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 theme 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.  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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

View from the Front Porch

Every once in awhile, I like to stand on the porch and take some photos.  It's fun to see the changes over the season.

I trimmed back the joe pye weed last week because the ends were drooping in the heat of the afternoons, and so it will take up as much room over the sidewalk.  I've had to tie up a number of plants due to how tall and floppy they are getting due to all of the rain we've had.  The meadow rue plants were falling down before I tied a string around them.

The wild quinine blooms are outlasting the golden alexanders.  Soon, the mountain mint and liatris will be blooming.

I dug out quite a few purple coneflowers this year.  Some of them have been getting aster yellows, so I didn't want as many as there were last year.  The pale purple coneflowers are looking good, but rabbits have eaten some of them down, and reduced the amount of blooms.  Purple prairie clover is one of my favorites, and one of the favorites of rabbits, so I have them caged.

I cut some of the stems off of the cup plant so it can't droop over the sidewalk.  Rabbits ate some of the Illinois bundleflower foliage.  I'm glad they didn't get it all.

When I planted this mallow, I didn't realize it was a taller kind.  The white blooms on the other side of the chair are another mallow cultivar.

Gray-headed coneflowers are about to bloom.  The wild senna foliage is looking awesome, and the rudbeckia maxima is blooming shorter than usual.

I had to tie up the fleabane the other day, because it was falling over.  I also have been tying up the lanceleaf coreopsis plants.  The blooms under the bench are the native purple poppy mallows.

The clematis pitcheri on the trelllis has needed to be cut back since it has run out of support.  For some reason, the younger one is blooming before this one.  That's yarrow near the grass, a switchgrass cultivar I'm not remembering the name of.

I think these are outhouse flowers.  They are going to have to come out this fall, though, because we are getting water into our basement from this raised flower box that was there, I think, when the house was built.  I am not sure what his plan is, but I think it involves cement.

Even though we've had way more rain than normal this season, the heat the last few days has dried out the vegetable garden and the pots.  I heard there were some bad storms east of us today.  I hope all of you are safe and sound, getting some gardening it.  My efforts at working across the street today were met with aggressive mosquitoes.  I don't have the stamina for the heat as much as I used to, but I will keep at it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bloom Day

I haven't been posting a lot, and have not submitted a post for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens for quite awhile.  I decided to participate this month with some blooms from the front yard.  Here's the view from the porch.

Stepping down, we see the allium of some kind blooming.  I am bad about remembering the exact names of some of the plants.  I have seen some small insects on these blooms.

 This isn't the best photo of the wild quinine, but I included it because of the red admiral butterfly, which I did not see until I looked at the photo.

Here's a closer view of the wild quinine, with an insect I see on it a lot.

I have several clumps of purple prairie clover, some native, and some, 'Stephanie'.  This plant is blooming first.  I think it's 'Stephanie'.

This is either tall or purple meadow rue.  We've had lots of rain this spring, with the wettest May on record.  Many plants are taller than usual.  I am not sure if these are, but they are quite tall, about 6 or 7 feet.  I had to tie them up so they wouldn't fall over.

Echinacea paradoxa and echinacea pallida

I think that's New Jersey tea toward the back on the left, with lead plant and pink primrose.

I am not thinking of the cultivar name of this sneezeweed.

Poppy mallow does well, even in the curb area.  I clipped back the growth that was going into the street.

The butterfly milkweeds and catmints are blooming.

Emily, a local member of a Facebook group I administer called Gardening with Nature in Mind posted a photo of this with the name, which I appreciated, because I had forgotten what it is, and sure do like it.  I believe this is the first year for this Penstemon cobea x P. triflorus to bloom.  It's still pretty, even when almost finished blooming.

The foxglove penstemons are almost finished blooming as well.  I have been seeing small, fast flying bees on them, but have had trouble catching them with the camera.

I am tickled that the white wild indigo is blooming for the first time, after 3 or 4 years in this spot.

I don't remember whether I planted this fleabane, or if it is a volunteer, but I like the spot it's in.

I am needing to tie up the lanceleaf coreopsis this year.  I don't remember if I've had to before, but this is only the second or third year I've grown them.  I see bees on them as well.

I believe this is bushy bluebell clematis.

The foxglove is almost finished blooming.  I wish it had a longer bloom time, but it sure has done well each year. It's been in this spot quite awhile, maybe 6 years.

I am sad that the golden alexanders have some kind of disease on their leaves.  I cut most of them back today, hoping new leaves will grow.  They are one of my favorite spring bloomers, and are visited by a nice variety of insects.

Here's a photo of one that I cut back.  I tried to look up what the problem may be, and wonder if it's leaf spot.  What do you think?

 It's been a frustrating garden season for me.  There have been more bunnies than usual, and they are eating all kinds of things they do not normally eat.  I wish they would not eat things clear to the ground!  I am caging more plants than usual, but do not have enough cages and fencing for everything.

With all the rain we've had, I haven't been able to get into the garden as much as I need to.  The weeds are really taking advantage of the moisture and are quite healthy.  I have managed to keep them from strangling the vegetables and flowers, though.  Also, we have not had many days without rain that have been in the 70s.  I have been quite wimpy in the heat this season, more so than in the past.  Mondays are the only days I have all day to garden if the weather cooperates.  (I am writing this Sunday evening.  There is a storm going on out there now, and it looks like we're supposed to get more tomorrow.)  Maybe I'll put a rain coat on and pull some weeds that I can get to without stepping into a flower bed.  Maybe I'll be visiting your gardens to see what you have blooming.