Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wildflower Wednesday

I am not sure how September got here so quickly, and is now almost over!  I am not ready for winter, but I am determined to enjoy fall.  For Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, I am going to feature the same plant I did in July, short toothed mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum because it is continuing to do so well and is attracting pollinators.  I also posted a photo of this awesome plant in my last post that I did because of the huge numbers of painted lady butterflies we had been seeing.  I mentioned that if you can only have one native plant, this is one that would be a contender.  There are not many plants that feed the pollinators for such a long time!  Another plus, is that rabbits and deer do not eat it.  I am thinking Gail has posted about it as well, and called it blunt mountain mint, as I read some do.  The plants contain pulegone, the same insecticide as pennyroyal, and I read that one can rub some leaves on the skin to repel mosquitoes.  That is weird to me, since it draws so many insects to the blooms.  This is one you do not want to make tea with like you can Virginia mountain mint.

Here are some photos I took today:

There were not as many painted ladies, but there were still a number of them.  I love the silver looking leaves.

I wonder if this is a great golden digger wasp.

The wasp on the left looks like the previous one, but it is quite a bit smaller. Then, there are a couple tiny ones, smaller than the honey bee in the photo.

I am not sure what this little insect is.  It may be a bee of some kind.  It's smaller than half an inch long.

I was excited to see yet another kind of wasp!  I need to learn what kinds these are!

I believe this wasp is yet another kind.  It doesn't look to have white on it like the other black ones.

I can't see the antennae on this well enough to be able to tell if it is a moth or a butterfly.  I know I've seen these here before, but not often.

I am always glad to see the bumblebees and carpenter bees.  They have been around all summer. 

If you have a spot to fill, this is one that looks great all season, and you get to see a variety of pollinators on it!  It does well in full sun to part shade.  It can handle moist or dry conditions.  It spreads by rhizomes, but not aggressively.  Here is a link to show more information, including the native range.  It is not actually native here in SE Nebraska, but the insects don't realize it, and they sure grow well here!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Painted Lady Irruption, etc.

I learned a new word this week, after seeing loads of painted lady butterflies in our yard.  There are some years painted lady butterflies have an irruption, where they produce lots more than usual.  (There is a more detailed description of it if you click on the link.)  The other day, I was pleased to count about 28 of them, but two days later, there were at least 48, and there were at least that many again yesterday!  My granddaughter and I saw quite a few here and at a local lake we went to today.  She was determined to catch one, but they eluded her.

I have been posting lots of photos on Facebook, but since I took more photos yesterday, I decided to do a blog post, and include some of the other critters making use of the plants.

Wild quinine continues to be one of my favorite native plants to grow.  It has a long bloom time, and draws insects all season.

The Canada goldenrod is looking great this time of year!  I am not sure how spring and summer have flown by so quickly, though, and here we are almost to the middle of September!

I don't show our yard from the west often, so thought I'd include this photo, since I took it for some reason.

Big leaf aster is one I just started growing a couple or so years ago.  It is one that likes part shade.  A tree across the street was cut down this spring, so there is not as much shade as there had been, but the plants I have around are doing well.  It has spread, but not aggressively.  I have been seeing pollinators of different kinds on the blooms.

I planted blue mistflower a couple or three years ago in both curb beds.  It has spread beyond where I had planned to allow it to, so I will have some of these to share with the local members of Gardening with Nature in Mind at our spring plant/seed share.  It sure is a nice looking plant and bloom, though! 

I am pretty sure this is tall tickseed.  It is on the east side of the house.

It was the sweet black eyed susans I first saw quite a few painted ladies on, and caused me to look around the yard more.  I hadn't yet heard this was a widespread occurrence yet.

Here is a closer view with another visitor, some kind of bee.

I think it is normally fall when I see this kind of bee.  It is larger than other bumblebees I see.  The pitcher sage plants are adding a nice blue to all of the yellow in the yard.  One of the plants has white blooms, though.  It is drawing pollinators as well as the blue ones.

Liatris aspera, one of my favorites, is looking good with the penstemon seeds.

This skipper was just on the purple bloom of verbena bonariensis, one of the non-natives I continue to grow because the pollinators are frequently on them.  Actually, it is a self sowing annual here, so they take care of themselves.

The stiff goldenrod blooms are drawing lots of visitors.  I usually see a number at a time on this clump.

I am finally starting to see some spiders the last few days. The other day, I was in awe as I watched an orb spider of some kind take its web down.  This is one of the sweet black eyed susan plants.

Kiss me over the garden gate is another non-native self sowing heirloom annual.  It gets six or more feet tall.  This one had lots of leaf damage from the June beetles late spring or early summer, but that hasn't stopped it from blooming and looking splendid now.

Here is another photo of the stiff, also called rigid goldenrod.  Some of the plants actually flop in my yard.  I've heard they do that in gardens.  I recently found out the rigid actually refers to the blooms and not the plants.

Riddell's goldenrod is not as tall as some of the other goldenrods, and is a bit more upright.  I have not been seeing as many monarchs as usual this fall.  I hope they show up soon, and haven't skipped me because I didn't get any Mexican sunflowers planted, and there are no Liatris ligulistylis blooming.  The plants I bought didn't grow much this season.  I hope they do, and bloom next year!

The Joe Pye plants are about finished blooming, but still have some insect visitors.

I believe this is Boltonia asteroides 'snowbank'.

I am glad to be seeing a few eastern tailed blue butterflies.

Oh, my goodness, if you can only grow one native plant, short toothed mountain mint draws numerous pollinators all summer and into fall!  Can you see all five painted ladies?  The foliage of the Amsonia hubrichtii, on the left will soon be turning gold.

Here is a painted lady on a verbena bonariensis, with the yellow of brown eyed susans in the background.

Here is another photo of big leaf aster blooms, this time with a bee visitor.  I love those pollen sacs!

Zig zag goldenrod is one that prefers part shade.   This is the east side of the house.  I love seeing bees and butterflies "sharing".

These last two photos did not appear the first time I uploaded photos, so I added them at the end.  Because of that, these words are showing up centered, and I don't remember how to fix that.  I am seeing a number of cabbage whites and sulphurs on different kinds of flowers.

I hope all is well with the people I have met through blogging over the years.  I have not kept up with blog visiting now that I seem to be addicted to Facebook.  I need to choose a day once in awhile where I visit blogs.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wildflower Wednesday

I had a bit of trouble deciding what plant or plants to post about for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.

This is the first time I've had a tall thistle.  It is a volunteer, and it came up in a great spot.  It has been fun seeing a variety of insects on the blooms, sometimes quite a few at a time.

Gail's featured plant, Flowering Spurge has a nice long bloom time, and I see very small insects feeding on the blooms.

Salvia reflexa, lambsleaf sage is a native self sowing annual that I do not remember planting, but am glad it is here.  It will kind of be my "feature" plant.  It is in full sun here, but I also have some in partial shade.  It may have originally come up where I garden across the street.  The plants have been coming up for quite a few years.

Another name for it is lanceleaf sage.

 I have several clumps of it in different areas of the yard.  It is a nice filler.  I need to be cutting the spent blooms off of this one.

I have seen butterflies, skippers and different kinds of bees on the tiny blooms.

Since I had trouble deciding, I wanted to include this photo of sweet coneflowers and other native plants.  We have lots of yellow!

I am enjoying the yellow and purple of different kinds of flowers, such as the Helenium autumnale and Liatris aspera.

This skipper is a little larger than most I've been seeing.

Oh, wait, I needed to include Pale Indian Plantain!  This is the second season for this very tall plant, the first of it blooming.  I am tickled with the long bloom time and variety of pollinators it continues to draw.

During the last storm we had, it was knocked over, and I needed to prop it up.  The meadow rue to the left is not as tall as it was last year.

I hope you are enjoying visits from pollinators on your blooms.  The season sure is flying by for me!  I am still busy watching our three year old granddaughter four days a week, and we have one or both grandsons on Saturdays.  We just set a new schedule that will give us the third Saturday of the month off.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July Wildflower Wednesday

I missed posting for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday last month, so am glad to be getting July done, since I am not posting anything else these days.  I just chose one plant this time, what I know as short-toothed mountain mint.  I didn't find it at the Lady Bird Johnson site, but found it at the Missouri Botanical Garden page.  This article says you can make tea with it, as you can with other kinds of mountain mints, and when I did a search, I found other sites that say it, but I need to check with a friend of mine, and will edit this if he lets me know that he found out one should not with this kind.  (Edit:  Gene gave me this:, which says not to make tea with this one due to the higher amount of pugelone, an insect repellent that is also in pennyroyal.)

Pychanthemum muticum draws lots of pollinators in.  People tell me what kinds of wasps and bees I share photos of, but I forget what they say.  I am pleased to be able to see them anyway.

This clump used to be in front of the egress window, where it was shaded by an Amsonia, and even though it looked good, it was about half the height and spread it now is.  I was glad to read that it is not aggressive, so if you dig it out, it won't keep going.  I am in the process, though, of giving different kinds of plants more room to spread so that the masses of plants are larger.  That was one of the suggestions when I became a local pollinator habitat.

I think it likes its new spot!  It can handle sun or part shade.

There are usually a number of these black wasps on the blooms.  There are also quite a few small bees of some kind that I have trouble catching with the camera.  There may be an insect of some kind on the upper left.

Isn't that a nice looking plant and bloom?  Blunt mountain mint is another name for it.  It can handle dry to moist conditions.  Do you have a spot for it if you don't already have it?

I hope all is well with my blogging friends.  I have not been keeping up with you, unless you are on Facebook.  Happy gardening!  I am watching our granddaughter who is now three four days a week.  Now that she is not napping some days, I don't get out to the yard as often as I'd like.  I also need to spend less time on Facebook.  Balance is hard to achieve sometimes!  Do you find that?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wildflower Wednesday, and Yard Update

It seems I have only been posting once a month, for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.  I decided to include some photos of the yard as well this time. I have lots of blooms that are not native, but am continuing to replace some of them with U.S. natives a bit at a time.  I am not attempting to just have locally native plants, though.  A number of plants that do well here would not be found together in nature.  I am just tickled to have what I do, and to see the insect and bird visitors.  I didn't take these photos at a time when they were feeding, even though I have been seeing bees and butterflies on some of the blooms.  I learned recently that different kinds of flowers release their pollen at different times of the day.  I am not making it out at different times of the day as often as I used to, so maybe the numbers are not as low as I think.

Here is the front yard, where a silver maple tree used to be until hollow branches were found, and it needed to be cut down for safety.  The first wildflower I want to talk about is what appears to be the tallest in this photo, at the back by the bird feeder.

It took a few seasons, so I am pleased that the white wild indigo plant has been blooming for a couple or three years now.   I planted a couple more this year, and look forward to them growing large enough to bloom.  I recently looked up information to see what native plants are poisonous, after finding out some are.  I found out the baptisias are, but they are not severely toxic.  Here is some information on that.

 It likes sun, and is in a spot that does not get watered much.

There are a number of baptisia australis in the yard.  They are in sun, and part sun.  These have self sown, and I have been able to share some.  I am seeing a few bees on these.

On the east side of the house is a parent plant and its offspring that I didn't get dug out to move or share.  The shorter plant with pinkish blooms is a spiderwort cultivar.  The chair belonged to some neighbors who recently moved, due to the mother having memory problems.  I don't know where it will end up, but it probably cannot stay on the egress window cover.

Amsonias are also some of my favorite spring bloomers.  I just wish the bloom time was longer.

The previous photo was looking north and west.  This one is looking south, and there are more amsonias and another baptisia.

Aren't they so pretty?

I decided to go on a bit of a yard walk, to show the flower beds, always a work in progress.  The tall plant by the shed is a buttonbush, which has not yet bloomed.  I hope this is the year it does.

The golden alexanders are still blooming.

The bare spot by the bird is where I dug out a catmint last year.  I planted some native seeds I got from Gardening with Nature in Mind's (on Facebook) plant/seed share last fall, but neglected to write down what I planted, and I think whatever little things have come up are weeds.  After this photo was taken, I moved some plants from the yard to fill in the space.

I am relieved the rabbits are not doing as much damage to the plants as usual.  The phlox pilosa plants, PPP to Gail, have been eaten down to the stubs other years, but they are doing quite well this spring.

I am glad to be seeing monarch caterpillars on the various kinds of milkweed.

We started and will end in the front yard.  I trimmed back the golden alexanders because they were flopping due to all of the rain we've been getting.  I also cut down more stems of the cup plant than usual, hoping it will not hang over the sidewalk as much.

I am not making it to visit blogs like I used to.  I hope all is well with you, and you are enjoying time in your gardens.