Nightmare area number one

Emboldened by Peter's recent post about the less attractive parts of his garden, I'm going to share with you the three "nightmare" areas of my garden. Today's is actually the oldest part of my garden: the large raised planter box below the deck.

This was originally full of flowering perennials including shasta daisies and purple coneflowers. In recent years it's been the home to my main (and sometimes amazing) castor bean planting. Right now though it's just a bed full of weeds.


Surprise return

I neglected my ribbon bush (Homalocladium platycladum) last winter. The previous winter I kept it in the garage and watered it a bit more than the other plants. This past year though it was in the garage again -- a bigger plant -- but I didn't water much.

The result was a dead ribbon bush come spring. Really a shame because I loved this unique foliage -- it will be missed for sure. But will it?


Clematis, beauty and problem

I grow a few clematis, and for the most part they make me happy -- when the deer don't prune them that is. The one that I grow on my mailbox has performed quite well for me, especially considering how shady it is here.

I believe I purchased this as Clematis 'Piilu', but that's almost certainly not what it is. It looks so good with the variegated bamboo (Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata'), doesn't it?


A little allium love

Just a little allium eye candy today.

Allium christophii might be my favorite, but is it only because I've only been growing it for a couple of years?


What's wrong with this Agave?

I noticed that this Agave 'Impressa' (or at least that was how it was labeled) is looking a bit unhappy:

Lots of yellow in those leaves, especially the lower ones.


Big leaves, cleanup time

My Indocalamus tessellatus bamboo has such large leaves, it's really a standout even among so many other bamboos. Unfortunately it gets bitten by winter quite easily and the new leaves emerge relatively late. So in the spring when everything is fresh and new (right now), this plant looks tattered and tired.

I've not pruned this one to the ground like I do with some of my others, instead using a more delicate pruning technique when needed. It's needed now!


Rose Support Update

I thought I'd show you some updated photos of the rose support now that the plant has leafed out and blooming.

I love having structures peeking though foliage!


Come on Monarchs!

Remember how I was recently hopeful that my large and ever-expanding colony of common milkweed would finally rear its first "crop" of monarch caterpillars?

Well, things are looking good! Or at least they were for a while.



Robins made a nest in a disused hanging planter under the edge of the deck:

It's at about eye level for me, so I just raised the phone camera above the edge and blindly snapped these images. The first was taken April 19. I've often wondered why these eggs evolved to be blue. Seems like a bad color if you want to go unnoticed.



After a few days of heavy rain in the St. Louis area, heavy flooding is widespread. With perhaps 4" (10cm) of additional rainfall expected today and tomorrow, things are expected to get worse before they get better.

Although my house sits on high ground, my garden is still experiencing some flooding -- particularly the pond.


Now? Really?

One of the tasks that I had on my list for this spring in the garden was to remove or at least drastically reduce the milkweed in my yard.

For the past four years I've been growing a few kinds of milkweed for the monarch butterflies. I started when a volunteer Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) sprang up in my prairie beds.


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