currently blooming.  I did leave some out this time, but did get a number of them.  I thought I'd include some wider views first. The coneflowers and liatris are doing well.

This is the west side of the front yard.

Here is the east side of the front.  The black eyed susans are in their full glory.

False sunflowers are the first plant that was chosen for the first flower bed that was made when Larry agreed not to plant grass back where the soil was dug to put in an egress window.  These are not in their original spot because there wasn't enough light, and they tended to flop.

It's been fun to watch the bees feed on the clematis pitcherii blooms.

The sweet black eyed susans were not blooming for the tours, but are now.

I think this may be a cross between Virginia and short toothed mountain mints. I don't remember planting it in this spot.  The wasps and such feed on this as much as the others.

I believe this is a hover fly on the black eyed susan bloom.

Whorled milkweed is one of my favorite plants, but is hard to photograph.  It is one of the last to come up in the spring, but is pretty hardy.  This one has a milkweed bug and aphids on it, but it will be fine.

The upright prairie coneflower plants are doing well.

I think I see the most diversity of bees on the gray headed coneflowers.

Wild quinine is another of my favorite plants.  It has a long bloom time, and provides for a number of different insects.

I frequently see bees on the monarda fistulosa.

What draws the most bees at a time are the wild sennas.

I am very sad not to be seeing many butterflies this year.  There are a few here and there, but normally, this time of year, there are almost always some when I go out to check.  I have heard others in different parts of the country say the same thing, so it must not be due to all the rain we had this spring, and then the very hot temperatures.  I guess that happened over much of the country as well, too, though.  I wonder what's going on, and if they will be able to recover and there will be more in the future.  Let's all do our parts and not use pesticides.