Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Willy-Nilly Wednesday

Another mish-mash post!

James has been under the weather, but is getting better. I think it was something he ate. I was up every hour or so with him the other night, but he did the same for me a few years back.

In the Garden
I know I've been going on a bit about it having been a cool, cloudy spring (check out the cool mushrooms on my tree stump, for example!). But now summer is here and it's hot (high of 90) and very very humid. This makes it hard for me to work in the garden, though I have a lot of clover to pull.

I just love gaillardia and I love my camera's macro feature.

Things are looking pretty colorful here at the moment, and that's the way I like it.

The tiger lilies are just starting to bloom... is lavender...

...and creeping thyme. I'll take a wide shot once the whole carpet is in bloom.

I liked how ox-eye daisies inserted themselves in between the evening primrose.

The veggie garden is making overall slow progress, except for the zucchini which has two flowers!

I was amused to find both fuchsia and white blooms on one plant of rose campion. They must hybridize!

The sweet William catchfly (Silene armeria) are the runaway winter-sown plant winner in that they are all blooming their hearts out. I love this annual and it looks really nice near the bright yellow of my yellow chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) (a perennial winter-sown in 2007 now really coming into its own).

I just love love-in-a-mist, both the flowers and the seed pods. Marnie asked how I plant them, and I literally just sprinkle the seeds on top of the mulch and they do the rest. This grouping sowed itself, even.

Last year I was so excited when my yucca bloomed for the first time since I planted it three (or four?) years before. I know some plants don't like being transplanted and/or take a long time to bloom for the first time. Gardeners are patient. But I assumed it would rebloom every year after that, but it turns out, no. Yucca only bloom from new rosettes every three years or so. I have two plants but they're both on the same cycle, so I won't see blooms again for a while. Bananas!

Wildlife Update
I almost cried when I saw dozens of echinacea buds all over my garden today. Seriously. Over the past two years, the groundhog ate them off so they never bloomed. This year (knock wood) I haven't seen the groundhog much, and I'm really hoping the echinacea will all bloom (knock wood). I did see a young groundhog the other day, about the size of a fox squirrel, and dagnabbit if it wasn't just so cuuuute! I know if I see a baby, an adult is nearby but I think (knock wood) they're living down the street a bit, instead of in my yard. The two-layer (wire mesh and plastic lattice) fencing my handyman put all around my deck and porches earlier this spring seems to be working (knock wood). I've never minded sharing my garden with wildlife, and in the beginning the groundhog and I had the agreement that s/he could eat a little of everything but not all of anything. And that worked fine until s/he discovered echinacea, which s/he really, really liked.

I haven't seen the turtle since my last post. I'm guessing she laid her eggs in the nature area bordering my house. However, I have seen a deer in my garden a few times since. In the middle of the day, which is odd because deer are crepuscular.

Parkathon Progress
You may recall I decided to visit all of Ann Arbor's ~160 parks this year. I'd done about 50 and then got off course. The other night I visited Lakewood Nature Area as part of a tour. It was a nice forest without the shrubby undergrowth most forests have. You can see a bunch of jewel weed (native) on the ground. These are also called touch-me-nots; not because they're poisonous, because they're not, but because their seeds explode and shoot all the heck over the place. (Which of course makes me want to touch them, but, whatever. No one ever asks me when naming things!) They bloom in orange a bit later in the season.

Unfortunately, my camera was acting up and the rest of the photos from that day look like this. I really need to buy a new camera!

I learned that the burrs of the burdock plant were the inspiration for Velcro and that swallowtail larvae eat only the leaves of prickly ash (Xanthoxylum americanum), and I heard the song of a red-eyed vireo.


  1. Good morning, Monica! I was looking for your Mish-Mash post on Monday, didn't have time for much blog-reading yesterday, and then discovered your new post about halfway down my sidebar just now. "Willy-Nilly Wednesday" almost got lost in the shuffle:)

    So glad your echinacea are budding, and let's hope that groundhog stays away! A summer without coneflowers would be a dreary summer for me. Your garden is looking beautiful. It is definitely hot and humid here, too, so the weeds here will have to go unchecked until it gets cooler--I don't take heat very well.

    Hope Jimi is feeling better by now.

  2. I'm glad your echinacea buds have survived the groundhog so far. Maybe last year your groundhog was having cold or psoriasis problems. :-)--Randy

  3. From Mish-Mash to Willy-Nilly! What will you think of next Monica, lol. :) Your garden is looking fabulous right now, the sudden arrival of summer has made everything explode with color I'm sure. Glad the groundhog is leaving your Echinacea alone, such a great plant.

  4. Your garden is most beautiful. I find that Jupiter's Beard to be so lovely in your garden. You are so right about the yuccas. They seem to need to recharge themselves. It is a shame because they look so pretty in bloom-for like the two days they bloom:) The park looks most inviting. I have that jewelweed in my garden and simply love it. Come August you can bet we'll be in the thick of it. Hope Jimi is better soon.

  5. Great photos Monica - your garden is looking quite stunning!
    I don't have groundhogs or deer to contend with, but I do have foxes, badgers and squirrels - and they eat a fair few of my plants I can tell you! :)

    Hope Jimmi is recovering well.

  6. Hi Monica, not one single nigella seed sprouted. Not one! I sowed them outside directly and we had tons of rain. For some cosmic reason I am not meant to have nigella. I'll have to make it a mission like I did with the foxgloves.

    Hope my 3 new jupiter's beards look something like yours next year. They are already blooming their little hearts out on one whispy stem. Everyone says they aren't reliable here. They are so pretty I had to try.

    Your garden looks great. Love the rose campion.

  7. Hi Monica.....I am very fond of love in the mist....bloom and seedheads. They look lovely in a border and I love they way they spread around the garden.....

    I have lost three of my coneflowers to rabbits....only two left, such a shame, I was really looking forward to seeing them in the border. Perhaps next year!!

  8. That mushroom is indeed cool.

    Yeah, I love how the man who invented velcro did so after trying to figure out how burrs of burdock got stuck to his dog's coat.

  9. Hope that your poorly puddy tat is soon on the mend. How spooky to see the two colours on the same lychnis - have not seen that before :)

  10. 160 parks are a lot of places to visit. My SIL told me that for every school there has to be a green space (park) too. I guess these all add up to lots of parks. One of my favorite parks to bird in AA is Dolph Park. I have been to others but can't remember any other names.

    Your garden looks great. Isn't this a fun time of year what with all the blooms carrying on.

    I hope the turtle has laid eggs in your property so we can see the young sometime.

  11. Monica, Your garden is lovely...and when I see all the beautiful sunny plants you are growing...I sigh with just the teeniest bit of envy..sigh! I love my wildflowers but a sunny garden is almost always filled with bloom! Speaking of bloom~~drats about the pesky wildlife and your coneflower. If only they could respect our boundaries and take a little! I hope the remaining ones bloom their heads off! gail

  12. Monica, I love these posts. We really get to catch up on what you have been doing as well as seeing how your garden is growing. It sounds as though you have really been busy, bith in the garden and out. I love the deer photo and even though they can be destructive in a garden They are beautiful animals. Who knew ground hogs like cone flowers?! Hope they are eating someone else's this year and you get to enjoy yours. The weather is very hot here too, I guess we'd better be careful what we wish for.:)

  13. I just planted Gaillardia this year, started it from seed! I hate having to be patient with everything while waiting for it to establish itself the first year and then bloom the second. Drives me absolutely mental!

  14. Gaillardias! I just love those plants - haven't grown them for years.

    I'm amazed to see the pink and white blooms on the same plant on your Lychnis! I have lots of the pink, which are just starting to bloom in my one inch of soil border. I'll keep an eye open for white blooms too ...

  15. What great pictures, and things are colorful! I love how you have the squash in the container with the wire thingy (for lack of a better description on my part!) around it. I would have never thought of doing that. I will have to remember that and try it.

    I'm so glad your coneflowers didn't get eaten. I have the larger purple variety and just planted an orange one last year that will bloom for the first time.

  16. Hope your Jimi is on the mend. It is so hard when our fur-babies get sick. Your garden is so full of color, and all the wildlife--full of life. Lovely summertime in your neck of the woods. It's hot as hades here--106 in the shade! Yikes!

  17. Good morning Monica! Aw, poor James. . . I hope he's feeling better. (George was sick last weekend, but he's much better now - I think he might have eaten something bad too.)

    Your garden is just bursting with color and interesting plants! I'm so glad your coneflowers survived the groundhog. Rabbits chewed mine all down but one last year, but so far so good this year. One's blooming, and the others have buds. I don't have much luck with coneflower cultivars, but the natives do very well here without a lot of sun.

  18. You've got a lot going on in your garden!

    I feel your pain about the groundhogs. We lived in PA for 3 years and they are a real pain, especially if you have horses.

  19. Hope Jimi's well on the road to recovery.

    Perhaps the results of your new camera feature could be sold as 'art'? It could become all the rage ;)

    Have a great weekend!

  20. I was wondering whether the turtle might have eaten the groundhog or vice-versa when I was struck by the attractiveness of your black and purple art and the word crepuscular. Crepuscular . . . crepuscular . . . good one!


    Hope the mention on today's (26th June) Esther's Boring Garden Blog is ok. If not, let me know and I'll change it.

    P.P.S. I think I must be extra-tired. I read that you have plastic lettuce and a red-eyed video. E.

  21. Oh I know the feeling about the echinacea buds - they are one of my favorites and I am super excited to see them coming up in my 'woodland' garden area that I really need to share with my blogger friends someday soon.

    Thank you for the wonderful comments you left on my blog the other day. OH MY WORD... I about cried to know that my 'oranges' got your attention. (((HUGS)))
    Your blog is super delightful and I always learn something when I stop over here. THANK YOU!

    I see you are thinking a new cameara? I have always been a big Nikon fan. I am using the Nikon D90 right now but it is also used for 'professional' business work I dabble in from time to time. I would also recommend ANY fuji finpix. I have the HD25000 and love the capability to take wonderful movies as well as some FABULOUS Macro Shots. If you ever have any questions about photos that I can help you with please ask sweetie!

    Happy JUNE... see you sooN!

  22. My goodness Monica, your weird camera photo is like modern art! The colorful beds are delightful and your winter sowing looks like it was a success. I will be deciding what to try using your method this fall. Boo to the groundhog decapitating those echinaceas too, I though fuzzy meant they would stay away. Here are good wishes for the full recovery of Jimi too. :-)

  23. I hope James is OK by now...I love this post as I always learn something. We have 4 yucca plants across the pond and I don't know if I am supposed to do anything with them, but they did bloom last year...

  24. Your garden is looking marvellous! It must be really hard to lose the echinacea year after year. It looks as if you're going to be rewarded this year with loads of blooms (knock wood). Purrs to Jimi!