Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some Old, Some New Critters from this Week, and ID Help Requested

I'm still seeing lots of skippers and bees.  I also have a few different critters I haven't posted before for Camera Critters, hosted by Misty Dawn.  I see she has welcomed fall.  I am not ready to do that yet, but am reluctantly acknowledging its presence.

Last Friday, the kids and grandson were over.  When our son is over, he likes to look under stones and things to see if he can see any snakes or insects.  Now, he can share this interest with his son.

I'm not sure what this is.  They also found a grub, or whatever they're called.  The photo was not focused, so I didn't include it.

I'm not sure what this is, either.

I'm continuing to see more doves than usual on the wires.  There was a day I counted 15.

On Monday, the 20th, I stayed home from work because I had had a headache for a few days, and it was worse in the night.  I was able to get an appointment with my chiropractor for 10:30 a.m.  Heidi and I took a yard walk before I left.  I got a photo of the monarch on the butterfly bush, then noticed a hummingbird on the nearby butterfly bush.  When I got back out from getting my camera, it was gone.

(Don't read the next lines if you don't like gross things.) In that short yard walk, I unknowingly stepped on a dog's pile.  When I got in the car, which was in the garage, I wondered what that smell was.  I didn't know if it was something in the garage, or what.  When I was driving, I didn't notice it until I was almost to the chiropractor.  As I was pulling into the parking place, I looked at my shoes, and had to take them off and walk into the office in my stocking feet.  It was embarrassing, but no one was in there besides the doctor and his secretary, and they are nice people, who laughed when I told them what happened.)

Larry mowed the yard after supper, and didn't remember to latch the back yard gate.  Heidi checks to see if we forgot, and lifts the latch up with her nose to get out of the yard.  I noticed the movement of a neighbor lady outside the window around 6:30, and went to the door, where she stood with Heidi.  She had seen her out, and called her.  She said Heidi came up to her, and when they were at the door, Heidi looked at her, and rubbed her head against her.

The neighbor and I started visiting, then another lady came over, and we enjoyed some rare neighbor time on our benches out front.  All of a sudden, I saw a hummingbird on the agastache, and told them I'd be right back.  I sat and took a bunch of photos from the bench so as not to scare it away.  It moved so fast, and it was starting to get dark, so none of the photos turned out so clear.  Still, I was excited to see it, and wanted to include a few anyway.

On September 21 I don't remember what I was doing, but I got a skipper on the butterfly bush and two photos of a monarch and bee feeding next to each other on the blue mist spirea.

 Friday was a beautiful day after having a few rainy days.  I went out and took lots of critter photos before enjoying some time in the veggie garden, where I was pleased to get my garlic planted from some nice sized bulbs I harvested earlier in the season.  I also transplanted some self sown seedlings that had come up in clumps.  I also dug around in the compost pile.  The next door neighbor boy informed me that they've seen mice in my compost pile, and they are starting to get into the houses in the neighborhood.  Another neighbor and I have seen a few mice out and about, too, but I didn't see any around the compost pile yesterday.

I started my picture taking from the back yard for a change.  I just looked up the sulphur I posted most recently to see if I'd put what kind I thought it was, and I hadn't, but when I compared it to this one, it had different markings.  From looking at my butterfly book, I think this is either a Clouded or Orange Sulphur on one of the asters by the shed.  In another book, I saw an alfalfa butterfly that looks like this, too.

There were lots of insects sharing the aster blooms.  A skipper, Gray Hairstreak, and a bee or hover fly are in this photo.

I was tickled to get a photo of the open wings of the gray hairstreak, even though it was washed out by the sun.  There is a honey bee next to it.

I'm not sure what kind of bee this is.  It may be a honey bee, but the coloring looks different than the previous one.

Out in the veggie garden, the verbena bonariensis plants were loaded with skippers, a few other kinds of butterflies, bees, and flies.

The Painted Lady was shy, but I got a couple photos of it.

There were a number of silver spotted skippers.  There must have been both male and females, because they didn't all look exactly the same as each other.

The top side of the wings on this one are more colorful than the on the one I was able to get a picture of last week.

Skippers are difficult to identify.  Randy has let me know what kind some are before, but I can't remember which one, and what he said it was.  I wonder how many kinds of skippers are in my area. 

I think this is a different kind than the one above.

Here's another silver spotted skipper enjoying the boltonia, which I love, but the bloom time is shorter than a lot of perennials.   There were lots of other small insects in there, too.

Does anyone know what kind of moth this is?  I wonder what its caterpillars eat.  It is a moth, isn't it?  It's new to me.

I like the details on the Eupatorium, 'Prairie Jewel', a relative of Joe Pye weed with the fly on it.

I think this is a hover fly also enjoying the eupatorium  There is a white blooming cypress vine weaving around and through in the tall plants in this bed.  It is visible on the left side of this photo.

I went a little wild taking photos of what insects were on what blooms.  Here's another silver spotted skipper on an annual salvia.

I'm thinking this aster was one of the volunteers in the side bed near the back yard.  I've mentioned there are a lot of skippers this year...

and bees, living in harmony with all the other insects in the yard, as far as I can tell.

These asters are in the area on the east side of the house.  I guess they know it's September, because they have decided to open those precious buds they like to hold onto until the right time.

Just as I was about to go in, I noticed a moth I don't recall seeing before.  It reminded me of a humming bird moth the way the wings were moving, and it was hard to get a photo of because of that.  It was about the size of the blooms.

I included this photo, because the upper wing is a little better focused.  Do you know what it is?

Randy, was I supposed to put the watermelon rind for the butterflies up high somewhere?  I put this on a stone in the side bed where we could see it out the garden window.  I haven't seen any butterflies on it yet, but look what did find it!  I've never seen this kind of ant inside, have any of you?  (I just went and looked at Randy's post, and it looked like the rind was on some mulch on the ground.)

I love the colors of the hover flies and the asters.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday a Day Late, and a Request for Fall Garden Tips

When I looked at the calendar, and saw there was one more Wednesday this month, I thought incorrectly that Gail at Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday was next week.  It's not the last Wednesday of the month, it's the fourth.  Not one to like to miss out on this event, I went out after work in the rain and took some photos.

I planted 2 beauty berry bushes last summer, after seeing it on blogs, and liking it.  I didn't realize it was a wildflower when I planted them.  I did know birds eat the berries.  They will have plenty this year!

I cut the milkweed back this summer in hopes it would get bushier.  As a result of that, it has not bloomed.  The coneflower planted last summer, is just now starting to bloom.  There are two of them in this area, and only one is blooming so far.  I still like the vertical shapes of the liatris, even though the blooms have faded.  The goldenrod on the right, I've shown recently.  Just to its left, is the ironweed that has gone to seed, or is in the process of doing so.

I can't remember if this liatris bloomed yet this season.  If so, it is having a second flush, even though I didn't think they normally did.

A few weeks ago, I cut deadheaded the skullcap, 'Mongolian Skies' by cutting it back, and it is loaded with blooms again.

The Short Toothed Mountain Mint is continuing to look good.

The rudbeckia, 'Herbstonne' is on it's second flush of blooms, and is ready to be cut back again.  The helenium on the right may be the native kind, but I'm not sure.  It was much later to bloom than the others I have.

I got this pitcher sage from our Community Crops' plant sale this spring.  I am tickled to see that it is blooming.

The false sunflowers are still on their second flush of blooms.  The amsonia and baptisia still look good, even though they have been finished blooming for awhile.

The 'Fireworks' goldenrod and boltonia I planted across the street are nice and bushy.  The smoke tree on the bottom left had been cut back by the previous tenants.  When I pointed it out to the owner of the property, he asked me to keep it.  I was pleased to, because I remember how much I liked it when it didn't have competition from other volunteer trees.  I'll have to move one of the goldenrods in the spring.

The boltonia on the left is the clump that the ones across the street came from.  I am enjoying it next to the eupatorium, 'Prarie Jewel'.

I don't think Russian sage is a wildflower, but I'm glad this one is blooming near the spent liatris.  The foliage on the amsonia hubrichtii is starting to turn gold.  I like the coreopsis near the house, but don't think it's a wildflower, either.

I noticed this aster type plant in the side bed.   I think it's a volunteer, but I could have planted it.  I think I've mentioned before that I can be forgetful.

I've also mentioned that I am a special education paraeducator at a high school.  Some of the other paras have been playing around like they are newscasters, and have taken it a step further, saying they are going to do some stories.  I told them I'm a news junkie, and would be glad to watch their news.  They said, no they want me and another who also said she'd watch to be guest reporters.  Today, one of them had a bunch of notes in a notebook, and they asked me to give some tips on fall gardening.  Now, only one or two of the other paras has a place to garden, but at the end of the day today, they asked me if I had given thought to what I was going to report about fall gardening.  I thought I'd throw it out to other garden bloggers, especially in zones 4 to 6.  Fall is not my favorite time of year because I am tired at the end of the work day, and don't make it out to the garden as much as I'd like.  Plus, with the cost of the dental work and night guard coming up in October, I have not been able to do any plant shopping to fill some holes I have.  By spring the finances should be in better shape.

Whatever tips I get, I plan to copy and paste into something to give to my co-workers.  Some tips I can think of are to let most plants keep their seedheads for the birds to eat and to add something to look at in the snow; enjoy being outside as much as you can while the weather is warm enough; plant garlic in September, and bulbs, as close to just before the ground freezes as you can.

Yes, it is fall, isn't it?  I am not yet to the point I'm accepting that, but it will come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Late First Birthday Celebration for the New Curb Bed

I've been wanting to do this post to show how the new curb area is faring, but am not entirely pleased with it, and have not taken the time to get the photos posted.  Some of the plants were eaten by rabbits, one of my butterfly milkweeds died, and some of the annuals, just did not get very big.

Here's what the area looked like August 13, 2009.  I get a high from seeing bare dirt.

I was very pleased with the work the guys did on the new curbs.  They were awesome, and careful not to step on plants.

I tried to get photos from similar spots to make some comparisons.  On 8/14/09 it looked like this:












This is the area that has holes, partly due to the butterfly milkweed dying.  Also, the Spooky dianthus plants don't show up well when not in bloom.  The annuals in this area did not grow very tall, either.



I want to plant some Fremont's Clematis in this area next year.  I have some seeds from the one I have in a flower bed at church.  I don't know if they are easily grown from seed.  I may see if I can dig it out next spring and plant it here.

I included some closer views from 9/21/10.

The perennial geraniums have a few new blooms.

This is the rose bush that bloomed all summer, and a smaller variety of goldenrod.

An even closer view of the rose:

This area had a bunch of 'Fireworks' goldenrod that I dug out because I had planted more on the edge of the bed.  There are some daylilies, ironweed, coneflowers, and annuals in there.  I'm sad that the Jupiter's beard is not doing well.  I hope it recovers next spring.

I wonder if the reason the sedums are sprawling is because the area does not get full sun.

I am still pleased with the blue blooming bush clematis whose name isn't coming to my brain, but has been named in other posts.  I like the seedheads as well as the blooms.

The salvia is blooming well.

I should have planted more lisianthus, and put them closer together.  The liatris on the left has been one of the favorite foods of the rabbits this summer.

The lisianthus are planted on the left, along the back of the bed.  The 'Fireworks' goldenrods are opening their buds now.

Well, I better get close this and get ready for bed.  I wanted to get done in time to visit blogs, but it doesn't look like I will make it.  I hope you are having a great week!