A little more stick insect

The rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos) next to the walkway has been a bit stick-like for a month or more. Dropping the lower leaves has left it less attractive than it was back in early August:


It's the large green plant on the right of the walkway in the photo above, close to the house. Picture the lower half leafless, and you'll see the "stick-like" description is apt. Fortunately though, there's somebody who appreciates the current look...


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New plants for Fall!

Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials as I'm sure you've heard, but my trip to Greenscape Gardens this past weekend had a specific purpose. I wanted to get some kale into the veggie beds so I could overwinter it -- my most productive and successful edible strategy.


I walked past the ornamental kales (still edible, but too pretty to munch on!) and found some nice 4-packs of 'Red Russian' -- exactly what I was looking for! So I was in and out of the nursery in less than 5 minutes...


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For the Hummingbirds

I admit that I haven't been filling the hummingbird feeder recently. I know it's completely dry, as it's probably been at least three weeks since I've touched it... probably more like 4 or 5. Since the hummingbirds are just about to leave for Mexico, or have already done so, it's critical that my garden provide them with fuel.


Luckily there are plenty of plants for them to fight over right now -- the feeder is not the only place they can sip nectar. The cannas -- plain green form with the bright red blooms -- are a big hit with them right now. I have three separate plantings whose fiery flowers are towering above everything -- easy for hummers to find!


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Morning Light means Color!

Today's taste of color is brought to you by the low angle of the morning sun, now arriving in my garden at a more reasonable hour, allowing me to capture more of it.


Later sunrises: another reason to love late summer (okay, early autumn) in the garden!


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Spider love: a function of size and distance




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Wednesday Vignette: Orange from two sides

My first Wednesday Vignette post -- a meme hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum -- takes a look at the most vibrant color in my front garden right now: orange!


The interesting thing is that both plants producing orange blooms (Canna 'Tropicanna' and Lion's Tail) are just outside the front door. If you stand in the right place, it's possible to see both of them at the same time!


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Caterpillar camouflage

Last week on the morning I woke up with this cold I went for a morning walk, hoping some exercise would help me shake the sick feeling. On the way back I passed a neighbor's mailbox planting for the 20th time this summer and the little flowers caught my eye:


Not sure why this morning was different from the rest, but I stopped to look more closely. I usually don't have my phone with my but did today, so was able to photograph what I found next.


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Simple place to sit or set (something)

It's been a few weeks since I've been able to build anything new for the garden, so this past weekend I got started on a simple design inspired by a stool I saw while in Amsterdam.


Battling a furious cold caught while traveling, things moved more slowly than I had hoped and I was only able complete one of these. I had intended on making at least two, possibly three.


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Miscellany from Amsterdam

For the third year in a row I spent a September week in Amsterdam. Since I was there for work I didn't bring my good camera, and only snapped shots of things that interested me. Nothing of the city itself, mainly plant and garden related subjects.


It was so nice to see bamboo (Fargesias always) planted in pots everywhere. I'd see a few every day, regardless of where we went. Interestingly, none of these clumping bamboos were planted in the parks for some reason. The image above shows two other prevalent features of Amsterdam: bikes and the tram.

(Hmmm, I just looked and it seems that I never posted much about my trips to this city before, so I think I should put something together from the photos I took the previous two years. There's a little bit of that in this post from 2013. Today though, pretty much just random images.)


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The insects of late summer

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I saw a nice fat female mantis in the ribbon bush yesterday afternoon. One reason that late summer is so wonderful to me is that it has all of the best insect life (except for baby mantises, which are probably the most fun insects and hatch in June)


Those Instagram photos were taken with my phone, but later in the afternoon I went back outside with the good camera and discovered all of these wonderful and fascinating creatures in the walkway beds.


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Do we have any garlic chives?

"Do we have any garlic chives?" was the question my wife asked me last week. She was baking some savory scones and thought that garlic chives would make a nice combination with gouda cheese.


Asking that question though is almost like asking "Are we growing Perilla this year?" or "Have you seen any deer in the garden lately?" or "Do you still love bamboo?" The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic "YES!".


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Late Boneset

I want to talk about a wildflower that is a boon to the late summer/early autumn garden today: Eupatorium serotinum or "Late Boneset". Most people call this a weed, but I think its multitude of small white flowers is beautiful!


Nobody I know plants this, but it grows almost anywhere it can. Here it is adding some late-season color to a somewhat ragged planting.


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The problem with milkweed

If you may remember, this year I let the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) grow a bit wild. This plant spreads by rhizomes to form colonies, and I let it for the most part, removing only those stems that came up in the middle of the path.


All to attract Monarch butterflies of course -- of which I saw a handful. And to feed the monarch caterpillars -- of which I saw none. The milkweed has flopped all over the place now, and I'm tired of it.


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Chipmunk, Vertigo, Milkweed Bugs, and more

Random things from around the garden, starting with milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus), not yet mature (nymphs):


These are on the swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in the prairie beds. They are camera shy, moving to the other side of the pods when I got too close.


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Two Turtles

As my lawn is quite long right now, in the morning I can see turtle trails in the grass/weeds/whatever. I don't see the turtles themselves very often...


...but the other day one literally crossed my path.


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A mistake?

I've been wondering if I've made a mistake this year with one of my bamboos. This Pleioblastus shibuyanus 'Tsuboi' was looking like a nice little clump last year...


...but this year's culms are much taller, ruining the clumping habit. I debated removing all of the new culms this spring, but then decided to leave things and see how it went.


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Watering the toads

It's been quite hot here in St. Louis for the last week or so, and dry. Well, "dry" is maybe not descriptive enough, so I'll clarify by saying that although it's been very humid there has been no rain for a while.


So I've been pouring on the water in the last couple of days. When I water I want to get a large amount of water into the ground as quickly as possible, so I typically do not use any sort of spray attachment on the end of the hose. This means that all of the cracks and holes in the ground experience a momentary "flood" as they fill before the desiccated soil absorbs the moisture.


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Trashcan makeover II

Yes this is another trashcan rebuild. Yes I gave the post title movie sequel-style roman numbering in the hopes of building a bit more excitement (and to set the precedent so that "Trashcan makeover XXIV" beomes a possibility sometime in the distant future).


Here's what I started with this time. Not as sleek as the previous metal design.


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Macro Morning

One of those days when I feel the urge to look at the garden a little differently, and don't have any thing to say.


Just photos today, taken this morning. I love late summer in the garden!


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Garden Hose: Gilmour Flexogen

One thing that most gardeners don't enjoy talking about is watering. Many have irrigation systems, and drip systems are essential where water conservation is a top priority or where the air is extra dry, but for me watering means hoses.


I don't use sprinklers; watering by hand is my hydration method of choice, so that means hoses that get dragged around the garden. At the beginning of the season I had four or five 50 and 75-foot hoses, three of which I use regularly, with the others being kept in the garage as backup. This spring I received a new 50-foot hose from Gilmour for review.


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More Questions

I have more questions, some of which I actually need answers to. Let's start with animals.


Why is there a baby Northern Cardinal around so late in the season? This chick was twittering so loudly I could easily hear it through the closed window. This seems quite late. Was it a third brood for this family?  (They were at the feeder for a while but of course as soon as I grabbed the camera they headed into the tree and refused to turn their heads.)


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Briefly, what I love about late summer

This might be my favorite time of the year in the garden!


I don't have time to say much, but here are some of the reasons why this is so...


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