New coneflowers get planted

I've decided what to do with the new coneflowers I bought the other day: they're going in my coneflower bed. (That certainly took a lot of careful planning and consideration, didn't it?)


The first three are going in a part that's overgrown by plumbago, so there's some prep work to be done -- it's not just "dig a hole and stick the new plants in".

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Special, Fun Pots

I've been spending a lot of time potting up plants the last couple of days. Making more potting mix, filling pots, removing big, dead plants from pots, moving plants around. Working with big pots gets so tiring, and they really take a lot of potting mix! Sometimes it's nice to just work with some little pots, especially when they're unusual.


This happy, creepy onion-head fellow wouldn't be smiling if he could see the back of his head...

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Getting out of hand

Sometimes parts of your garden get out of hand. You lose control, whether because of lack of time, bad weather, you've been focusing on other parts of the garden, etc. Whatever the reason, a bed or part of a bed just starts looking terrible.


I seem to have a few of those areas right now, and this is one of them. Time to fix this!

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New Plants!

Today I had to make a trip to a local material supply/nursery to pick up another load of compost, so I thought I'd make the rounds of the other two garden centers that are near it and see what sort of new coneflowers they have (talking about them the other day got me interested).


This is Mexican Petunia. I'll talk about it later in this post.

All three nurseries are very close to each other on the same road, just a few minutes from my house. When I got to the first one it had just opened, but it was already extremely hot and humid. Not a fun day to be shopping for plants, so just the diehard gardeners would be out.

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Gardensitting

I've been looking after my neighbor John's garden for a few days. His vegetable garden. As in vegetables that he wants to eat. Obviously he hasn't had a good look at my veggie garden recently, nor has he read about my poor spring crop.


Fortunately he has pretty low expectations for me. He mainly wants me to turn on the sprinkler every couple of days when needed. That's simple enough, so I'm on it!

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Gotta love the coneflowers!

One of the first flowering plants I added to my garden was Purple Coneflower, echinacea purpea. Not that I knew anything about it when I chose it, but I just liked the look of it.


It was a good choice because besides having great looking flowers, the plants are sturdy, fairly drought tolerant, have very long-lasting flowers, bloom for a very long time, attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, reseed, and feed the birds in the winter.

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A busy morning of replanting and unplanting

It's been so hot here lately, early morning is the best time for me to get some gardening done. Yesterday morning was quite busy, so let's jump into it!


First up is repotting of a Colocasia (elephant ears), in this case a "black-stemmed" variety. I'm going to put it into a clay pot, and since clay pots dry out fast but elephant ears like moist soil, I'll help the pot retain more water.

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Small critters of the last couple of days

When you spend a lot of time in the garden, one thing you'll start to notice (hopefully) is the abundance of wildlife that surrounds you. I'm not talking about rabbits, deer, birds and the rest. I'm talking about the small garden inhabitants and visitors: the "minor wildlife".


It amazes me how many different types of insects and other invertebrates I can see if I just look closely at almost any small part of my garden.

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First Impressions

As you approach our house by car or on foot, this small bed is the first thing you really see. It's right next to the driveway, so it's important that it looks great and gives a good first impression. I think I've finally given it some impact:


This bed has changed quite a bit over the years. When I first moved in there was a birch tree here, which died from borers of some sort (like all birches in our neighborhood).

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Cauliflower Mystery

The other day I found this:


I found it when cutting up some of my disappointing cauliflower. I think the main problem with the cauliflower was I waited too long to pick them, as they had turned kind of yellow and had several areas of caterpillar and slug damage.

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Grasses: love 'em, and hate 'em

I really love grasses... for the most part. I've got several different ornamental varieties, many native species, turf grasses, and don't forget the bamboos -- they're in the same family as grasses.


I especially love the way they look in the morning, backlit by the rising sun.

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Wildflowers and Annuals

My wildflower and annuals bed is really starting to impress! Although currently the cleome makes up the majority of the blooms, this is the real star for me so far:


That's rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun', and it's like a shot of sunlight right into your eyeballs! It's quite a stunning plant for a "boring old black-eyed Susan".

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Japanese Beetles

June is one of the best months for gardens in St. Louis. The weather isn't too hot yet (except for this year, which has been really too warm), there's plenty of rain, and everything is lush and green.


Unfortunately, it's also the time that the Japanese Beetles make their appearance.

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Tying up floppy bamboo

We've had a lot of heavy rainstorms lately. Pretty much every day for the last week or so. It's not that we're getting huge storms that last for hours -- we're getting small, strong storms that dump a good amount of water in a short time.


This tends to flatten out plants. At least we haven't had hail yet -- that flattens a bit but mainly shreds. I'll take flattened over shredded plants any day. In the case of my bamboos though, I can do something about the floppiness: tie them up!

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Pruning the monster

My ninebark is one of the most striking plants in my garden. You can see why here. The trouble is, although the tag says that it will be 4-5' tall and 4-5' wide, it's bigger than that. Much bigger.


Today it's time to get it back under control.

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It seems to be Spider Day

There are some really cool spiders in my garden. Actually, there are probably really cool spiders in all gardens, but they're not always easy to find. I discovered a few really interesting ones yesterday when I wasn't even looking for them.


A lot of people don't like spiders. I wouldn't say I love them, but they don't terrify me either as they do many people. (Warning: if you don't like photos of spiders, you probably do not want to continue reading. I hope you do though.)

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Elephant Ear Divisions

As you may have noticed, some of my Elephant Ear plants are getting pretty large. A couple of weeks ago I took a division from one and potted it up. It was an experiment since I had never done that before, and I don't think I wrote about it here.


It seems to have worked fine, as the division is growing happily, and there were no ill effects on the parent plant either, so it's time to take some more divisions!

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Veggie garden changes

I have to say that the cool season crops in my veggie garden were a big disappointment this year. I planted spinach, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and beets.


Because I got these plants in late and we had an early warm (ok, hot) spell before it cooled off again, I didn't get much of a harvest.

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Various Unrelated Observations

Often times when I'm taking photos in the garden I see something that doesn't lend itself to an entire post. Maybe it's something I do that doesn't require more than a photo or two, and a couple of sentences.


I've collected several of these recently, so today I'm going to just group them all together. Hope you find some of them to be interesting.

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A new bamboo planting

I cleared this small raised bed out last fall, and until today had not decided what to plant in it. I've been debating whether or not I should plant a bamboo in it, and finally decided that it would be a good idea.


I've also decided which bamboo to plant there: Indocalamus tessellatus. This bamboo is shorter (maybe 5-6 feet tall in this confined area) but has the largest leaves of any temperate (cold-hardy) bamboo. It should be impressive.

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Let's try a bottomless pot!

On the south side of my house is a strip of ground that needs some more plants. The trouble is, this area is tough. Heavy clay, packed hard from years of water running down the slope when the torrential rains come. Dry too, from the baking heat of the sun against the wall of the house.


Extra dry from the extensive moisture-sucking root system of the nearby maple tree. Also quite devoid of nutrients due to the same tree's roots. This is where I want to plant?

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Kitten update: 8 weeks

The kittens are two months old now, and starting to lose some of their kittenocity. (I tried "kittenness" and "kittenliness", but decided on "kittenocity".) Still incredibly cute though!


Tiny whitey just can't stay away from the bamboo.

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A Garden Visit

I spent the weekend in Chicago with my sister and her family. Early Sunday morning as I headed out the back door with my camera my sister said "you're not going to find anything to photograph in our yard!"


Like most houses in suburban metropolitan areas, the yards are designed to be used by kids (at one time or another). That means they have a lot of lawn area and beds for other plants are minimal, non-existent, forgotten and neglected, or frequently trampled.

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'King Tut' Papyrus and Elephant Ear Progress

A couple of weeks ago I was at a local garden center to see if they had any large pots in the recycling bin that I could grab, and I decided to take a quick look at the new plant stock.


I'm really glad I did, because they had one of my must-have plants: 'King Tut' Papyrus! The price was right so I grabbed one and happily drove home!

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Transplanting bamboos and Potting Mix

I've mentioned before that I grow a lot of different species and varieties of bamboo (about 50). Many of them are in pots, and since most of these are running bamboos which spread via rhizomes (underground stems), they can quickly fill up their pots.


Here are a few that need to be moved into bigger pots. How do you know when they're ready for a new pot?

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Lavender

Yesterday when I posted about various blooms in the garden right now, how many times did I say "deer like to eat this one" or "deer pruned this one for me"? Too many times. I do grow a few plants that the deer won't touch, and one of them is lavender.


It seems everybody I give a tour of my garden to loves the lavender, but is surprised that it grows here.

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Assorted blooms

There are some beautiful flowers starting to bloom in my garden right now, so let's take a look. First up, a sight that I'm amazed to see:


Daylilies. These are 'Black-eyed Stella', and I'm really surprised that I've been able to see these for several days in a row.

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Veggie garden update

How about a quick look at the veggie garden to see how things are doing? The last look at the veggie garden was early May when I removed a carpet of weeds and put down a thick layer of compost. That was a great idea, as everything is growing like crazy right now, with a minimal amount of weeds:


I love big plants, especially those that are food! (The tallest plant there in the center is not really edible -- it's Agastache foeniculum or "anise hyssop" and is there to attract pollinators. It got really big this year!)

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Kitten update: 7 weeks

Another week has gone by, and the kittens are as energetic as ever. They've gotten much less clumsy, and can jump up on things without falling (most of the time). They're better runners now too, and can zoom around the garage without crashing into things (most of the time).


They've been spending the last few days in the garage though, since their mom (Super-whitey) is really interested in the boy cat (Whitey) that hangs around outside. Not sure what I'm going to do about that situation yet...

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What is it?

This plant was growing near my bald cypress and Pleioblastus viridistriatus bamboo patch:


I have no idea what it is. Something in the nightshade family I think.

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