Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some Spring Blooms from Last Year for Wildflower Wednesday

Today is the fifth anniversary of Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail, blogger of Clay and Limestone.  For the occasion, she showed her first post, with some editing.  I like what she shared about learning to grow native plants.  Those who know me know that I am scatterbrained.  I had seen Wildflower Wednesday posts, and decided to join April 7, 2010, not paying attention to the fact that it was the third Wednesday of the month, so it was not on the right day.  Here is a link to my first post.  It shows pasque flowers. 

The photos for today's post are from the last week of April and first week of May, 2014.  These are not all that were blooming, though. For each plant, I included a link to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center where there is information on it.  For those in my area, most of these plants will probably be available at the plant sales held by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in the spring.

Fremont's clematis is one of my favorites.  It is a long lived plant in my experience, and has very cool blooms.  This is a young clump.  It will grow larger and have more blooms in the next few years.  I had a clump in an island bed surrounded by concrete at church until they decided they wanted everything out, and planted a tree and some shrubs there.  It rarely got watered, and it did quite well.  I transplanted it to our curb area last year, but am not sure if it is one that can survive transplanting when so mature.

I've had Phlox divaricata for a number of years.  It spreads like a groundcover, but is not aggressive.  I am pleased to see they are coming up already.

I have had what I'm pretty sure are Common blue violets for many years.  A clump volunteered in the vegetable garden in full sun.  They seed themselves around, and I've had to thin them out from time to time.  I have been remembering to pull a few leaves to add to the salad the last few years.  What I'm feeling bad about, though, is that they are coming up in our next door neighbor's lawn, where she only wants grass.  I just read that the seeds are produced in the bottom flowers that do not always open, that have the seeds.  I should try to get those cut off so they don't seed so freely. 

Virginia bluebells are not native here, but I sure do enjoy the early spring blooms on the east side of the house, where they do not get the hot afternoon sun.  I hope they seed a bit.

Amsonia hubrichtii is one I've posted on a lot.  It is one of my favorites, but I wish the bloom time was longer.  Still, the foliage is very nice.  I just read where one should cut them back to six inches after they bloom so they will mound.  I do cut them back frequently, but not always.  Some years, I have let them seed, and have gotten a few volunteers to put in other spots that way.  They are not native to Nebraska, I just noticed.

I have gotten several kinds of Amonias over the years.  This is either tabernaemontana or illustris.  This is the kind I saw in a yard when walking into my sister and brother in laws' alley and fell in love with those beautiful blue blooms.

The yellow blooms are Golden alexanders.  I think I fell in love with PPPPs from Gail's posts.  I first found Phlox pilosa, 'eco happy traveler', then found the plain Phlox pilosas, so now have both, and do not remember which is which.  I imagine I'll end up with my own kind of they cross pollinate. 

The two plants in front are Prairie alumroots, what I refer to as native coral bells.   The pinkish blooms between and beyond the Golden alexanders is what I think is Shell leaf penstemon.

Purple poppy mallow is a good plant for the curb area.

Most of the snow has melted, but for the next couple weeks, we are to have colder than normal temperatures.  I am so ready for spring to get here!  It would be nice if I had an actual wildflower to post for March's Wildflower Wednesday!  Thanks, Gail for hosting this!

Oh, I forgot to mention that the things you've heard about liquids and computers are true.  A few evenings ago, I was at my computer with about a fourth cup of coffee.  The phone rang, and since our granddaughter was sleeping in the next room, I jumped up to answer.  I am not even sure what happened, but the cord to the computer was involved, and some things on the table, including the computer and coffee flew into the air.  After a few days of drying it out, the keyboard continued to type things on its own, so Larry made a list of possible computers for me.  I took that to a local Apple dealer.

The guy at the store was very patient with me.  He knew I was sad that I really couldn't afford to get another 15 inch monitor, but still wanted to compare the 13 inch to it.  I got my blog up on two computers, and found some posts from last summer.  He had already asked me what I use the computer for, and we got to talking about gardening.  He just does vegetables, because he wants to have the reward of picking something to eat.  I told him I am into growing native plants, and get rewarded by seeing so many insects on them.  He cringed at the thought of bees and wasps, but when he saw the photos from my blog, he asked if he could scroll down to see more.  He said they were good photos, which made me happy.  I hope that I planted a seed in him that will sprout, and he will end up finding some native plants to add to his garden.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Some of the Critters this Week

We had just gotten 6 inches of snow when I did my last post.  Yesterday, we got 6 more!  I've been looking out the door to see what kind of critters we have visiting, and taking some photos from inside the door.  My husband is the one who takes care of the feeders.  He has other feeders in different parts of the yard.  He also puts out suet for the woodpeckers, but other birds also eat it.

The photos with the snow coming down were taken yesterday.  I couldn't get a good photo of the bird on the left, but I'm pretty sure it's a woodpecker.  The others are some of the plentiful sparrows.

This photo is not as clear, but more of the beak shows.  After looking up woodpeckers in Nebraska, I'm thinking it's a red-bellied woodpecker.  Do you know if I am correct?

 The blue jays have been around a lot lately.  I also saw a cardinal or two the other day.

There have also been a number of dark-eyed juncos.

We have just gotten to today's photos.  There were quite a few birds and other critters hanging out today.

This morning, before I opened the main door, leaving the screen closed, I counted 4 blue jays.  They all flew off as soon as I opened the door, but this one came back, seeing that I did not open the screen door.  He or she kept a close eye on me, though.  Larry must have just had a bit of seed left, so he put it on this old apron.

The squirrels like to scold Heidi when she goes out, and she has been looking for them when she goes out.  She's not a fan of them.  I am not, either, but I don't dislike them as much as I used to.

I actually dislike rabbits more than I dislike squirrels.  Squirrels dig out plants, and if you find them in time, you can replant.  Rabbits eat things down to the ground.  Sometimes they regrow, and other times they don't.  I wish rabbits would just eat part of the plants, and not the whole things.  This one lives under our deck, and Larry said he saw two the other day.  We all know what that means!  Dang it!  Well, I do have their favorite plants caged so that they can't get to them.  Larry has been teasing me about wanting to get some alfalfa hay for the rabbits.   He said he saw one eating some bird seed the other day.

I counted 4 or 5 doves in the back yard a few days ago.  I really like them, and the sound they make as they fly off, which is made, I think, with their wings.

What kinds of wildlife are you seeing at your place? 

In a few days, our highs are supposed to start getting into the 40s for a couple weeks.  The snow will melt, and the ground should go into garden season in pretty good shape.  I am starting to see some of the posts from places where spring is waking up.  I always enjoy that.  We actually have some early things starting to green up as well, but it will be awhile before we see blooms. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Still Winter

I was starting to think it's time to change the cover photo, since the snow had all melted.  Well, after temps above normal last week, in the 50s and 60s, winter came back, and it started snowing late morning yesterday, and continued through most of this morning.  I didn't hear the official total, but someone local said they got 6 inches.

Last night, I noticed stems of the cup plant were drooping over the sidewalk, so went out to tie them up so the people delivering the newspaper would have a path to the porch.  I planted it there so that it wouldn't have as many directions to spread, but am thinking that it would have been better farther from the sidewalk.  Still, I'm tickled to have it in the yard, and have seen birds eating the seeds.

This is one of the several bird feeders in the back yard.  We've had doves, juncos, gold finches, sparrows, blue jays, and the occasional cardinal in the back.  There are squirrels aplenty, and there is at least one rabbit that lives under the deck.  My husband, Larry takes care of the feeders, and puts out dried corn for the squirrels, but they still eat from the bird feeders as well.

It is fun for me to see the little piles of snow on things.

The stems of plants are drooping more in this snow, which must be wetter and heavier than some we've had.  I don't clean up the beds until spring, because I like to leave seeds for the birds to eat, and some insects overwinter in the stems.   Plus, I feel there is still beauty in the plants all seasons.

It looks like the sparrows ate the rest of the suet.  The plant on the right is Wild senna. It seems to be more upright than the other one and many of the other plants.

 I took this photo of the junco later in the day than the previous one.  All the other photos were taken in the front yard. 

Some of the seed heads, such as the Illinois bundleflower have little snow hats or crystals on them.

I hope birds eat more of the cup plant seeds before spring gets here.

Wild quinine:

The coneflowers always seem to wear their snow hats cheerfully.

Yes, it looks like it is still winter!

Heidi was disappointed I didn't take her out with me, but I didn't plan on spending much time outside, and did not want to have to dry her off.  Besides, she doesn't really like to be out when it is snowing.

I am glad that I went out and planted a little patch of lettuce, radishes, carrots, and maybe some spinach on one of the nice days.  I used to always plant what I called my gamble garden in February, but lately have started earlier and earlier.  It won't come up until the soil is warm enough.   Sometimes when it is warm enough it is too wet to work, so that 's why I like to get some in early.  Now, it has a nice snow blanket over it.  The summer before last, I planted some lettuce for fall that did not grow large enough to harvest.  It survived the winter, and grew in the spring, so we had a harvest from it after all.

I am so glad the days are getting longer, and spring is on the way!  I hope all is well with you and your gardens.