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.


Planning changes

I've decided to remake one of my newer planting beds. Maybe. I'm strongly considering it. I have a hard time removing plants that seem to be doing fine, but in this case I think I've almost convinced myself it's the right thing to do.

It's this small bed next to my driveway. It's only a couple of years old, but hasn't satisfied me yet. I suppose you could say that it doesn't have a focus yet, a purpose.


Spreading bamboo

You'd think that with at least 30 in-ground plantings of running bamboos that I'd be hesitant to plant more. You're wrong of course, and having 30+ already is not a deterrent. To be honest, once you plant the first running bamboo and properly maintain it every year to keep it from spreading, adding another isn't such a big deal. Then the next thing you know you have 10. Then 20. Then you stop counting.

My bamboo gardening has moved from the "collect as many different species as I can" phase into the "let's divide some of my favorites and use them to fill out the garden" phase. (Of course the bamboos themselves are all in the "let's fill out the garden!" phase.) That's why I transplanted some of my Pleioblastus fortunei bamboo into a new part of the garden the other evening.


A focused cleanup

Cooler fall weather always invigorates me, making the horrible, put-off garden tasks look almost fun. The shorter days probably help too, as I know I can only get an hour or so of work in out there after my day job, and an hour isn't so bad, right?

Yesterday I tackled my pokeweed forest. Phytolacca americana if you're unfamiliar. Above you see the view from the bedroom window -- almost anything large and leafy you see (with purple berries if you look closely) is pokeweed. I let too much of this grow this year.


Goodbye disappointing rose

A few years back -- four I think -- I built a copper trellis and planted a climbing rose outside my kitchen window. It was labeled as 'Fourth of July' rose, which should have had red blooms streaked with white.

I say "should have" because I never saw this happen. The blooms were fully red, and the plant never looked like the photos I found. It was a disappointing rose in general, never reaching the size I had hoped for, and this past weekend I finally removed it.


Oops. What to do?

I mowed my lawn for only the third or fourth time this summer -- one of the few advantages to a drier-than-normal season.

Unfortunately, I got a little careless with the lawnmower and the wheel knocked this pad off one of the Opuntia in the cactus bed.


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