Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday

We had record rainfall in the spring, and then very hot temperatures with high heat indexes, which made getting out into the garden more of a challenge this season.  The time sure has slipped by, too, and now that the days are getting shorter, I am feeling sad, and trying to get out as much as I can.  Barring that, I open the front door and look to see if there are any insect visitors on the flowers. 

Here is my post for Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail, of Clay and Limestone.  I like the way she highlights flowers, giving information about them  I can't seem to find just one or two for a post, so I usually end up showing many of the native/wildflowers that are blooming.

The Illinois bundleflowers have just started blooming in the last couple of days.  I love the plants for the foliage and cool looking seedheads, which turn brown in the fall.


I think this is a bee of some kind that has found one of the blooms.


I love the native clematis pitcheri, and am thankful I have them in two spots.


The wild senna plants have been loaded with pollinators the last few days.


I trimmed back some plants, like this monarda fistula, so they would be bushier and less floppy.  This also caused a delay in blooming.  It's good to see they are now blooming.


This is Euphorbia, I think, corollata.  It is hard to photograph, but is one I wish I had more of this time of year.  I love the many little white blooms on them.


The hoary vervain given to me by a friend who has real prarie is almost finished blooming, but still looking good.


I got the prairie petunias started before I knew what they were.  There were some on the property where we built our church, and I liked them, so brought some home.  They self sow well, and I like the places they show up.


Usually, there are lots of insects feeding on plants, such as this short toothed mountain mint  There have been a few this year, but not as many as usual.


Black eyed susans and this ironweed have been blooming for a few days.  Some of the ironweeds are still in bud.


The gray headed coneflowers are not getting as many visitors as usual, but  I am glad there are some.


I've mentioned that I watch our granddaughter 4 days a week.  She turned a year the end of June.  I am thankful she loves looking at the flowers and insects.  She'll point, and say, "Pretty!"  We spent a few minutes yesterday looking at the multitudes of tiny black insects of some kind on the rattlesnake master blooms.  At least they are getting some activity, but then, not as much as usual, either.


Most of the liatris blooms are open, but the aspera and some others are still in bud.  I was glad to see a skipper today.


I was pleased to see what I think is a black swallowtail butterfly going to each clump of golden alexanders, hopefully, depositing eggs.  It was hard to get a photo, but I did manage to get a good shot of its shadow near the mountain mint that may have self sown, and be a cross between different ones here.


Gene, from a Facebook group, Gardening with Nature in Mind, told me these are gray-headed coneflowers when I posted them, thinking they were something different.  When I tried to remember what I thought they may be, I looked around on the internet, and finally figured it out, that yellow coneflowers, Ratibida pinnata are the same thing as gray headed coneflowers.  Here I already had enough to divide, but bought more, thinking they were something different.  I guess learning the scientific names is a good idea. These are in the bed across from where the others are.  I have also been adding other plants from across the sidewalk so that they look like a large planting area separated by the front sidewalk, so these will be fine here.


Since I mentioned Ruby, I thought I'd share a photo of her enjoying some dirt.


Some of the people in our Gardening with Nature in Mind are having some difficulty with one or a few neighbors due to their choice of gardening with prairie plants.  I hope people will become more in tune with nature one of these days and be thankful for neighbors who garden with native plants.  I hope none of you are experiencing problems like that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

View from the Corner

I sometimes do posts that show the view from our front porch.  As I was standing in the street, starting to take photos of the curb bed, I got the idea to take photos from that spot, and use my zoom like I do when on the porch to see what I can see.  After taking these photos, I decided to cut the liatris aspera plants that were way taller than the other plants in that part of the bed.  The purple poppy mallow plants are blooming away, and I've trimmed them to keep them from going too far out into the street.


Zooming toward the lovely fire hydrant, we see a good number of what look to be purple coneflowers.


Zooming across the sidewalk, to the west curb bed, there are more purple coneflowers, some baby's breath, and common milkweed, which is just starting to bloom.


Can you see down the sidewalk, that we have a neighbor who has no lawn at all?


I see phlox, switchgrass, I'm thinking, 'heavy metal', Mexican hats, New Jersey tea, liatris, little bluestem grass, and a common milkweed.


Zooming to the west, and into the back yard, the giant coneflower is blooming.  The baptisia is sporting seed pods, and the pale purple coneflower and yellow coneflowers are mingling.


Coming back to the east side, there are fewer purple coneflowers in this bed, because I pulled quite a few.  I have to watch for aster yellows, and so far, the pale ones have not had it.  The orange is a cultivar of sneeze weed.


Closer to the house, in the same bed, I think that's a gray headed coneflower getting ready to bloom.  I get it mixed up with another plant, that I'm not remembering the name of, but the blooms are very similar.  The orange blooms here are a daylily I've had for awhile.


Sweet black eyed susans should be blooming in a few weeks. The rattlesnake master is blooming shorter than usual.   

I backed off of the zoom to show a fuller view of the front bed, and the side of the house.


Here's a closer view of the east side of the house.  I like my zoom!  The spiderworts are getting a bit ragged.  The alliums will be soon.


False sunflower and coreopsis provide some yellow.  The huge green plant is an amsonia.  I think this is the best year the garden phlox have had.  I think all the rain we had this spring may be the reason.


The phlox are on the south side of the driveway.  The other plants are across to the north side.  I am not remembering what the huge, white blooming plant is, but we decided to take out the gas plant after I got burned from trimming this plant, even though I thought I had been careful not to touch it.  Larry was also worried the grandkids would get hurt by it.


I hope you are having a good start to your July.  Spring went by way too quickly for me.  I hope we get enough rain, but not as much as we did in the spring.  It's been hot enough, that the soil has gotten dry, though.  I saw some pretty big cracks last night, so the little bit of rain we got in the night was very appreciated.  (I wasn't consistent in providing links, because it is getting late, but the Lady Bird Johnson site is a good resource, and if you are curious about any native plant, you can do a search there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June's Wildflower Wednesday

I enjoyed reading Gail's Wildflower Wednesday post today, as always.  I like how she said we need to be willing to have imperfection due to insects feeding on the plants in order to provide for their needs, which in turn meets the needs of larger critters such as frogs, birds, etc.

I took a break from getting ready for a garage sale we are having Friday and took some photos for a WW post.  I know I've shown some of these blooms before, but wanted to have some with insects on them, and these must be their favorites.

This bee on the New Jersey tea was about half an inch.


The foxglove penstemons are almost finished blooming, and even though I've tied them up, they are flopping a bit.  Since they are still being fed from, I will keep them looking a bit untidy, embracing imperfection, like Gail recommended.


Here is another example of imperfection in the eyes of us.  I forgot what bulb this was, and wonder what this wasp was doing on it. 


In my last WW post, I showed a photo of lead plant.  It is a good looking plant all season.  It is now blooming in several places in the yard.  This is the first plant I got.  It takes a long time to reach full size, and I am thankful I was patient.  The blooms are visited by a number of kinds of small bees.  It is hard to get photos of them.  I realize I am not just showing wildflowers in this post.  The daylilies were planted by my mother-in-law when she lived here many years ago.  They are also visited by pollinators.  That's a spent foxglove beardtongue growing through the plant stake.


The blooms of leadplant are unique, and I think they are pretty cool.


I decided to include some longer views of the yard.  I was thinking about what Gail said about embracing imperfection.  I am thankful to live in a neighborhood where people stop from time to time, to let me know they like the flowers.  Some also take photos.  I sometimes hope they don't notice a blank spot or some other imperfection that has been bothering me.  I know they don't, though, because they are looking at the blooms.


I am not good at making plans for flower beds.  I am a plopper.  I want it that way, though.  I am taking liberties with Gail's them of embracing imperfection.  I do not strive for a neat and tidy look.


A few days ago, when a guy in a car told me how much he enjoys the flowers, I told him I am thankful to live in a neighborhood where they are accepted.  I said if this yard was in a different neighborhood, then he finished my sentence, saying something like others may consider it messy.  LOL  Can you see the common milkweed plants that will be blooming soon?
 

This is the area that bugs me the most.  I have some things too far apart, and others too close together. In the spring, there is a lot of dirt that shows.  Still, open ground is good for some insects.  We did have some ground nesting bees in there one year.


I pulled out a lot of the purple coneflowers from this area, hoping there will be less aster yellows.  Rabbits have eaten down some of the pale coneflowers, but at least there are some blooms.  The imperfection of plants being eaten down does bother me, I have to admit.  This has been the worse that I can remember, and I am hoping all of the plants recover.



This is back in the area in front of the fence where I was saying there is a lot of dirt that shows. I am glad to see the Mexican hats are blooming.


I may have mentioned that I am not seeing as many insects this year, but there seem to be more bees than butterflies.  The butterflies I do see are pretty flighty, and do not land on blooms long enough for me to get photos.


The purple milkweed on the side of the house is taller than that in the front yard.  I wonder if it's because it is surrounded by tall plants.  Milkweed blooms are one of my favorites.


Spring started out cool and wet.  It continued to rain a lot, then jumped into being hot.  It is 8:12 pm, central standard daylight savings, and 91 degrees!  I am thankful the plants are doing fine for the most part.  Yes, there are insect holes on the leaves, but they are supporting life.  There are also birds in the yard every day.   I hope you have been able to spend time in your less than perfect garden. 

Thank you to those who have left comments on my last two posts.  I plan to visit your blogs in the next week.