Fall Rainbow Colors

October 16, 2013

I just wanted to share some of the colors that are still blooming in the garden these days.

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Pink chrysanthemums.  These flowers get no sun this time of year as they are on the north side of the house.  They are just starting to open up and should be in full bloom in a week or so.

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Pineapple sage – a popular plant for hummingbirds.

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Intricate nasturtium blossom.  The yellow and orange nasturtiums are multiplying with the recent rains.

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Scabiosa – blue pincushion flower – and swiss chard.

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The ‘hens and chicks’ outside the front door seems to be very healthy these days.  I have brought this indoors several winters.

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Fall colors on lindera benzoin – spicebush.

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The colors are more subtle in the shrubs and grasses.  Vernal witch hazel shrub and miscanthus ‘morning light’ grass.

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Bumblebee rests on gaillardia ‘blanket flower’ in the evening.  The bees are still looking for nectar this time of year, but slow down in the cool mornings and evenings.

Bugs:  I have disturbed a few praying mantises, who are moving more slowly this time of year.  I have not seen my usual grasshoppers in the garden, but maybe they are just hiding well.  I saw a few beautiful earth worms when I was pulling up the alyssum plants…


Labor Day in the Garden

September 2, 2013

It was great to have the day off and to be able to get a few things done around the garden.  I actually got quite a bit of cleaning done this morning and some seeds planted.  What I really enjoy this time of year are the insects and wild life that is everywhere, from spiders to butterflies.  I tried to get a picture of a black swallowtail butterfly, but it was fluttering so quickly I could not get it in focus.  Here are a few little creatures I was able to get shots of….
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At sunset a bee was resting for the night in a gaillardia flower.

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Dragonfly, I think a widow skimmer, on penstemon digitalis – husker red seed head.

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Grasshopper on green bean vines.

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Three pollinators on Agastache.  The bee and the soldier beetle on the right are familiar.  A new one was the long orange looking bug on the left.  It turns our to be a Ailanthus webworm moth.  They are not native, but have migrated north for the summer, as they like the tree of heaven, which is an invasive tree that is common now in our neighborhood.

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Now that it is September a few sedum flowers are turning pink and the soldier beetles are migrating over here and seem to be mating on the flower.  Bees and butterflies like these flowers, too.

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Ant on fennel with pink zinnias.

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Berries on viburnum arrowwood Chicago lustre.  This has been a good year for a lot of berries on the Chicago lustre and raspberry tart viburnum.

Today’s experiment:  On September 2nd I planted nasturtium and pea seeds that I harvested myself.  Are the seeds viable and will they germinate and sprout this late?  I also planted more lettuce, tatsoi, and onions, to keep it coming through the fall.

Beautiful Summer Day!

June 30, 2013

It was a gorgeous day today! About 75 degrees with a nice breeze. It was a great day to sit in the sun and enjoy the wonder of summer.

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Red hot pokers in the center with orange butterfly weed in the background.  On the right is Russian sage and on the left is the ornamental grass, miscanthus morning light.

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Just to the right of the picture above is a large patch of gaillardia.  Now the self-seeding alyssum are starting to fill in the open ground areas.

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In my drought garden is white-blooming swamp milkweed.  I also have the pink-blooming swamp milkweed – asclepias.

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Fly on heliopsis false sunflower summer sun.  Today as I sat on the patio a gold finch came and started tearing the leaves off this flower, trying to get at the seeds, I think.

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I am also growing real sunflowers for the first time in this yard.  The leaves seem to bend toward the sunshine.  This is the biggest one and it is as tall as I am now.  It looks like it will have multiple blooms.

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Shasta Daisy

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Zucchini blossom and cucumber beetles.  Three cucumber beetles find a nice refuge in the zucchini blossom.  Or maybe they are mating….  I am glad there are a lot of birds around to reduce the population.

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Cooking the good stuff:  I cooked another big pot of vegetable soup today.  Last week my soup lasted for four days for Phil and I, which really helped me with my busy schedule!

June Colors

June 16, 2013

Here are a few of the flowers that are blooming around the garden this week.
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The butterfly weed is starting to open.  I would love to see some butterflies visit.

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Coreopsis early sunrise

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The gaillardia are starting to bloom now.

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Tickseed coreopsis

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A little foxglove I transplanted is blooming between the Joe Pye Weed and the feather reed grass.

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Pencil pod golden wax bean flower.  You have to look for these flowers, but they are fun to find.  The peas are also blooming.

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This is the first coleus I have planted.  It says it can handle sun and part shade, so I hope it survives in this sunny spot.

Morning in the Garden

August 11, 2012

On Friday evening after work I like to clean up the garden and fill the bird baths.  I deadhead the flowers and harvest the vegetables.  Then when I get up on Saturday morning I am ready to take pictures.  It is best before full sun.

Phlox is blooming all over the garden.  It seeds itself more each year and last year the pink phlox appeared for the first time.  In the background you can see the Blue Hill Salvia.  I cut it back in June and now it is starting to bloom again.

Coreposis ‘Early Sunrise’

The purple veronica spike speedwell is also coming back after being cut back in June.  The white alyssum carpet of snow is an annual that seeds itself around the yard.  It fills in nicely when other flowers die down over the summer.

Next to the veronica is the Little Bunny Pennisetum, which is a dwarf fountain grass.  Generally it has not done well in the garden, but is looking cute this year.

Wonder of Staffa Aster

The asters squeeze in behind the gaillardia and in front of the big canna plant.  I am enjoying the two different thyme plants on the front of this garden.  Also, you can see the sweet potato vine coming on the ground behind the canna.  It was growing up the middle of one of the yew shrubs and I put it on the ground.  I am hoping for sweet potatotes eventually!

The butterfly weed seed pods have opened and the seeds fly away on these silky tufts of fluff.  Always box elder bugs on this plant.

Brilliant Bugs

July 28, 2012

Since the rain we are finally encountering a few more mosquitoes, gnats and other biting, flying critters, which I have not taken pictures of!  Here is some of the wildlife I enjoy watching and photographing in my yard.

Grasshopper hides in bean pole tent.  I love the detail on his/her body.

Dragonfly – Widow Skimmer.  You can see through his wings.  I love the shiny head and thorax.

Green Dragonfly.  Dragonflyies will let you get quite close if you come very slowly.  This guy has his wings down cautiously and is ready to fly.  Here the wings have no dark markings.  They love to sit on dead sticks.

Bee on Gaillardia.  We have a lot of Gaillardia in the yard and there are always bees on them.

Spider spins web at dusk.  This was really fun to watch.  The spider would come to the center, go around in a circle and head off in a new direction before coming back to the center again.

Emerald Green Arbotvitae.  The one in the back looks fine, but the one in the front suffered from the drought.  Not a pretty picture, but it can happen in drought when you aren’t paying attention.

June Blooms

June 6, 2012

The weather is beautiful this week, in the mid 70s, and the garden is starting to burst into bloom.

Yellow yarrow in the foreground.  The bed in the background I call my “fall garden,” but it is looking pretty active this June.  The tall flowers are the red hot pokers.  The blue flowers are “Spike Speedwell” Veronica.

Cute coreopsis.  I think these are called “Early Sunrise.”

I think these Gaillardia seeded themselves in a new spot in the garden.

These pink flowers are Penstemon Digitalis Red Husker, with yarrow in the background.

If you looked at this blog last November you will remember that I did lasagne mulch on the right half of this area with a lot of leaves from our yard and the neighbors yard.  The leaves all reduced down and now the spot is planted with some new plants.  This should look good by the fall, though some flowers are already getting ready to bloom.

The butterfly weed is starting to bloom.  Now we just need the Monarchs to find it.

Instead of letting the morning glories come back again this year I planted a Virginia Creeper.  This should spread over the back fence and be red in the fall.  The morning glories were beautiful, but a lot of work to clean up in the fall, in order to keep the seeds from taking over the whole yard!  Hopefully this will be a perennial that requires less work.

It is great to have an extra day to relax!  The temperature is hot.  Added to that I got a bug bite on my ankle again, which swelled up, so I am off my feet for the day.  Good day to seek some shade and chill with a book.

Sometimes the color combinations in the garden are a surprise.  This year I have three shades of purple and lavender blooming at the same time that I can enjoy from the kitchen window.  It is really very hard to capture it in a picture, though. On the right are two shades of purple salvia and behind the oak tree is the light blue catmint.  The yellows are yarrow in the front and lady’s mantel next to the catmint.  The pink is the foxglove and the white in back is goat’s beard.

No flowers here, but I like the foliage contrasts.  In the front is an ornamental grass, I think my favorite, Panicum Rotsrahlbusch, a cultivar of switch grass.  The dark foliaged plant is very agressive, but always pretty in the spring.

I love the first Gaillardia of the season.  The colors are so vibrant!

This pretty plant is Green’s Red Choi and is a vegetable.  I think I should replant it in the garden, but it seemed to need a lot of water so right now I have it in a planter by the faucet.

Romaine lettece.  We have been eating the outer leaves of the romaine and a lot of leaf lettuce.  Recently we have been putting lettuce in the blender in our blueberry drinks and Dan finds it a good way to enjoy lettuce.

We have a sunny yard, so the neighbor gave us his old umbrella he no longer uses.  Dan’s project was to put a pvc pipe in the ground to drop the umbrella into it.

While taking my kitchen scraps out to the compost pile I hit a snake when I prodded in the pile with my hand shovel.  The snake writhed and I was shocked and ran into the house.  Here Dan is putting the scraps in the compost pile.  The snake was long gone. Although the snake was small, it was larger than I would have expected.  We have a lot of toads in the yard and many tasty critters in the compost pile, so I imagine he is well fed.  I usually try to make a lot of noise when I go to the wilder areas of the garden to give the snake a little time to get away….


November 6, 2011

I know it isn’t Thanksgiving Day yet, but I was thankful today as I cleaned out the vegetable garden.  I was thinking about the seeds falling on good soil and multiplying thirty, sixty, even one hundred times.  Certainly the zucchini and one tomato plant did that this year.  All that is left now is the kale, swiss chard, a few onions scattered around and the perennial herbs.  I have a huge flat parsley plant that is very green.  The soil is partially so good because of the leaves that we compost each year.  And now it is that time of year again.  Leaves are falling and I am working to get my compost cooking enough to decompose all the leaves we are gathering.

I have enjoyed watching the bushes change color.  The spice bush was very yellow, but hard to catch with my camera.  Here are a few more fall color shots.

I took this picture of the fothergilla bush a week ago.

The Regent’s Serviceberry west of the house.  It was planted just a little over a year ago and I am looking forward to watching it grow more each year.

Ajuga and maple leaf.

Gaillardia – Blanket Flower.  I have not done as much deadheading on these recently, but they still keep coming month after month.

Cooking today:  Sauteed green beans, kale and bacon.  I also broiled another batch of green peppers and some tomatoes.

Beauty in Diversity

June 12, 2011

There is a lot going on in the garden.  Other than planting a couple of annuals today, it was a good day to just relax and enjoy being in the garden.  It was in the high 50s much of the day so I had to stay in the sun to keep warm.

I love the contrast of color, shape and texture in this part of the garden. Front row:  Lady’s mantle, plum pudding coral bells, coreopsis – moon beam.  Middle row: purple coneflower, Korean feather reed grass, pink turtle head plant.  Back row:  Joe Pye Weed – little Joe, Joe Pye Weed – gateway.

We have three kinds of corepsis in our garden.  This one is tickseed.  Coreposis need a lot of deadheading, though I have heard that moon beam does not…

The third coreopsis is early sunrise, that is just starting to bloom on the right.  The purple flowers are spike speedwell.  Behind are black eyed susan and morning light miscanthus.

Viburnum – raspberry tart.  This flower is so intricate and will soon produce dark purple berries for the birds.

The first gaillardia is blooming.

Toad suns himself on the ground cover.  Or maybe he is getting a good lunch of bugs here….

The silver maple helicopter seeds have all fallen are are sprouting all over the yard.  Here they are growing in an empty pot I left on the patio.  Last weekend we cleaned out tons of them that were growing in the gutter of the roof.