Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale

Yesterday I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden for probably my shortest visit ever. We've been going almost every week for the free Wednesday concerts of the Whitaker Music Festival and those visits are just a few hours without seeing too much of the gardens -- this visit was much shorter.

My goal was the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society's plant show and sale, which is in the main (entrance) building. I never even made it into the gardens at all.



Apparently, it's time to harvest the garlic. I know this because my neighbor was recently digging his up.

I'm not as on top of harvest dates as I should be. Good to have reminders nearby!


Equisetum discovery

One of my favorite Missouri native plants is Equisetum hyemale, or "scouring rush". This seems-to-consist-only-of-stems plant adds a vertical element to the garden that I really love.

Although my plants are quite young and therefore not too impressive, I've seen thick plantings of this and can't wait until mine reach that density.


Just gets better!

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about volunteer plants, in particular this larger one which was growing at the front of one of my beds:

I loved it's large leaves and its strong upright habit, suspecting it was an Asclepias of some kind. Well, things have just gotten better!


A little surprise amongst the weeds

You know how I've said in the past that I actually enjoy weeding, at least in small doses? If you don't remember here are my reasons: you restore order to a crazy planting bed, you get up-close and personal with many of your plants, it's repetitive and calming, and there's a gratifying sense of accomplishment when you're finished.

Here's another reason to add to the list: you sometimes find things that you'd otherwise pass right by.


Finally, planting cactus!

This past Saturday morning I was really excited to get outside and do some work in the garden. I wasn't able to get out there as early as I had hoped to, and when I did it was more difficult to get started than I expected.

Oh, it's not that my enthusiasm was waning. No, my problem was choosing the right project to start with on what I expected to be a long day in the heat.


Walkway update

I realized that it's been a while since I've posted photos of the walkway, not having done that since I expanded the bed on one side and put more plants into the ground.

That was only a month ago, but the plants have filled in so much! I don't know why that surprises me, but looking at garden photos that are only a month or two old sometimes gives me a shock -- such changes!


Catching up

When I'm out and about I typically don't have my DSLR with me, so it's down to the phone camera when I see something that needs to be snapped. Fortunately phone cameras are getting quite good, and as the old photographer adage goes "the best camera is the one you have with you", so I don't hesitate to take shots of something that interests me even a little bit.

The problem is, once they're on my phone I tend to forget about them. Only when looking for some specific old photo do I come across them and realize that I never shared. Today I'll show you a few of these.


Forgotten gardens!

Several of the garden bloggers I follow often post about other gardens they've visited. Amazingly often. Gardens of friends, favorite nurseries, garden tours, public gardens in other parts of their states or the country, even just interesting gardens they see when walking around the neighborhood.

I have to admit that when reading these posts I feel a bit jealous. Sure, I do post about other gardens once in a while, but it seems I'm just not doing it enough maybe. It seems like I don't really get around much. Then I remembered: on a business trip last month I took some photos of Boston-area gardens!



I am a baby deer. I am learning. Specifically, I'm learning what I like to eat.

Regardless of what people think, I do not eat just anything. I have to learn what's good and what's not.


Not this year robins!

Last year the robins took most of my already tiny blueberry crop from me. I didn't realize that they'd be so fond of unripe fruits, then tried to react by throwing some bird netting over the two potted plants.

That didn't work, as those birds are good at finding the gaps in the netting and stuffing themselves. This year I'm taking a smarter approach.



This morning I was lucky -- I happened to catch a glimpse of something exciting through the kitchen window...

A fawn! It was browsing at the side of the house, so I grabbed the camera and quietly moved out onto the deck.


My Hydrangeas

Somehow I've developed a small hydrangea collection. If you're a hydrangea lover, maybe you shouldn't get excited, as "collection" may be too strong a word -- I've only got four of these flowering shrubs in my garden.

Stil though, they're important plants in my landscape, and I've grown to really appreciate them. Let's start with 'Lady in Red' -- Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lady in Red'.



It rained again this weekend (I'll gladly give up some weekend garden time if this continues throughout the summer!) so I was just poking around with my camera when I heard a few barred owls calling down the street.

I went to try and get a glimpse of them (I didn't) and on the walk back I noticed my neighbor's ash tree has a fantastic covering of moss and lichen, and I couldn't resist taking lots of photos.


Sago palm responds!

I've had a Sago palm growing in a pot for a few years. It's a plant I have a love/hate relationship with: I love the way it looks and how undemanding it is, but I hate how prickly its leaves are. Having to overwinter it indoors can be quite painful, especially as it gets larger.

If you're not familiar with the way these misnamed "palms" grow -- they're actually Cycads -- they put out a single "row" of new leaves typically just once a year. Last year this one did not put on any new growth at all, so I'm really pleased to see it doing so this year.



A plant that is relatively new to my garden, arriving as a gift from another local gardener two summers ago is feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium.

Its tiny daisy-like blooms are brightening up the front walkway garden right now, and I have to say that this plant may have earned a permanent spot in my yard -- although it isn't perfect.


Some of the pond life

The pond is teeming with life. I'm getting so little done in the garden now, because every time I pass by the water I have to stop "just for a second" to see what's going on.

Twenty minutes later I snap out of my observational trance, having completely forgotten my original task.


I didn't plant this

Like most (all?) gardeners I see "volunteer" plants pop up in my yard every year. I'm not talking about "weed" plants, but the unique and possibly worthwhile plants that appear out of nowhere.  A couple of years ago lemon balm appeared in my garden. Dogbane did too.

This year, I have this plant. I believe it's an Asclepias, but I'm not sure. I haven't really researched it yet.



This won't be a happy post. The other day my morning was interrupted by a loud "thud" against the window. It wasn't the familiar thump of mourning doves bouncing off the bedroom window and flying away slightly more confused than they were before (these don't seem like very intelligent birds to me). No, it was a much more distressing sound than that.

A quick scan of the area under the window, all the while thinking "please don't find a bird, please don't find a bird", and my fears were confirmed: a bird had been killed after flying into my window.


New plants!

This weekend I went to pick up the Sweet Summer Love Clematis I ordered a couple of months ago, and while I was at the nursery (Sugar Creek Gardens) I couldn't resist buying a few more plants.

I really wasn't planning on it, but this small nursery has such a wide selection of plants -- many of them unseen at other local stores -- that I just had to take a good look around. Here's what I brought home...


Just look, and look again

I know my goal as a gardener is to create a garden -- a community of plants that works artistically and as a habitat. Viewing it as a whole is important, to ensure that everything is pleasing, and works with its neighbors to create the whole.

Sometimes though I just can't stop focusing on the plants. Seeing them in different ways, from various angles, under different lighting conditions.


Rural Missouri

We visited one of the newest of the Missouri wineries yesterday.

Edg-Clif Farms and Vineyard, located near Potosi, Missouri. I thought you might like a quick view of the rolling hills of rural Missouri.


Pond creatures, unknown

Everything in the pond is coming along nicely. The water is finally clearing up, the plants are doing well, and wildlife -- well, it's good too. I have already mentioned the baby fish, and the toads have finally stopped calling (after what seemed like 2 months) and laid eggs, but there are other creatures living here too -- things that are harder to identify.

I was planning on pulling out this I-thought-it-was-still-alive papyrus yesterday, to replace it with a division that is actually growing. I didn't though.


Clary Sage

Last year at one of the Schlafly Gardenworks events -- I think it was the summer gathering -- I picked up several free herbs. One of them was completely unknown to me: clary sage.

I planted the little thing in a large container in the sunny side garden, and watched it get huge last summer, muscling out the other herbs I had planted along with it. Now, this biennial is blooming.


Different viewpoints

Sometimes when I'm working in the garden I look up and think "wow, this really looks great!". At other times I look up and think "wow, I have a lot more work to do!". I suppose this difference in feeling toward what is the same garden can partially be explained by mood -- some days I'm just crabbier.

It's also possible that these different opinions could also be explained by where I'm currently working, because I've realized that my garden looks better from some vantage points than others -- which I'm sure is true of all gardens (individual plants and people too, right?).


What zone am I?

Raise your hand if you're confused about your USDA growing zone. I know I am. Here in St. Louis we've been zone 6 for years -- zone 5 by the old map. These last two winters though...

Well, here's my current source of confusion. Do you recognize this plant -- the one growing up the wall? Let me make it a little easier... if you live in a warm, coastal region, do you recognize this plant?


A little more bamboo work

This past Sunday I had high hopes of tackling two projects related to this bamboo (Semiarundinaria fastuosa 'Viridis'):

I was not looking forward to either of them, but felt motivated enough to tackle them now. Better than waiting until it's hot and miserable -- Sunday was quite cool, giving me the energy that I usually only have once the cooler days of autumn have arrived.


A quick pruning

Too little time and too many projects in the garden this weekend left me working rather than documenting, so  -- and what I was doing was rather boring stuff anyway: potting up some plants, tucking another plant into an existing bed, weeding.

Oh, and pruning -- both underground of bamboo rhizomes and above ground of shrubs. Here's a quick look at the ninebark.



Stringy stonecrop, Sedum sarmentosum, is probably the fastest-growing sedum around -- at least in the cold-hardy species.

It's quickly taken over the entire stream area, covering the other sedum varieties, and leaving a blanket of yellow that is actually quite nice.


More blooms, but different

The other day I posted lots of photos of individual blooms -- up-close is my favorite way of looking at most flowers.

Sometimes though, it's the masses of blooms that makes the impression, and that's what I have to show you today.


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