How does it happen?

The question posed in the title of this post is meant in two different ways. The first is a general "how does it happen?", and the second is actually "how does it happen to me?". I'll get to the second one soon, but first, everybody who grows plants has a favorite "type" or genus. Something that really gets them excited like no other plants do, and results in them having a collection -- even though that was never their intent when they started gardening.

For me it's bamboo. For others it's tomatoes, or agaves, or cactus, or roses -- there's somebody who is crazy about every type of plant. Why is this? How does this happen? How does "ah, that's a nice plant" transform into "I must have as many species and varieties as possible!" Maybe a better question is: why does it happen for some people, and not for others? Take for instance, begonias.


Product Review: Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent

I don't do many product reviews on this blog, as I don't think that's what both most of you come here to read. Occasionally though I'm contacted by a company that sells a product that I think would be worth reviewing, and today you get to read about one of those.

The product is Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, and although I was sent a bottle of this free of charge early in the growing season, I wanted to give it a good long test before talking about it. My verdict: it works! But...


Finishing the rose removal

Recently I started removing a climbing rose that was infected by Rose Rosette Disease. At the time I just pruned the poor thing to the ground, saying that I'd remove the roots later.

Part of my delay was that I wasn't sure what plant to put here in its place. This is the type of thing I might have thought about over the winter a few years ago, carefully weighing the pros and cons of every perennial vine that would grow in my climate. Not now though -- I don't have the patience for that anymore. Now I just weighed a few choices, saw a plant I knew I wanted to grow, ordered it, and dug in.



Earlier in my gardening career I had much more time for discovery, and finding fresh mushrooms was one of my delights. I'd grab my point-and-shoot Canon set to macro mode, lay down on the grass or mulch or whatever, and snap away.

These days I'm still excited by mushrooms, especially when a big one pops up after a few days of rain. (If you don't think you have enough mushrooms in your garden, get tree chippings. The free mulch I use contains plenty of fungal spores it seems.) I noticed this one the other day, then saw it ripped out the next morning -- probably by a raccoon. So I grabbed it, flipped it over, and started snapping photos.


Keeping up with the Joneses

I have a lot of gardener friends. Not as many as some people, but quite a few. Although a few of them live in the St. Louis area, most of them live in different parts of the country in completely different climates -- which makes some of their blog posts a challenge to read for me. Sometimes it's the talk (and photos) of really wonderful plants that I've never heard of, when I'll sort of nod and think "ah, nice plant" but then put it out of my mind. If it's a zone 7 or 8 woody plant, I can't grow it (probably) so why torture myself thinking about it?

At other times though the talk (or photos) of these not-for-my-climate plants really gets to me, and I feel jealous: I want to grow those too! This is the case with many succulents: Agaves, Aloes, Cactus. When Gerhard (Succulents and More) or Gail (Piece of Eden) or Loree (Danger Garden) start talking succulents, I go a bit green -- not in the way that gardeners are supposed to -- and feel left out. Until now that is.


The bugs of Bloom Day

Yesterday I showed you what's in bloom in the garden right now, getting up-close and personal with the plants -- something that I haven't done for a while. The result is that I saw some of the inhabitants of the garden...

...and early autumn is a great time for this! Here's a carpenter bee settling in for the night on the Agastache. Seems like it could have chosen a stronger stem for its bulky body, but I guess this is fine.


Bloom Day, October 2014

Did you know that every month on the 15th, garden bloggers post photos of what's in bloom in their gardens? Carol at May Dreams Gardens is the host for this meme, and although I don't regularly notice that the 15th is approaching until it's too late (and I see other Bloom Day posts appearing), this is probably the last chance for blooms before winter sets in so I gave an extra effort.

Which meant getting outside on a damp, dreary day as evening approached, trying to get decent photos in limited light. I didn't think there would be many blooms out there to be honest, but once I got started I found more than I expected. The Verbena bonariensis above is such a favorite, blooming from early summer until frost. What else is in bloom?


Dry summer, wet fall

Summer was fairly dry in St. Louis, as my water bills will indicate -- there was much hose dragging around a few months ago. Now though, things have changed. Since September 1 we are something like 8" above our normal rainfall amount.

I've spent very little time in the garden recently because of this -- it's always raining! A few dry days are forecast starting this afternoon they say, so this morning was a good time to take a look at the damp.


Vines to the rescue... almost

Although it's been ten months since the polar vortex reminded us cold-climate gardeners that we shouldn't get too comfortable with mild winters and caused quite a bit of bamboo damage in my garden, I still have reminders of it: the dead bamboo culms that I left on three or four of my plantings.

Instead of removing them I left them in place not just for the support they gave to emerging culms, but with the plans of letting annual vines climb up them, natural trellises that would add vertical color with little-to-no effort on my part.


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