Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October's Wildflowers

Even though we've had several hard freezes, there are still some blooms hanging on, and the fall colors are something to enjoy.  A few days ago, we had very high winds, and I was amazed at how the plants held their own for the most part.

This post is for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, and as I frequently do, I'm putting my own spin on it, including some native foliage, and not just posting wildflowers.  I'm also posting a little early because I hope to visit some blogs this evening, and if they visit me back, I want a more current post.

I will start with the current star of the yard.  I am pleased that the New England asters, or "former asters", as Gail points out, have seeded themselves around a bit.  The ones by the sidewalk usually have problems with brown lower stems, but I cut them back in the spring, and that seems to help prevent or delay it.  When the sun is out, these plants are loaded with different kinds of bees and painted lady butterflies.  Can you see the honeybee on the right?  The bigger dried leaves are common milkweed.

The Mexican hats are still blooming.  I hope some come up from seed next year.

The asters on the right are not native ones.  I recently figured out what kind they are, but am not remembering right now.  I put this photo in to show the native switchgrass that I want to take some divisions of to other spots in the spring.  It is being crowded right now.

I am enjoying the little bluestem grasses that are in several spots.  They have gotten to be a nice size, and I love the fall color change.  The next photo will show a closer shot of the Riddell's Goldenrod, which was the last to bloom.

I'm thinking the bloom time was shorter than the other goldenrods.  I'm kind of liking all the puffiness.

There are several plants, including this liatris that have put a few new blooms out, even though the rest of the flowers have gone to seed.

I usually show the amsonia hubrichtii on the east side of the house, which is quite spectacular now, but I'm putting this one in to show the Indian Grass on the right of it.  There is also one on the other side of the bicycle, to the left of where the photo ends.  I just planted them a couple weeks ago, and am concerned about them, because I only remembered to water them for a few days.  We have had a couple rain showers, and I am now watering them, but they are pretty brown.  I hope they are still alive.

I frequently show the mountain mints.  I'm not sure what kind this one is, because I don't remember whether I planted it, or if it planted itself.

I mentioned in my last WW post that the short toothed mountain mint looks good all season.  See?  I'm glad the baptisia behind it did not get eaten by the caterpillars the one down the way did.

The Joe Pye Weed is almost finished blooming, and I see the foliage has turned a darker color, but it is still quite a large presence in the yard.

I hope you aren't tired of the wild quinine.  It's another one with a long season of interest.

The golden alexander foliage is redder than last month.  Larry cut off the seeds from the plant that they were on, so I hope the plants come back next year.  I have read that they are short lived, but will reseed.  Next year, I'll leave more flowers on to go to seed.

The rigid goldenrod has fall colors, and puffy seedheads.  I see there is new green growth at the base.

Here's a closer view of the seedheads.

I'm glad I planted gray headed coneflowers before hearing a woman at our local nature center say they shouldn't be planted in small yards.  They have had a good, long season, and most are still blooming nicely.  Others are finished, but still provide structure for the garden.

I'm pretty sure this is thick spiked blazing star, one of the several kinds of liatris in the yard.

Some birds have been enjoying the beautyberries.

The two wild sennas I planted last year had those pretty clusters of yellow blooms this year, and now have some cool looking seed pods.  I will admit that I took some off before they could ripen, hoping for fewer to have to pull out or find homes for next year.

I was pleased to see this painted lady butterfly on one of my clumps of a native plant called pussytoes the other day.  It didn't bloom this year.  I hope it does next year, but if it doesn't, I still like the foliage.

We are having some mild days to enjoy.  I have been watering the most recently planted things with water from the rain barrels, which need to be empty before winter.  Larry and I raked some leaves out of the street and a bit from a couple neighbor's yards and put them on the vegetable garden across the street.  It was Larry's idea to put them there instead of on a compost pile, like we usually do.  I hope they stay put and are easy to incorporate into the soil next spring.

I am excited for spring to get here, to see if the native flower seeds I planted sprout.  The penstemon looks like it's coming up already.  I hope it is OK.  I had read the seeds need the cold winter temps in order to sprout.  I am hoping for some new flowers to show for next year's Wildflower Wednesdays.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How the Front Curb Area is Faring

I think I've already mentioned that I'm glad that not all plants succumb to the first freezing temperatures.  That makes it easier to deal with the first losses.  There are still some blooms to cheer us up and provide nectar for the bees and butterflies that have also survived.

I will go around from the west side, facing north, showing some close ups and some wider views.  I figured out the photos that aren't centered are ones I cut and pasted to rearrange their order.  I will leave them that way, since they almost look like I did it on purpose, and I don't want to fiddle with them.

The sedges I planted look like they will make it.  I've never grown them before this year.  Now, I wonder if I have a tag around to remind me what kind they are.

I would like to learn how to make new rose plants from stems.  This mystery rose that I got from the sale table at a local garden center a number of years ago blooms off and on from spring to fall.  I use no fertilizers, but always think I should do some organic feeding of some kind.  Still, it does not complain.

The persicaria clumps I planted a year or two ago from a friend are looking good.  I was going to take the liatris plants that I think are 'Kobold' down so they couldn't produce more plants, but didn't get it done.  I suppose I still could.

I think this sedum is 'Indian Summer'. I don't remember what kind of agastache  or salvia that is behind it, but it was not newly planted this year.  I'm glad for its color this time of year.

The grape hyacinths are coming up like they frequently do in the fall. They will still bloom this summer, unless something else causes a problem.

Continuing east, the perennial geraniums are nice and green.   The goldenrod is about finished blooming.  The red is the second clump of persicaria.

Here's one of the grasses I planted this summer.  It may be sideoats gamma, which is one that I know I planted.  I got a few nice sized clumps, and split them in half to increase the number of plants I got in.

Several of the lavender plants have a second flush of blooms.  I didn't get much dried, but did cut back the spent blooms.  The asters are performing well.

The lantanas took awhile to bush out and bloom, and would like to go on awhile, but the weather will soon stop them.

I am having trouble deciding what I think of the reblooming iris.  It seems to me that they are too springy looking for me to like as much in the fall.  Still, they are adding color to the fall garden.

There are still some rose moss blooms.

There is more room on the sidewalk than it looks from here.

This is next to the sidewalk, showing the knautia is still blooming. That looks to be another side oats gamma near by.

I don't try to totally mirror what's in each bed, but there are a lot of the same plants on each side.

This sedum, also shown above, is from several stems I took from one in another part of the yard a few years ago.

There are still a few blooms on the geraniums.

The blue salvias reseed each year.   In front of them are some cool looking seed pods on a butterfly milkweed.

The daylilies had lots of brown leaves this summer, and I got most of them pulled out.  They have put on enough new growth that they no longer look stressed.

We've turned the corner, and are heading back west, facing south.

The goldenrod, 'Fireworks' is one of the last to bloom.  It could be because I cut them back in the summer to keep them compact.  That does delay bloom time some.

I'm glad I didn't pull the New England asters out when their lower leaves and stems were turning brown.  I try to keep them trimmed back in the summer so that they are more compact, and that seems to help keep the stems relatively healthy.   I sure like the bloom color.

I'm thinking I should probably cut back the milkweed plants.  Someone told me there are no more monarch eggs this time of year, if I am remembering correctly.

There are some holes in this area where I planted some seeds, maybe native larkspur.  I was thinking about taking out the stressed daylilies, but these are also looking much better.

I didn't plan on letting any verbena bonariensis grow in this area, but there seems to be room here for these.  I've pulled some coneflowers out here and there that have aster yellows.  These seem to be OK.

Here's the view looking back to the east.  The leaves from neighboring trees are starting to collect to provide some winter protection for the plants. 

We have a good chance for some rain this weekend.  I hope we get a good soaking.  I am not ready for winter, so I am thankful we still have some color.  What do you have blooming?

Monday, October 8, 2012

How the West Front Area Fared after First Frost

Our low yesterday morning was 22 degrees!  I thought it was supposed to be 28.  When I checked, I was expecting more damage than there was.  I took lots of photos, and was tickled to see a number of butterflies and bees.  I decided to post different areas one at a time, and started with my favorite part of the yard.  (Shh!  Don't tell the rest of the yard.)

I seem to like to start taking photos from the front porch.  

This is one of my favorite views to take pictures of.

It looks like the Mexican sunflowers are finished for the season. They are such a big plant, and it is sad to see them in this condition.

Stepping down off the porch, we are going to take a different route this time.

When I got this switchgrass, 'Prairie Sky' I was told that the native kind spreads quite a bit.  Well, the two plants here are spreading way more than the native clump I later decided to try.  I'm trying to decide if I am going to keep these here, or try to replace them.  Some days, I feel obsessed with only having native plants in this part of the yard.  Other days, I tell myself this will never be a prairie, and why not have critter friendly plants that I enjoy there as well.  Also, Larry reminds me from time to time, that I am not native to this area.

The liatris are pretty much finished blooming.  The leaves to the right of the rectangular basket are the cup plant, which I decided to take down before the birds can plant the seeds into the neighbors' yards.  Oh, and I took down Larry's sweet potato vine that comes up every year, and tries to take over.  He said he's not letting any morning glories grow in the back yard, so I decided now was the time to wage the same war on this vine.  (The little fences and baskets seem to work to keep the rabbits from eating the purple prairie clover and two kinds of phlox, which are some of their favorites.)

The monarda sure has pretty fall foliage.

The newer growth is even darker than the rest.

I cleared some sea hollies and other plants that I decided not to grow here, and the path is now walkable, so we'll go into the area this way. 

I planted several kinds of seeds, though, so hopefully, they will come up in the spring, and cause the path to be less walkable.

I'm thinking this is boltonia, 'Pink Beauty', which means it is not a native plant.  It sure is pretty, though, and the pollinators did seem to like it.

Here's the view facing north and west, where the rigid goldenrod is pretty much finished blooming, but holding up pretty well.

This lone little clump is still bright and cheerful.

I found out that zig zag goldenrod likes more moisture and shade than the other kinds, but this one has new growth, so maybe it's OK here.

This is from the same spot as the above photos, facing more west.  Three of the four gray headed coneflowers are still showing color.  I've mentioned that I deadheaded them. 

The goldenrod is Riddell's.

I planted several kinds of grasses, such as side oats gamma, blue gamma, little bluestem, several kinds of switchgrass, and indiangrass the last couple of years.  I can't remember what this one is.  I hope it will be joined by some native larkspur next year.

This area should look different next year, because some of the plants have not bloomed yet, and I'm hoping next year they will. 

I took off most of the wild senna seedheads, since there isn't room for more plants.  Still, I'm glad I left some, because I like how they look.

The black and blue salvia is ready to be cut back.  I'm guessing it won't be back next year, even though it did survive our last mild winter.  I will give it another chance, though, and not pull it out.

I'm thinking it was a robin I saw eating some of the beautyberries the other day.  The foliage on them has changed from the cold.

The rattlesnake master that I moved from the east flower bed did well.  Next year, it should get taller.  The coreopsis next to it should be blooming by next year.

There's the other Mexican sunflower, also finished for the season.  The pitcher sage is still looking good.

I don't remember what kind of clematis this is, growing on the trellis.  The flower was quite small, and shaped like a bell.  I like the seedpods, too.

The love likes bleeding is finished.  This wild senna is not turning colors as much as the other one is.  It also bloomed later than the other one.

This switchgrass is 'Northwind'.

I need to get that cleome pulled.  I'm not going to let its offspring grow, because I got ahold of seeds of the native kind, and planted them nearby.

I will keep the peony plants that were my mother-in-law's.

I'm glad I got to sit here some this year.

Poor tithonia!

Here's the way out, on the path I usually use.

Here's that little mint I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to let grow.

Since I already showed the side of the garden, I walked by again, and stepped down the steps to show the area in front of the fence.  The spirea and mums were already here before putting in the asters and the rest of the plants.

It looks a little fuller here than it really is.

I have seeds planted in the bare spots.

I like the color of this lantana.

I'm thinking about taking out the moss phlox.  The pussytoes did pretty well.

We're heading west.

I like the color of the little bluestem.

Here's the view from the west.  The switchgrass in the corner is 'Heavy Metal'.

Fall is here and blowing leaves around.  I hope for some nice days to be outside before the cold sets in.