Saturday, October 30, 2010

Are You Tired of Seeing Skippers?

After such a late spring and wet summer, it's been nice to have a mild fall.  It has gotten cold enough that some of the annuals are finished for the season, but some have been oblivious to the temps, and are still blooming nicely.  I thought the tomatoes would be finished, and maybe they are, but I'm going to wait until I'm certain.

It has been quite windy this week, and I didn't have the energy to battle it, so I got a lot of housework done.  It was still windy yesterday, but not as much as it had been.  That whole system caused even more problems and damage to other states, so I shouldn't complain.  I was able to get some gardening done and some critter photos taken yesterday.

Today, I finally finished spreading my compost around, and saw that my plants don't appear to be damaged from the neighbor's 2, 4-D.  I need to look into it further to see if it's the new growth that will show the puckering.  My kale needs to be picked soon, and that is closer to the fence than the little lettuce plants I was worried about.   Thanks to the folks who gave me information about that in my wildflower post.

By the way, click on the link in my sidebar to get to the Camera Critters site.

This squirrel is quite the character.  I think it was hoping Heidi would give chase so it could run quickly up the tree.

I need to go see if these the same kinds of Skipper Randy identified for me last week.  Thanks, Randy!

On a pentas in the front yard:

On verbena bonariensis:

When I saw this butterfly, I ran inside for my camera, because I don't see these often.  I wish I had a better memory, because I'm sure I've had it identified before, but couldn't find it in my book just now.  I'm wondering if it's a skipper of some kind.  I only got 3 photos taken before it flew off, so I was tickled one of them turned out OK.

(Randy let me know this is a checkered skipper.  Thanks, Randy, now I remember I've had at least one here before.)

Stink bug:

 Thanks, Rose, for letting me know this is a spotted cucumber beetle, and not a Japanese beetle.  I don't know how I came up with that, because I did a search for kinds of beetles to see if I could tell what it was.  These are nasty ones, but it sounds like they don't do as much damage as Japanese beetles.

I had to include this photo of Heidi enjoying the cushion of the pile of leaves.

I better get this posted before the day is over!  I  hope your weekend is going well!  Thanks for hosting Camera Critters, Misty Dawn!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Late Again for Wildflower Wednesday

As I was digging and spreading compost today, it occurred to me that I missed Wildflower Wednesday.  When I came in, I found Gail's post, and it was awesome!  I went out and took some photos so I could be included in the party, late as I am. 

Most of the asters are finished blooming, but some still have some color.

The rough goldenrod has some pretty seed heads.

The 'Wichita Mountains' goldenrod is almost finished blooming.

Here is what most of them look like:

I moved this Virginia Mountain Mint to the area in front of the vegetable garden, where it ended up being hidden by other plants.  I did some cutting back this week, so it could get some sun.

Boltonia and Eupatorium, 'Prairie Jewel' surround the mountain mint.

Eupatorium rugosum, 'Chocolate', which I call chocolate Joe Pye weed, is on the right of the 'Prairie Jewel'.  You can see a glimpse of the vegetable garden behind the fence.  I haven't done a vegetable garden update lately.  It is almost finished for the season.

While I was out digging and spreading compost today, the next door neighbor's yard man started spraying in her yard.  I went inside, because my lungs are sensitive to chemicals.  When he was leaving, I went out and asked him what he was spraying.  He said it was 2, 4-D to hopefully kill her nut grass, which there is quite a lot of in her yard.  It was very windy out, so I called the extension office to see if it was safe to use the compost, which is right by the fence.  They gave me the number for our state's Department of Agriculture.  The man was very helpful, and said that if the stuff drifted onto the compost, it will not cause problems due to the amount of time until spring, and the organic matter in the compost will not let plants take up the chemical.  The wind was mostly blowing the other way, so hopefully, it didn't drift to my little salad mix plants that are 2 or 3 inches tall, and are near the entrance to the garden.  Still, I'm thinking about pulling them out, because I didn't think to ask the man I talked to about those.  I wonder if they don't die, that means the chemical didn't drift that far.  Anyone out there know about these things?

A closer view of the Chocolate Joe Pye Weed:

The foliage of the lead plant has some fall colors.

The amsonia, 'Hubrichtii' is, too.

Rudbeckia, 'Herbstonne' has lots of seeds for the birds to eat.

The short toothed mountain mint sure is a good looking plant.  I've been able to keep it from spreading beyond its boundaries so far.

The birds have started eating some of the American beauty berries.

Until this year, I have always cut down the finished flower stalks of the narrower leafed coneflower in the front yard bed.  I decided to see how they did if I kept them on.  It looks like birds have been sampling the seeds.  I wonder if I will get some volunteer plants.

If you haven't read Gail's post, head on over to her blog, Clay and Limestone.  If you cry easily, be sure to have some tissue handy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today in the Front Yard Bed

I started to call this post, "For Larry" because he has been asking me to plant more mums.  I am off work this week, and had a number of errands I needed to run today, so while out, I went to a local garden center where I got my 'Debonair' mums a couple years ago.  Mums have not been one of my favorite flowers to grow.  Either they have spread too far and wide, and were not that pretty, or else I liked the blooms, but they didn't survive the winter.  Since the 'Debonair' ones have done well, and the nursery had advertised their mums and perennials being half off, I went and found three to plant.  All of the mums they had were Belgian ones.  I hadn't heard of them, since I'm not really up on mums.  When I looked them up, I found that they are newer, and may not need to be cut back during the summer.  Some even bloom in the spring, then you can cut them to a few inches and they'll bloom again in the fall.  I don't think I would like a mum to bloom in the spring.  It seems unnatural.  Well, I just hope they get established enough to survive the winter.  They have not wilted at all so far.  (I didn't get any other perennials, because I didn't see any I wanted, and some did not look too good.)

When I went out to take photos of the new mums, I also took photos of the whole bed, then decided to include some of them in the post.

This is facing east.  The 'Gateway' Joe Pye Weed didn't seem to bloom as long as the other kind I have grown.

This is the salvia I started from putting spent blooms from some plants at church in the bed and the cockscomb from last year's plants I'd started from seeds from a neighbor.

The iris rebloomed earlier this year than last, and only had one or two blooms this time.  I'm continuing to enjoy the snapdragons, including the ones on the right.

Facing south, these are the 'Debonair' mums.  I divided the clump this spring, and planted a clump on the other side of the sidewalk.

Turning back to the east and north, the mum on the right is 'Geneva'.  I did not cut back the dead heads on the narrow leafed coneflower on its left this summer, like I always had in the past.  I wonder if there will be new little ones competing with the other echinacias that have volunteered.

I didn't realize that the different Belgium mums have different bloom times.  I read that the 'Genevas' are considered early bloomers.  Early means September.

We are now facing west.  I'm glad Larry kept asking me to plant more mums.  They do add color.

 And, here we have, 'Rhinos Orange', a very early bloomer.

 Looking to the south and west, there is one more new mum on the right side of the photo.

The 'Pia' hydrangea between two of the mums looks good to me, even though the leaves have spots like they came with, which may be a disease, and the flowers are spent.

 Of the three mums I got today, I think this 'Beladoni' is my favorite.  It's listed as a late bloomer on the site I was looking at.

On my way home today, I took some side streets to look at people's yards.  The cleomes in others' yards have more blooms than mine.  Next year, I'll do a better job deadheading.

The 'Harvest Moon' Echinacea did not bloom much this year.  I'm thinking this plant, which is just getting a bloom on it, is a volunteer that just came up this year.  I wonder what the bloom will look like when it's open more.

The love lies bleeding is about finished for the season, but still has color.  The scraggly plant to its right is a hibiscus, which had a nice long bloom time this year.

One more view to the east and south, I hope the birds enjoy the coneflower seeds.

It was predicted to get down to 32 later in the week, but the lowest now, is to be 37.  It's supposed to rain tonight, and be windy tomorrow.  I hope to get the rest of the compost spread out and start digging against the veggie garden fence so we can put some rabbit fencing around.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Skipper Kind of Day

I wasn't going to put up any new posts for a few more days, in an effort to get some gardening and housework done, but I did get some things done this morning, and when the clouds let the sun through, the skippers came out, and so did my camera.  Well, first a couple loud geese flew over kind of low, and I had run in to get my camera in case more followed.  The skippers caused me to use it after all. So, I now have a post for Misty Dawn's Camera Critters.  The link is in my sidebar.

I pulled some of the verbena b. from the path in the veggie garden so we can haul compost around easier.  I made sure there was still some for the butterflies that are still around.  There were a number of skippers that were on the shy side.  Most of them looked to be the same kind, so I just put one of the photos in instead of my usual bunches.

I'm pretty sure this is an Asian Lady Beetle, which seem to not be around as often as in the past.  I haven't had one bite me for awhile, anyway.  Their bites hurt!

Here's another skipper enjoying the Chocolate Joe Pye Weed, in the bed on the east side of the veggie garden.

A couple of black winged moths were either on the Chocolate Joe Pye Weed or its relative, Eupatorium, 'Prairie Jewel', which is next to it.

 I love the deep blue color of this volunteer salvia, and so does this skipper.

 The New England Asters are still providing food for the bees and other critters.  Some of the asters are finished blooming already.

 There were a bunch of tiny insects humming over the 'Fireworks' Goldenrod.  I just pointed toward them, and took some photos, hoping some would be visible.  I see I got a nasty beetle, and something smaller above it.

 This skipper is atop a salvia I purchased this spring.  It's not as deep a blue as the volunteer above, but I still like it.  By the way, I've mentioned in the past, that the way I got the volunteer one started was by laying spent stems from some at church, which always have a bunch of the lovelies in the bed I got the stems from.

I haven't seen any monarchs, ladies, or swallowtails lately.  I supposed the monarchs are on their way to Mexico.  I did see a silver spotted skipper when I was walking in the back door after picking up our grandson from my parents' house.

(Added later in the day:  KJ and I saw a monarch flitting around as the leaves were falling.  It was pretty cool.)

I hope you're having a nice weekend.    It sure is a beautiful day here!  Now, back to work I go!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvesting Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and a Couple Peppers for Wordless Wednesday

I haven't participated in Wordless Wednesday for awhile, and even then, did not link in, because I wasn't sure who the host was, and even though I discovered it awhile back, don't remember now. Oops!  I just wrote some words!