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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Penstemons n other stuff

My penstemon bed is blooming...
penstemon australis
My penstemon australis isn't as happy in the garden as the naturals are out in the unimproved sand... what's that about?

smooth penstemon
  Not sure whether this wild collected plant is penstemon digitalis or penstemon laevigatus...
 They're pretty similar...



penstemon smallii

I garden collected this penstemon smallii... I doubt this plant grows wild around here... in spite of it's claim to being a "native" plant...

These penstemons are difficult to photograph, and their short bloom time leaves them as kind of a poor choice for any but the most dedicated plant collectors.
So... how did the husker red (Penstemon digitalis) make the 1996 plant of the year?

I used to grow the smooth penstemon (middle) from seed in my previous garden, but in the sand.... not so much... I was able to divide each of these last winter, by digging a clump and teasing it apart into multiple sections...


 I have babies!
You'll remember the ladybug orgy from the previous post...
These kewt little gators are the result of all that mad ladybug bliss...



farkle berry flowers...

Lookit them mulberries! yummy!

This datura bloom seems a bit early...

I'm expecting a good year for daylilies, if all this rain continues...

 Finally, another natural... goat's rue (Tephrosia virginiana)

 

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's still Spring...

The winter garden is through... 

Rutabagas in flower

My Russian kale has bolted...

Can't turn this stuff under... the ladybugs like the blooms...

Ladybug orgy...


Speaking of bugs...
Looks like a predator...

Definitely a predator...

Spiderwort

It's been raining... the Louisiana iris are happy...


 Mock orange...

American lady on clasping heliotrope

Green tree frog.

The poppies are heading into the sunset... the goldfinches are waiting in the tree branches...

 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A tidy garden is a crime.

I've always known that tidying the garden harmed it... I was given another reason to avoid this heinous act last weekend.

I had an idea that I needed to move a large clump of lantana out of the vegetable garden... I have a nice line of lantana next to my parking space... and need additional plants there.

So... To move the lantana required that I first cut back the dead stems... so I could get near it with the shovel...

There I wuz... clipping merrily, not paying ne attention to my surroundings...

BAM!

A quail flew out of there, and slammed into the garden fence.

Here's some feathers she  left behind... Poor thing dint quite clear the fence... she hit the ground and went running for cover.

Still not paying attention to anything except my own selfish ends, I kept clipping away...

After a while... I started hearing cheeping... Apparently, there were babies under the lantana...


Can you honestly look at this mess of sheared ends and profess to prefer having this to having the birds?



I knew they were raising chicks... I'd stumbled over this nest while out walking... And I'd had that mama quail take flight a few times when I walked through the garden... Where was my powers of deduction?

Need more information about the importance of avoiding tidying?
Ellen Honeycut posted an excellent article on the virtues of leaving the garden to it's natural state for the benefit of the wildlife




 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

Poppies! 


Poppies grow in the winter, when we have extra space... and bloom in the Spring...
And then we can plant veggies... if we want...




Fresh mulch and bearded iris


White phlox


A daylily in April....


A tightrope act...


Papilio troilus spice bush butterfly visiting salvia macrophylla

 

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Naturals

Naturals... were here when I got here... 
The thing about gardening with naturals.... is... you can't just weed everything out, or run around spraying round-up on anything that you don't recognize...


Amsonia





Carolina rock-rose (Helianthemum Carolianum)


The interesting thing about Helianthemum Carolianum... is that it seems to be a member of the rock-rose family... And I've had rock rose (cistus) on my wish list since forever, and it can't be had in this area.... apparently it doesn't tolerate humidity... Seems like time to make some crosses....



Hoary puccoon
(it's really called that)


This one hasn't started blooming yet... The problem with hoary puccoon... is that it doesn't transplant... mark your plant well, this guy is difficult to keep!



Indigo (Baptisia lanceolata), I posted this last time, but it's got more open blooms today...

Here's a nice grouping... you know what they say about planting in groups of three...



Not a flower... but this little sassafras sapling caught the afternoon light and my attention...


Toadflax...





Ok, I ran out of naturals... I brought in the violets...



I brought in the crossvine, also...





I'm seeing butterflies.... and they're finding me...


Here's something I'd like to see more of... The mosquitoes are happy to use my rain barrels to reproduce, the dragonflies... not so much...

 

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