Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wildflower Wednesday

I am not sure how September got here so quickly, and is now almost over!  I am not ready for winter, but I am determined to enjoy fall.  For Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, I am going to feature the same plant I did in July, short toothed mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum because it is continuing to do so well and is attracting pollinators.  I also posted a photo of this awesome plant in my last post that I did because of the huge numbers of painted lady butterflies we had been seeing.  I mentioned that if you can only have one native plant, this is one that would be a contender.  There are not many plants that feed the pollinators for such a long time!  Another plus, is that rabbits and deer do not eat it.  I am thinking Gail has posted about it as well, and called it blunt mountain mint, as I read some do.  The plants contain pulegone, the same insecticide as pennyroyal, and I read that one can rub some leaves on the skin to repel mosquitoes.  That is weird to me, since it draws so many insects to the blooms.  This is one you do not want to make tea with like you can Virginia mountain mint.

Here are some photos I took today:

There were not as many painted ladies, but there were still a number of them.  I love the silver looking leaves.

I wonder if this is a great golden digger wasp.

The wasp on the left looks like the previous one, but it is quite a bit smaller. Then, there are a couple tiny ones, smaller than the honey bee in the photo.

I am not sure what this little insect is.  It may be a bee of some kind.  It's smaller than half an inch long.

I was excited to see yet another kind of wasp!  I need to learn what kinds these are!

I believe this wasp is yet another kind.  It doesn't look to have white on it like the other black ones.

I can't see the antennae on this well enough to be able to tell if it is a moth or a butterfly.  I know I've seen these here before, but not often.

I am always glad to see the bumblebees and carpenter bees.  They have been around all summer. 

If you have a spot to fill, this is one that looks great all season, and you get to see a variety of pollinators on it!  It does well in full sun to part shade.  It can handle moist or dry conditions.  It spreads by rhizomes, but not aggressively.  Here is a link to show more information, including the native range.  It is not actually native here in SE Nebraska, but the insects don't realize it, and they sure grow well here!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Painted Lady Irruption, etc.

I learned a new word this week, after seeing loads of painted lady butterflies in our yard.  There are some years painted lady butterflies have an irruption, where they produce lots more than usual.  (There is a more detailed description of it if you click on the link.)  The other day, I was pleased to count about 28 of them, but two days later, there were at least 48, and there were at least that many again yesterday!  My granddaughter and I saw quite a few here and at a local lake we went to today.  She was determined to catch one, but they eluded her.

I have been posting lots of photos on Facebook, but since I took more photos yesterday, I decided to do a blog post, and include some of the other critters making use of the plants.

Wild quinine continues to be one of my favorite native plants to grow.  It has a long bloom time, and draws insects all season.

The Canada goldenrod is looking great this time of year!  I am not sure how spring and summer have flown by so quickly, though, and here we are almost to the middle of September!

I don't show our yard from the west often, so thought I'd include this photo, since I took it for some reason.

Big leaf aster is one I just started growing a couple or so years ago.  It is one that likes part shade.  A tree across the street was cut down this spring, so there is not as much shade as there had been, but the plants I have around are doing well.  It has spread, but not aggressively.  I have been seeing pollinators of different kinds on the blooms.

I planted blue mistflower a couple or three years ago in both curb beds.  It has spread beyond where I had planned to allow it to, so I will have some of these to share with the local members of Gardening with Nature in Mind at our spring plant/seed share.  It sure is a nice looking plant and bloom, though! 

I am pretty sure this is tall tickseed.  It is on the east side of the house.

It was the sweet black eyed susans I first saw quite a few painted ladies on, and caused me to look around the yard more.  I hadn't yet heard this was a widespread occurrence yet.

Here is a closer view with another visitor, some kind of bee.

I think it is normally fall when I see this kind of bee.  It is larger than other bumblebees I see.  The pitcher sage plants are adding a nice blue to all of the yellow in the yard.  One of the plants has white blooms, though.  It is drawing pollinators as well as the blue ones.

Liatris aspera, one of my favorites, is looking good with the penstemon seeds.

This skipper was just on the purple bloom of verbena bonariensis, one of the non-natives I continue to grow because the pollinators are frequently on them.  Actually, it is a self sowing annual here, so they take care of themselves.

The stiff goldenrod blooms are drawing lots of visitors.  I usually see a number at a time on this clump.

I am finally starting to see some spiders the last few days. The other day, I was in awe as I watched an orb spider of some kind take its web down.  This is one of the sweet black eyed susan plants.

Kiss me over the garden gate is another non-native self sowing heirloom annual.  It gets six or more feet tall.  This one had lots of leaf damage from the June beetles late spring or early summer, but that hasn't stopped it from blooming and looking splendid now.

Here is another photo of the stiff, also called rigid goldenrod.  Some of the plants actually flop in my yard.  I've heard they do that in gardens.  I recently found out the rigid actually refers to the blooms and not the plants.

Riddell's goldenrod is not as tall as some of the other goldenrods, and is a bit more upright.  I have not been seeing as many monarchs as usual this fall.  I hope they show up soon, and haven't skipped me because I didn't get any Mexican sunflowers planted, and there are no Liatris ligulistylis blooming.  The plants I bought didn't grow much this season.  I hope they do, and bloom next year!

The Joe Pye plants are about finished blooming, but still have some insect visitors.

I believe this is Boltonia asteroides 'snowbank'.

I am glad to be seeing a few eastern tailed blue butterflies.

Oh, my goodness, if you can only grow one native plant, short toothed mountain mint draws numerous pollinators all summer and into fall!  Can you see all five painted ladies?  The foliage of the Amsonia hubrichtii, on the left will soon be turning gold.

Here is a painted lady on a verbena bonariensis, with the yellow of brown eyed susans in the background.

Here is another photo of big leaf aster blooms, this time with a bee visitor.  I love those pollen sacs!

Zig zag goldenrod is one that prefers part shade.   This is the east side of the house.  I love seeing bees and butterflies "sharing".

These last two photos did not appear the first time I uploaded photos, so I added them at the end.  Because of that, these words are showing up centered, and I don't remember how to fix that.  I am seeing a number of cabbage whites and sulphurs on different kinds of flowers.

I hope all is well with the people I have met through blogging over the years.  I have not kept up with blog visiting now that I seem to be addicted to Facebook.  I need to choose a day once in awhile where I visit blogs.