Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June's Wildflower Wednesday

Gail's Wildflower Wednesday is here, and I'm glad I saw someone's post on Facebook to remind me of the day.  I decided to limit myself this time, and focus on the Milkweeds growing here.  I've mentioned that this nice stand of Common milkweed was planted by nature.

They were starting to sprawl, so I tied them up.

The blooms are fragrant and beautiful!  The buds, and I think, the blooms are edible, but I have only gotten around to doing something with them a time or two over the years.  I also cooked up some new shoots a few years ago, but haven't gotten that done this year.  You have to change the water I can't remember how many times, so if you decide to try it, look up the instructions, because it can be bad for you if you don't.

For the past few days, I've been seeing one or two monarch caterpillars on the plants, which is the reason why I grow them, by the way.  This is the first one I saw this morning.

This is the second one I saw.

When I saw a third one, I was truly tickled!  I am hoping there are more.  I didn't want to get too invasive checking for them.

In the past, there have been several caterpillars on the Butterfly milkweed at a time, but so far, I haven't seen any on them.

I've just been growing Purple milkweed 3 years, and can't remember if I've seen caterpillars on them.  I sure like them, though.

This is blooming shorter than last year, but some of the other plants are, too.  The one on the east side of the house has gotten taller, though, I'm thinking, because the other plants there are taller.  It hasn't opened its bloom yet. This one has sent a new plant about a foot away from it, so I will need to move a Liatris to another spot in the spring so they will each have enough room.  

This cultivar of Swamp milkweed, 'Ice Ballet' has been here a number of years.  I am thinking there have been some caterpillars on it before, but I wish my memory was better, because I'm not sure.

This is another cultivar of Swamp milkweed, 'Cinderella'.  I won't be planting any more cultivars now that I've found more sources for native plants.

I just planted this Swamp milkweed this spring.  It was the last one at a local garden center.  Oh, I just noticed from the photo that there is a hole in one of the leaves that looks like it could be from a caterpillar.  :o)

I decided I wanted another one, and found one at a different local center.  When I first planted it, the leaves looked to be either wider or narrower than the other one, so I wondered if one of them was actually 'Cinderella'.  Now that they've grown a bit, I can't tell the difference as much.  I hope they are both what the tags said they were.  I am pleased to see they are going to bloom soon.

Back in the vegetable garden, the Showy milkweed, which has been here 3 or 4 years, has spread more than usual, but is looking like it has a problem.  It is not getting as tall as before and the leaves are looking misshapen or something.  I hope it is OK.  (That's kale with seedheads on the right.)

Go visit Clay and Limestone to see what wildflowers Gail and others have posted about.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Update on Area Tree Used to Be

There has been lots of growth since my last update.

When I retired as a special education paraeducator this spring, I was given a couple gift certificates for a local garden center.  I got some plants for the back yard tubs, but was pleased to find this trellis, which was made in the U.S.  I wanted something permanent with the gift certificate.  The plants on the other side of it were just planted this spring, and some are volunteers.  I had moved a couple non native plants to another part of the yard last fall, which created room for other plants.

This Illinois bundleflower was given to me by a local garden friend, and I was pleased to give her some Rigid goldenrod.  This will get tall and spread a bit, so it will poke through the trellis.  It looks like the seedlings in the area are Black-eyed Susans.  I'll have to decide how many there will be room for.

A little further in, the plants by the chair from the left, are Golden alexander, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, which was just planted this spring, a taller kind of Poppy mallow, Liatris pycnostachya 'Eureka', and Grayheaded coneflower.  The 'Eureka' was hand written on the tag, and did not have the puncuation around it, and  wasn't familiar enough with which ones are actually native, so I didn't realize it was a cultivar when I got it.

Back out by the sidewalk, the wild quinine blooms are opening up.

I always enjoy walking on one of the few actual paths we have in the yard.   The Heuchera richardsonii blooms were spent, so I cut them off today.  (The photos were taken Saturday.) The grass on each side is Switchgrass 'Prairie Wind'.   I've had the ornamental onion for many years, and don't know if it is a native one.  I actually brought starts over from where we lived before moving here 15 years ago.

This is looking to the left of the path.

Whorled milkweed is one of my favorite plants, both for the foliage and white blooms.

Facing south, and heading west, the main plants in this photo are Wild quinine and another Golden Alexander.

The Meadow rue plants got way taller this year than in the past.  See, they are taller than the light post!  I can't remember which Thalictrum they are, but I didn't think they were Tall meadow rue.  I have them tied up so they won't get knocked over in a storm.  The Culver's root plants have flower buds.

Turning back to the north, the Phlox pilosa, either a native one, or 'Eco Happy Traveler'.  I planted both, and can't tell which is which.  I'm sad that the Golden Alexanders are almost finished blooming.

Looking back to the south, the Rigid goldenrod isn't very rigid, so I tied it up around the bottom.  I've been doing that with some of the other plants, too.  The plant on the left is Zigzag goldenrod.  On the right is another Grayheaded coneflower.   Oh, and I see a Liatris on the far right.

Ironweed, a closer view of the Zizag goldenrod, and the plant on the right is not coming to my brain right now.  That's the Rigid goldenrod on the bottom.

We are continuing to look south, but moving along to the west.

I recently planted two Swamp milkweed plants from two different local nurseries.  The leaves on this one are wider than the one in the next photo.  I'm thinking either the one with narrower leaves was in more sun, or else one is really a cultivar.  That, or maybe there can just be differences in the size of the leaves on different Swamp milkweeds.  The seed pods of the Baptisias will be turning dark soon.

Well, it's hard to tell from these photos that these leaves are narrower.  The plant behind it is Amsonia tabernaemontana.  I figured out that the little seedlings below it that I thought may be something I planted are little Amsonia plants.

Let's keep heading toward the west, looking southish.

 I forgot what kind of Clematis this is, but it is not a climber.

Little bluestem grass, Wild Quinine, Wild senna, with Fremont's clematis, Poppy Mallow 'Logan Calhoun',

I've been enojoying seeing how much larger the Rudbeckia maxima is compared to last year, and it has more flower stalks.

Even though I am trying to have mostly native plants in this area, I keep the Agastache and Salvia, 'black and blue' for the hummingbird pair who have been enjoying them the last two years in a row.  I did put starts from them in one of the tubs, and may move these next spring as well.  The pink flowers may be Echinacea angustifolia.

We've reached the west side of the area.  I forgot to pull one of these clumps of coneflowers before coming in.  It looks like it has Aster yellows.  I'm just thankful most of them are healthy looking.

We are now heading north.  The Prairie Dock leaves keep getting broken off, I suppose by squirrels, so I put a cage around it in hopes that will stop.  The Joe Pye weed that I transplanted looks like it will grow larger than last year, but it will still be shorter than the parent plant.  The Clematis pitcheri reached the top of the trellis, so I clipped it a little, and it is starting to grow new side shoots.

Facing north and east, I still need to get the Painters' pallet and Lamium out of this area so the strawberries under the bench can spread into the area.

Facing east, this grass is Switchgrass 'Northwind'.

I am pleased several areas are starting to fill in.

I think the Purple milkweed is blooming at a shorter size than last year.  There is a new plant coming up, so fist thing in the spring, I plan on moving the Liatris that's too close to it.

Facing back west, the Purple poppy mallow plant is full of blooms.  I like it so well, that I planted several more this spring.  I planted several Lanceleaf coreopsises last year, and they are all full of blooms.  Some of them have flopped over, I suppose, because of all the rain we've had, so I tied them up.  I may grow lots of native plants, but I don't seem to want them to just do their thing.  Still, the pollinators don't mind what I do, as long as I use no pesticides.

Here's another Wild senna.  I am trying to decide if I'm going to keep the Yarrow.

Facing north, I love sitting here as often as I can, but lately, I'm up pulling weeds, dead heading, (and tying plants up) when the weather allows, and am inside when it gets hot.  I deadheaded the Penstemon that is between the bench and the chair.

Facing east, I've already named these plants.

Let's go back out and look at the area from the sidewalk.

Here's another shot of the Meadow rue.  The cup plant started as one clump last year, and like the Rudbeckia maxima, has grown lots.   I'm sure it will be quite impressive when it blooms.

Monarda fistula and Purple prairie clover.  A few of the other ones have some blooms open.  I am excited for all of the blooms to open.

This is Narrow leaf mountain mint.  I just planted it last year, and it looks like I will need to be careful that it doesn't spread too far.

I almost posted a close up of a fly on some blooms, but this one turned out better.  The other Mountain mints are not blooming yet, but soon will be.

I'm loving the Echinacea paradoxas!

Here's a wider view:

The front bed is still full of holes, but there are some smaller plants in there, and lots of seedlings of various plants, such as Mexican hats, Narrowleaf coneflowers, and what I was hoping were the Showy penstemons I planted last fall, but am thinking now, are some kind of Goldenrod.  I also put some of the baby plants I got from Prairie Moon Nursery in here.  They are in Minnesota, and the plants arrived the end of May, on a day that was too wet from lots of rain to plant in right away.  The ones I put in this area, I was able to plant the day they came, and those are actually doing better than the ones I had to wait a day to put in.  It got hot right away, too, so the plants are struggling, but I am glad there is starting to be some new growth.  The plant with the white blooms is a New Jersey tea that I planted last year.  I planted a couple more in there this year. 

We're walking west to see a bit what the area looks like from the street side.  The grass is Little bluestem, and it looks like it has done some seeding as well.  I'll have to find homes for some of the little plants.

In a few years, everything will be big and filled in, and I won't have to buy many plants.  I am excited to see the interactions between all the plants, and how they end up weaving around each other.  I expect, though, that I will be maintaining some degree of separation, though.  We'll see.  The grass here is Switchgrass 'Heavy metal'.  That's another Culver's root behind it.  I am planning on moving the reddish colored Euphorbia to the flower bed by the driveway next spring.

I've now gone from not getting posts done very often to doing 3 within a week.  I expect I won't be keeping up with that.  I am still having trouble getting to other blogs, but have been visiting those who left comments on my GBBD post, so am starting to make some progress in that area.  Happy gardening, folks!