Sunday, September 5, 2010


How did I get here?
This is not my beautiful garden.

These are not my beautiful nasturtiums.

Letting the days go by, into silent autumn
(with apologies to the Talking Heads)

This is ostensibly a Seed GROW post, but it's also a Sundries Sunday post so be ready for random ramblin' ruminastions!


Well, my 'Spitfire' nasturtiums definitely look the worse for wear, especially after last night's low near 40! There isn't enough sun in this location; I've been needing to move a huge arborvitae. The hops is more or less gone, too, but look at the eeny beeny morning glory that popped up!


There are one or two more growing higher on the trellis.


The nasturtiums I planted to grow up my corn are doing somewhat better. To all the hatas who tried to tell me I wouldn't get corn with only one plant, neener neener! I got two corn cobs, but neener neener on me, they were both covered with corn smut, which was so gross I tossed them before even taking a photo. I suspect it self-pollinated (with the seeds above falling on the tassels below). Everything in my garden has to fend for itself, lol.


Pretty turtlehead I received in spring from my friend Joey.


There's something about the forming seedhead of the cup plant I really like.


On July 4 I direct-sowed some zinnia and sunflower seeds. Two months later things are blooming.


I didn't used to like zinnias, but holla!

Ready to bloom any minute now...


...There we go! I can't help but smile when I look at sunflowers.


My tomato crop was suboptimal this year, but I did discover an awesome plant tie: hair clips! Just make sure the ends don't pinch the stem. (These 'Great White' are high enough up to have (knock wood, toi toi toi) escaped the rascally raccoons so far.)


The obedient plant is kickin' ass and takin' names. Most of all mine for not dividing or staking it!

That's my girl!


This corner of my huge front bed is the first thing I planted when I moved into the house. It is now one hot mess, with weeds encroaching the bed. The other side is even worse but I couldn't bear to show it!


When the foliage of the goldenrod (I believe Solidago canadensis) came up, I thought it was native asters. It's not that I don't like goldenrod, it's just that there used to by be native asters in that space as well. The queen of the prairie is about to bloom, way later than the one in a sunny location out front.


I couldn't get the contrast of Big Bluestem grass against the buckthorn in the background to work, so I did an inverse and messed with hue saturation. HA!


Poison ivy growing up a stem of echinacea that the groundhog broke the top off of. Ah, nature. I have tons of small patches of PI like this and huge spreads. I've been hesitant to use Roundup because I often see American toads in this area and their skin is particularly sensitive to absorbing chemicals. Later in fall I'll paint it on.


We were talking on my facebook page about how some gardeners (volunteer at recent workday, left) seem to have a magic anti-dirt shield and others (me, right) very decidedly do not. Lisa pointed out in the comments that the woman to the left is holding pruners and so was likely standing while working. Which is a great observation and interpretation except that there happens to be very little to prune in that garden; mostly everyone was weeding and spreading mulch that day... and everyone finished clean, except me (though I was doing some more rigorous weed removal, lol!).


I got this sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) from my mom two years ago and this is the first time it's bloomed for me. I winter-sowed two native versions of this plant, virgin's bower (Clematis virginia), and will be interested how long it takes them to bloom. (Where to plant them is a whole 'nother kettle o' fish.)

large milkweed bugs

Large milkweed bugs on (surprisingly enough) my milkweed seedpods.

Big Box Shrubs, Yes I Do!

A while ago I won some cool stuff, including a $20 gift certificate to Lowe's, from Lisa. Even though I had every intention of spending the money on bird seed, I couldn't resist these $3.33 gallon shrubs: two false cypress, two different cultivars of chokeberry, a spirea, and a red-flowered potentilla. No, I have no clue where they'll go.


My elephant's ears 'Illustris' really came into their own this year; they about quadrupled in size. They're gonna need a new pot before they come back in for the winter. Eep.


I've shown Pinky a few times. These are Siegfried (left) and Gertrude. G is named partly after Ms. Jekyll (I chuckle to myself as she hated fuchsia) and partly after my grandmother.


I wonder if I can get Siegi and Gerti to balance on a tight rope like these two? I adore everything about this photo of the Flamingo Trailer Court on Middlebelt Rd. in Farmington Hills, MI.

I'm growing Nasturtium 'Spitfire' for the GROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.


  1. Random thoughts:
    Mmm corn smut.
    Zinnias are my fave!
    I am overrun with Obedient Plant here - didn't know what it was bc landlord called it "Dragon plant"...Um right.
    Nice ears!

  2. What are you doing wearing my pants - the ones on the right! Clean knees? Never!

  3. At least your nasties are blooming Monica! I'm jealous. The poison ivy though. . . not so much!

    I love sweet autumn clematis, and have debating about trying virgin's bower here since I'm aiming for more natives here.

    The knees of your jeans look just like mine. Gardening is a perfect excuse to be a kid again and play in the dirt! ;)

  4. I noticed that the lady on the left had pruners in her hand. She obviously opted for a stand up job. Ha.. You have been busy. Your garden still looks pretty good. I never have luck with nasturtiums. Watch out for the obedient plant. They are not a bit obedient. They run where ever they want to.

  5. Add to my list of all your good qualities, Monica--creative: who knew all those hair clips my daughters left behind could be so useful?!

    I've read corn smut is a delicacy in some places, but I would have thrown the ears away, too:)

    Glad you've joined the zinnia-lovers group!

    I am the one with the dirty pants after volunteering and the sweaty face and a forearm itching from poison ivy. While my garden is looking pretty tired, the poison ivy in the back forty is going strong. I finally sprayed it down with Round-up last night, but I didn't know about the toads. Oh dear, I hope they were all nesting some place else. I'm tired of it popping up everywhere and spending my summer scratching myself.

    Your Obedient plant is looking great!

  6. The goldenrod got me all excited because it is so happy then I saw the poison ivy. Eeeeek! I have lots of that here. I pull it barehanded when it is young and cut it when large if it gets past me being sure not to touch it. Only occasionally do I get a rash between my fingers in sensitive areas of my hands but I think the oil is less toxic when young and it saves me time to just pull it. The trick is to be sure to wash hands right away though and DON'T touch any other part of your body. You shouldn't need round up for it as it will usually go away. A good thing. Ha on the dirt-you need some waders to keep clean. At least everyone knows you are working very hard!

  7. I wish my obedient plant would get a little less obedient. It's such a small pathetic thing!
    I'm so glad I don't have to worry about poison ivy. What an evil plant.

    Sunflowers are the best. They're always so full of interesting things to look at.

    Now go wash your jeans!

  8. Hallo Monica
    Und wer ist die Katze, die man bei den Pflanzen von hinten noch sieht? Man könnte meinen, mein kleiner Noah hätte bei Dir vorbeigeschaut :o).
    Grins, möchte gerne sehen wie Du den beiden Flamingos den Seiltanz beibringst.
    Schön ist Dein herbstlicher Garten und ich finde es toll, dass Du nicht gleich zu Chemie greifst.
    Liebe Grüsse

  9. Great post! Very cool that you got corn from just one stalk, I was paranoid that my 6 wouldn't pollinate because they're all in one row (so I took a makeup brush and pollinated them myself.) Your "weedy" flowerbed has nuthin' on my worst one...I'll have to post about it (not that I'm "proud", but if we were having a contest for weediest bed-I win! :)

  10. BTW, I really like the bluestem pic! Very artsy!

  11. Wow, a lot going on! Love that idea with the hairclip...

  12. REally nice garden and special flowers u have there. I admire all that u have since u provide lots of work there!

  13. I love your photos Very nice garden.Love the sunflowers ~I had a bit of trouble with my flowers it was so hot here they didn't thrive. :-(

  14. I have been neenered, I stand corrected. I'm glad you got corn. Cool image of the big bluestem. I'll have to try that sometime (the photoshop stuff, not the grass, it's a bit too big for the nanoprairie). Thanks for showing Sig & Gert, they're wonderful.

  15. Thank you for being brave and showing your weedy flowerbed. I don't feel nearly as lonely now! I let everything go when the weather got so hot. Boy, do I have my work cut out for me.

    Sunflowers always make me smile. Daisies do it for me too. I am so glad you have come over to the Zinnia side! It's a very happy colorful place to be.

    Your hair clippy was an inspiration--the Turtlehead gorgeous! You have a lot going on, and I can't believe how cold your temps are--crazy!

  16. Thank you for being brave and showing your weedy flowerbed. I don't feel nearly as lonely now! I let everything go when the weather got so hot. Boy, do I have my work cut out for me.

    Sunflowers always make me smile. Daisies do it for me too. I am so glad you have come over to the Zinnia side! It's a very happy colorful place to be.

    Your hair clippy was an inspiration--the Turtlehead gorgeous! You have a lot going on, and I can't believe how cold your temps are--crazy!

  17. We've got lots of poison ivy here, too, for some reason. Way more than in previous years.
    I'm a dirty gardener, too. My dad was out the other day and I had on one of my old white shirts and he said to me, "You planning on getting that shirt white again?" HA!

  18. Great post Monica and a really nice mix of colours - even if you did invert one of them! :)

    I tried growing courgettes and squashes round my sweetcorn plants this year - it mostly stopped the foxes eating them before we did!

  19. Corn!!!

    That's great.

    I wanted to plant some, but I missed the "deadline". I guess gardeners don't really call it deadline, but that time in the months when you are supposed to be planting things. I think I looked up online and they said corn is to be planted in May or June.

    There's always next year.

  20. You won't be surprised to know I was drawn to the seedhead! The way you've treated the blue-stem photo has turned it into a lovely picture - and I always enjoy your flamingoes.


  21. Really great post. So many photos. I especially liked the flamingos. Nice to see them after the rant I read the other day. Thought I would never see flamingos or gnomes ever again. I always get accused of being too clean on the job. Never sure how it happens, cause I hardly ever carry the pruners.

  22. Nice collection of blooms here. Corn smut? You didn't take a picture of it? Heck, you didn't eat it? You know fancy people pay good money to eat corn smut?

  23. Oh, so many goodies. I love the zinnias, obedient plant, and of course the Flamingos.

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