Sunday, September 27, 2009

Strawflowers/Camera Fun on a Windy Day

I have been resting my knee, which is finally starting to heal after my fall on it 2 weeks ago. I've really felt sorry for myself that I couldn't garden. Today, I was able to go out and do some deadheading and picture taking.

In the colander are the strawflowers that I was able to harvest for drying today. It is best to pick them while the center is still closed tightly, because they open more while drying. Some of these may open enough for the center to show, and then they may shed. I don't usually keep any stem on them. I place them in baskets or glass dishes to have flowers in the house. I also sometimes mix them with other dried flowers and give them as gifts. Click here to see the post I did last fall, where I talked more about growing them.

I normally do a good job keeping up picking the flowers I like to dry, including statice. This year, I have been enjoying the blooms in the garden, and taking longer to get them picked. In the past, if I saw someone post a photo like the next one, I would ask them if they knew those could be picked to dry, and that it should be done before they opened like this. Even though my words would be encouraging and polite, in my mind, I would think they didn't know how to grow these, and that they were being negligent. Do you grow strawflowers? Do you dry them?

For some reason, I had my camera set differently, and when I went to turn on the macro feature, the camera told me to hold down the button for super macro. I have read parts of the manual to my camera, which I got last December, but when I've gone to try the super macro, I couldn't figure it out. Well, now I know how! Yippee! Now, I need to learn which situations warrant its use. In the mean time, every one of the following photos were taken using super macro. It was sunny, and quite windy, but I clicked away anyway!

I saw lots of skippers on the statice, which would also normally be picked before now, and verbena bonariensis.

I'm glad to see the skippers enjoy the statice, and have been content letting it look pretty in the garden. Do you grow statice? Do you dry it or just let it mature on the plant?

I sometimes dry verbena, too. I think the skipper is as pretty as the flower.

Go, super macro, go! You can see the segments on the critter's antennae. Now do you know what it is? I sure have seen a lot of them this year.

My pineapple sage is finally starting to bloom.

Here's a closer view of skullcap blooms.

You can see what looks like tiny yellow blooms in the center of the aster.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some Wider Views, Heidi, and a few Insects

I'm still seeing butterflies, mostly monarchs, but have not been on my feet as much this week due to the fall I had on my knee almost 2 weeks ago, tripping on Heidi's leash while holding our grandson, who I was able to set down gently enough to avoid injury, even though he lost his balance and ended up on his face in the grass. I have been able to go out long enough to take some garden photos and some of the insects that have been congregating on their current favorite flowers.

I have been enjoying photos of flower beds on other blogs, so thought I'd show some current ones of my front and side yards.

I'm thinking I may have posted a similar photo to this last week, but this shows the 'Wichita Falls' Goldenrod is still blooming strong, and has enough pollen for a variety of insects to share.

(Note: Yes, this is the same kind of goldenrod as last week's, which was by the shed. This one is by the house. I thought I was posting a correction here, but when it didn't appear, I checked and saw that I had posted it on last week's post. Oops! When Cameron commented that she found a 'Wichita Mountains' goldenrod to plant, I looked up images of 'Wichita Falls' in Google, and found some, then discovered they were from my blog! Oh, dear! I hope I haven't led anyone astray!)

Solidago, 'Wichita Mountains':

I need to go to that website to see if I can figure out what this insect is. If you know, please go ahead and say so in a comment. It is enjoying my favorite goldenrod, 'Fireworks'.

I'm tickled to have a few different kinds of bees, such as honeybees...

and bumblebees. This one is on a knautia bloom.

I lightened this so the grasshopper could be seen better on the dahlia.

I took lots of photos of Heidi and the yard when I was ready to change my header photo. I thought I'd post some of the extras.

What is she looking at across the street?

Oh, a critter for Camera Critters!

"Well, enough of that, let's go to the east side of the house."

There are no visible critters in this photo, but I'm sure there were a number of them around. The bird house in the photo may have some wrens in it. The blank area in front of the fence is where the Joe Pye weed is turning dark and shriveling. It did the same thing last year. I don't know if it's diseased or just doesn't like that spot anymore. It used to grow fine there. Oh, that was before Larry replaced the gutter with a longer one, and it no longer empties into the flower bed. I wonder if I could poke some holes in the bottom of the gutter.

Click on the icon in the sidebar to see more critter posts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some Wild and not so Wild Blooms for Friday

Katarina, from Roses and Stuff, who hosts Blooming Friday, asked us to share our favorite wildflowers today. (It's Friday in Sweden already.) If you read my blotanical profile, you'll see that I don't do well picking favorites. Plus, I have trouble limiting my photos to one or two a post, so here are some photos taken today of some of the flowers I either know to be or think are wildflowers, and then there will be some other blooms from a couple days ago.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Fall! Now that it's here, I'm trying to relax and enjoy it.

The Queen Anne's Lace in the front bed is blooming and in all stages of seed production.

The asters planted by birds from our neighbor's yard are finally blooming. I think they are New England ones.

I don't know if hybrid coneflowers are considered wildflowers, but this one was a white swan about 10 years ago, and at some point, it reverted to purple.

Skull Cap, I think either Smokey Hills, or Mongolian Skies:

'Wichita Mountains' Goldenrod, Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne', helenium, and an aster, one of the insects' favorite places to hang out:

A closer view of Herbstonne:

I don't remember if I posted photos of the lead plant while it was blooming. I got it for free a number of years ago when our state arboretum was encouraging people to grow native flowers.

I think this is Ratibida pinnata. I have the name listed on another post somewhere. I noticed they can also be called yellow coneflowers. I was keeping most of the seedheads on them, but Larry got helpful and cut them off. The seed stalk in the photo is from a hollyhock plant.

Rough Blazing Star, Liatris Aspera is one of my favorite flowers, and it is also a wildflower. I must love Wichita Falls Goldenrod, too, as I have it in different areas of our yard, including the west side of our shed here in the back yard. Fireworks goldenrod is actually my favorite goldenrod, though. I bet you could pick it out in my header photo.

Chocolate Joe Pye Weed:

Here are some blooms that I had taken with Blooming Friday in mind. The first one is from today, and the rest were taken a couple days ago.

I didn't remember the white iris that is still blooming, blooming this spring, but I do remember this yellow one blooming. I am so tickled that it is blooming again! It looks so pretty near the Fireworks Goldenrod.

I don't remember having a sweet potato vine bloom before, but this one, one that was sold for food production is:

The package of the Perfume Delight sweet peas, sold by Botanical Interests, said these bloom into summer, and are more heat resistant to other varieties. We didn't have as hot a summer as usual, but we did have some hot days, where I thought I should be pulling the sweet peas out, but I'm so glad I didn't. We are now having cooler days and nights, and all of a sudden, the vines are taking off and blooming just like they think it's spring.

One of the sweet peas climbing into the Mexican sunflowers:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not So Pretty

Tatyana, from MySecretGarden invited bloggers to show the imperfect, or real parts of our gardens. I was pretty much ready, because when I took photos for the veggie garden update, I was thinking of doing a theme called, "The good, the bad, and the ugly." I had too many photos to do that, so I didn't include many "uglies" other than the powdery mildew on the squashes. Go read her post, because it is as fun to read as it is to view her photos.

I exported these as soon as I read Tatyana's invitation, and started this post. Well, I pushed something that caused the post to go away, so I wasn't sure if I was going to do it after all, but then, when I did a scheduled post for Wordless Wednesday, I saw I had a draft, and there was my start to this post! I added the last photo, which I took today, of a closer view of rotting tomatoes that I haven't picked because my knee hurts. I meant to go back out and pick them, but it is fall, and the days are getting shorter and shorter, and I ran out of light! Maybe tomorrow. I also forgot to take a picture of my compost pile. I may go get one and post it alone, as the 2 piles that were finished are pretty much dug out, and the unfinished pile is getting good sized, and has lots of nice semi-rotted material in it.

Oh, I also found some photos that didn't make the cut for bloom day. This coreopsis bloom was looking a bit bedraggled, and maybe munched on.

I need to tend to the hostas behind the house. I'm not sure if the slugs are back, or what.

The squirrels have taken most of the sunflower heads.

This is the messy area next to the compost pile, where there are lots of hollyhock seed heads that need to come down.

Cucumber leaves with disease and insect damage:

A closer view of the tomatoes that fell down cage and all:

Some weeds and moonflower (datura) seeds:

Dying sweet potato leaves:

Powdery mildew, sumac, and other weeds:

A tomato plant that fell, and was hidden by the squash:

Spanish needle weed seeds:

Orange oxeheart tomatoes, rotting, because birds or other critters nibbled on them, and they didn't get picked, next to another cucumber plant that is near death: