Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday on Thursday

For Gail's Wildflower Wednesday I took some photos of the area where the tree used to be, and included photos of fading foliage and seedheads as well as a few blooms.

I deadheaded the Gray-head coneflowers, and some of the clumps are reblooming.

Wild senna:

Little bluestem and Amsonia illustris:

Wild quinine:

Riddell's goldenrod:


Golden alexanders:

Illinois bundleflower:

Liatris of some kind:

Meadow rue and cup plant:

Monarda fistulosa:

Narrow-leaf mountain mint and false baptisia:

New England aster, foliage of swamp milkweed, and maybe ironweed seeds in the background on the right.

Here are a couple views from the porch:

Our fall weather has been quite pleasant, and we are still getting some rain.  The birds have been eating some of the seeds, but it looks like they will have some for awhile yet.   I am watching our now 4 month old granddaughter 4 days a week.  I harvested some of the seeds while holding her over a couple days, and we found places to place some on the ground, and I walked around, trying to put a little dirt over them.  Maybe I will get some seedlings to share with others in the spring.  I hope your fall is going well!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Curb Beds

Well, it is October, and I am finally accepting the fact that it is fall, and while the gardening season is winding down, it is not totally over.  After I took these photos of the curb beds, my battery died, so I decided to do some weeding and trimming.  I am remembering that October first was the blog's 6th anniversary.  Last year, I mentioned that I have not been blogging as often, and this year, it seems to be even less.

I am working to fill this area after taking out a number of day lilies.  It is shadier than other parts of the front, so I have put some things in that don't mind shade.  Hopefully, they will grow larger next year.

There aren't a lot of plants in bloom, but this rose has a few, after blooming much of the season.  It's been here a number of years, and this is the first one where I have a few volunteers from it.  I hope to get some moved to other spots in the yard in the spring.

I like to go around taking photos so I can remember from one year to the next what is growing.  The sedges have done well, as has the red blooming plant I got from a friend a few years ago, and the name is not coming to me.  It may be a persicaria of some kind.

The side oats grama and perennial geraniums sure are holding their own against each other!  Can you see what else is blooming?

The perennial geraniums sure have done well next to the curbs.

 Facing north and west now, the bare area is where I took down the common milkweed because it was diseased and dying.  It will be back next year.

Back to the west side, facing east, the 'Fireworks' goldenrod plants here and there are doing well.

Back to the front, the reblooming irises are doing their thing.  I am in the process of thinning out the irises.  While the blooms are pretty, they seem out of place to me this time of year.

Many of the plants on the other side are also planted in this area.

After taking these photos, I removed some of these irises and planted a big old clump of Fremont's clematis that had to be dug out from a bed at my church.  It split, and I was pleased to see new growth forming, so I was able to plant both in different spots.   I didn't have big hopes of it surviving, but now, I'm optimistic.  The grassy looking plants next to the prairie dropseed on the left are sedges, but I'm not sure what kind. 

This is looking back to the west.  There used to be mostly day lilies in this area, but I removed them to put more native plants in.  I think this is the third year for these.  The perennial geranium on the end has been there longer.  It almost looks out of place.  Maybe I'll take that out, too.

This is heading to the west and facing north.  I like the liatris blooms, even when they turn to seedheads.

This is a skullcap.  I can't remember which kind.  It's either 'Smokey Hills' or 'Mongolian Skies'.

Now that the English asters have seeded themselves around the yard, I am thinking about taking the two original clumps out.  They need frequent trimming to keep them from blocking the sidewalk, and they get the disease that causes the bottom stems to turn dark.  I'll have to think of something different to plant there. They sure have had lots of insect visitors!

The blue mistflowers have done well without spreading too far this year.  I am interested in seeing how they do next year.

Can you see the blue mistflower clump behind the side oats grama and other plants?  Hopefully, these will prevent them from spreading too far.

We had a good amount of rain this season.  I hope we get enough snow to provide good insulation for the plants this year, and that spring doesn't take too long to get here.  I hope all is well with you and your gardens.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday

The season flew by too quickly, and here we have arrived at September's Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail, at Clay and Limestone.  My previous post was on the different kinds of goldenrod that I grow, so I won't be including them right now.  They are still the stars of the show, but others have joined them.  We have had a good amount of rain this year, so most of the plants are doing quite well.  Some of the goldenrods have white on the leaves from a disease of some kind, I'm thinking from more moisture or humidity than is best for them.  I looked up powdery mildew, and the images I saw were worse than what mine look like.

I trimmed back the asters this year, especially the New England ones, because they get so leggy and get a disease on the lower stems.  They still have that, but they are loaded with buds, a few of which have opened, and been found by pollinators.  This is a sweat bee of some kind.

The brown eyed susans have been blooming a week or two, and are still looking pretty good.

This Clematis pitherii is on a second flush of blooms, and a bumble bee is taking full advantage of it!

I normally cut the beautyberry bushes back early summer so they won't sprawl, but did not get to it this year.  They are doing OK, though.

The common milkweeds have been getting a disease the last few years.  The pods have black on them.  A friend of mine said that if the seeds look OK, they probably were protected inside the pods.  In my searching to learn about diseases they can have, I read that one should cut some of the plants back about half so there will be new growth for the caterpillars.  Do you do that?

Illinois bundleflowers are pretty even after they bloom.  The seed pods turn a beautiful dark brown, and the foliage looks good.

I am pleased to have locally native pitcher sage in different spots in the yard.  The pollinators seem to be as well.

Sometimes the blooms of a Pitcher sage will be white.  There is one clump of the white this year.

I am not sure what kind of ex-aster this is.  I wonder if it is a heath aster.

I took this another day when there was a tiny bee on it.  I do not know what kind of bee it is.  Do you?

With the days getting shorter, I guess I am accepting that it is fall.  I hope to let myself enjoy it.  Usually I am struggling because I do not like winter.  If spring weather would arrive here in March instead of April or May, I would not mind winter as much.  I hope you are having a good fall, with plenty of wildflowers to enjoy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


There are several kinds of goldenrod growing in our yard.  I don't remember what kind this first one is, but I've had this kind for quite a few years, and it has seeded itself around the yard.  It looks the closest to the native goldenrod most people are familiar with, which some blame for hay fever, but the true culprits are wind pollinated plants, such as ragweed.

Stiff goldenrod, Oligoneuron rigidum, native to our area, is also seeding some in the yard, but is not stiff.    I tie it up, but it still flops, especially this year, I think, because of all the rain we've had maybe.  Next year, I plan to cut it back in the spring to see if it will bush out more and not flop.

Still, there have been pollinators and other critters making use of them.


The day after these were taken, I noticed a whole lot of activity on the Stiff goldenrod, so took more photos.

There are several clumps of Riddell's goldenrod, Oligoneuron riddelli, native to the states north, south and east of us, and only this one is sprawling.  I'll try to get it tied up in the next few days.

This is also Riddell's goldenrod, directly behind the sprawling clump.

These plants had the most activity today.  I wish I could remember the names of the wasps and bees that visit the plants.

There were three wasps on the blooms.  The one on the left was smaller than the one on the right, which is also in the previous photo.  There was a third one that I'm thinking was the size of the smaller one.

This is one of the smaller ones.  After looking at the photos, I'm thinking the smaller ones were the same kind of wasp as the larger one, so maybe it's because one is male or female, and the other two are the other.

This is another photo of the larger one.

This clump may be a self sown one from across the yard.  It is smaller than the others, and nice and upright.  The bicycle also provides some support for it.

 It also had some visitors.  I'm not sure what kind of bee this is, but it is smaller than a honey bee.

There were different kinds of wasps as well.  My hand got very close to most of the bees and wasps, like it usually does.  With this one, I got within a couple inches, and it did not seem phased.

I am not sure what the three small insects are, but they were very tiny.  The one on the right may be a sweat bee.

This wasp was smaller than the others, maybe 3/4 to an inch.

Zigzag goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis, is difficult for me to photograph.  This is one that can take some shade and likes moisture.

Here is a closer view of the blooms.  This does get visited by insects, but not as many as some of the other goldenrods.

Fireworks goldenrod, Solidago rugosa, 'Fireworks' is a fun cultivar I bought several of from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum plant sales.

It has just started to bloom.  I only saw one insect on it this day.

In the back yard, the 'Wichita mountains' goldenrod, Solidao, 'Wichita Mountains' blooms are not quite open, but should be soon.  This is one that gets lots of insect activity.

What kinds of goldenrod do you grow?  Do you see lots of activity on them?  I am not ready for fall, but we sure are having cooler temperatures.  I think this week is expected to have highs in the 70s.  I guess that does sound good.