Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday

The season flew by too quickly, and here we have arrived at September's Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail, at Clay and Limestone.  My previous post was on the different kinds of goldenrod that I grow, so I won't be including them right now.  They are still the stars of the show, but others have joined them.  We have had a good amount of rain this year, so most of the plants are doing quite well.  Some of the goldenrods have white on the leaves from a disease of some kind, I'm thinking from more moisture or humidity than is best for them.  I looked up powdery mildew, and the images I saw were worse than what mine look like.

I trimmed back the asters this year, especially the New England ones, because they get so leggy and get a disease on the lower stems.  They still have that, but they are loaded with buds, a few of which have opened, and been found by pollinators.  This is a sweat bee of some kind.

The brown eyed susans have been blooming a week or two, and are still looking pretty good.

This Clematis pitherii is on a second flush of blooms, and a bumble bee is taking full advantage of it!

I normally cut the beautyberry bushes back early summer so they won't sprawl, but did not get to it this year.  They are doing OK, though.

The common milkweeds have been getting a disease the last few years.  The pods have black on them.  A friend of mine said that if the seeds look OK, they probably were protected inside the pods.  In my searching to learn about diseases they can have, I read that one should cut some of the plants back about half so there will be new growth for the caterpillars.  Do you do that?

Illinois bundleflowers are pretty even after they bloom.  The seed pods turn a beautiful dark brown, and the foliage looks good.

I am pleased to have locally native pitcher sage in different spots in the yard.  The pollinators seem to be as well.

Sometimes the blooms of a Pitcher sage will be white.  There is one clump of the white this year.

I am not sure what kind of ex-aster this is.  I wonder if it is a heath aster.

I took this another day when there was a tiny bee on it.  I do not know what kind of bee it is.  Do you?

With the days getting shorter, I guess I am accepting that it is fall.  I hope to let myself enjoy it.  Usually I am struggling because I do not like winter.  If spring weather would arrive here in March instead of April or May, I would not mind winter as much.  I hope you are having a good fall, with plenty of wildflowers to enjoy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


There are several kinds of goldenrod growing in our yard.  I don't remember what kind this first one is, but I've had this kind for quite a few years, and it has seeded itself around the yard.  It looks the closest to the native goldenrod most people are familiar with, which some blame for hay fever, but the true culprits are wind pollinated plants, such as ragweed.

Stiff goldenrod, Oligoneuron rigidum, native to our area, is also seeding some in the yard, but is not stiff.    I tie it up, but it still flops, especially this year, I think, because of all the rain we've had maybe.  Next year, I plan to cut it back in the spring to see if it will bush out more and not flop.

Still, there have been pollinators and other critters making use of them.


The day after these were taken, I noticed a whole lot of activity on the Stiff goldenrod, so took more photos.

There are several clumps of Riddell's goldenrod, Oligoneuron riddelli, native to the states north, south and east of us, and only this one is sprawling.  I'll try to get it tied up in the next few days.

This is also Riddell's goldenrod, directly behind the sprawling clump.

These plants had the most activity today.  I wish I could remember the names of the wasps and bees that visit the plants.

There were three wasps on the blooms.  The one on the left was smaller than the one on the right, which is also in the previous photo.  There was a third one that I'm thinking was the size of the smaller one.

This is one of the smaller ones.  After looking at the photos, I'm thinking the smaller ones were the same kind of wasp as the larger one, so maybe it's because one is male or female, and the other two are the other.

This is another photo of the larger one.

This clump may be a self sown one from across the yard.  It is smaller than the others, and nice and upright.  The bicycle also provides some support for it.

 It also had some visitors.  I'm not sure what kind of bee this is, but it is smaller than a honey bee.

There were different kinds of wasps as well.  My hand got very close to most of the bees and wasps, like it usually does.  With this one, I got within a couple inches, and it did not seem phased.

I am not sure what the three small insects are, but they were very tiny.  The one on the right may be a sweat bee.

This wasp was smaller than the others, maybe 3/4 to an inch.

Zigzag goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis, is difficult for me to photograph.  This is one that can take some shade and likes moisture.

Here is a closer view of the blooms.  This does get visited by insects, but not as many as some of the other goldenrods.

Fireworks goldenrod, Solidago rugosa, 'Fireworks' is a fun cultivar I bought several of from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum plant sales.

It has just started to bloom.  I only saw one insect on it this day.

In the back yard, the 'Wichita mountains' goldenrod, Solidao, 'Wichita Mountains' blooms are not quite open, but should be soon.  This is one that gets lots of insect activity.

What kinds of goldenrod do you grow?  Do you see lots of activity on them?  I am not ready for fall, but we sure are having cooler temperatures.  I think this week is expected to have highs in the 70s.  I guess that does sound good.