clearance season 2007

I acquired a vast amount of plants this fall as garden centers closed out. I had previously been limiting myself to heraceous perennials, but I have now entered into shrubs and trees.

This is of course, totally backward. You’re supposed to plant the trees and shrubs first to serve as the bones of your garden, and […]

Monarch butterfly larvae (Danaus plexippus)

Important update: alert reader Alex F. wrote to tell me that I got it wrong! These are really Black Swallowtail larvae (Papilio polyxenes). Thanks Alex! Corrected 4/13/07. He goes on to add: “While they do smell foul if you handle them, they are by no means poisonous. Actually, being that Monarchs feed primarily on Milkweed, […]

Echinacea purpurea “Magnus”

Another award-winning perennial, Magnus took the prize in 1998. It’s also named in Dr. Stevens’ Prarie Bloom collection for Kansas. The purple coneflower is another plant native to Kansas, but in an improved variety. This performed great over the summer.

I got two expensive gallon pots from a big nursery and three less expensive gallon pots […]

Rudbeckia fulgida “Goldsturm”

Another perennial of the year selection, this one won for 1999. I saw a massive (even by my standards) drift of these at the etrance to the county park. It knocked me out and I knew I had to have these. This plant is really well suited to the local conditions–it’s a native. That makes […]

tree frog (Hyla)

We have approxmately one squillion leopard frogs (Rana pipens, the regular old frog) around here. I’m not even going to waste pixels on those. But I noticed this little guy clinging to the front door trim after a good rain this summer. The pads on his feet make him a tree frog. Rana have little […]

ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata)

As a kid I kept box turtles. They make decent pets, but keeping them in captivity isn’t a great situation for them. Since we have dogs, it’s not even possible to let a turtle roam free the way we did with ours as kids.

Strictly speaking, this gal (she lacks the concavity on the carapace that […]

Toad (Bufo terrestris)

Toads rule.

Toads are pest eating machines. In a growing season, a toad can eat thousands of pests that would be eating your garden, making you grumpy. We are blessed with a small army of toads (and less than blessed by a large army of frogs, but that’s a different post).

The kids love it. We […]

dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica)

This summer I had the honor of hosting a thriving colony of Fuligo septica. The hardwood mulch is ideal for growing it, and I have some 16 cubic yards of the stuff installed. So it was slime mold summer.

The pictured slime mold is a “young” one, still kind of soft and smooshy at this stage.

getting […]

Daffodils “Yellow trumpet”

Another end-of-the-season bargain. If you’ve read much of this blog, you know I like big multiples. One Wal-mart sold me a bag of 50 bulbs for 4 bucks. I decided at that point I needed ten bags. I wasn’t thinking about the need to dig 500 six-inch-deep holes.

So it quickly developed into a serious project. […]

the triangle

This bed is directly beneath the picture windows in my living room. So in addition to the vantage point from the yard, I can see this from in the house. So I put a lot into it. It’s a right triangle roughly 14 feet on each leg, so about 100 sqare feet. I made the […]

Return of “Happy Returns”

I posted previously about these, but I have more current photos to share from end of summer 2006.

The same set of plants I pictured in the original post made a fine showing this summer. Here’s the pic from the first post, and then an updated recent shot:

“happy returns” daylilies in April 2005

“happy returns” daylilies in […]

Hemerocallis “Frankly Scarlet”

This is an award winner: the All-American Daylily Selection Council named this cultivar the 2003 winner. I tend to think they know their stuff. These are quite nice. I grew up with the “old-fashioned” orange daylilies that were so terribly invasive. These are quite well-behaved as are most hybrids. But like the old fashioned kind […]

Elfin thyme (Thymus minus “Elfin”)

I need to record the failures along with the successes here. I got four quart pots of minus thyme, a particularly dinky-leaved variety called “elfin” from a proper garden center (and paid full price too–5 bucks a pot). This stuff just couldn’t outcompete the weeds sadly. It is a very delicate ground cover, and I […]

patio retaining wall project

In late March we got a new concrete patio poured. We already have a covered back porch, but this is just another sort of “outdoor room” where we can do things. We weren’t getting good use out of the yard space, so this seemed like a good upgrade.

The grade was such that I wound up […]

Lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina)

These plants belong to my daughter. She appreciates the soft texture of them, and she’s quite posessive of “her” lamb’s ears. These are an easy-to-grow perennial that had always done well for us at previous houses, so I picked some up when I ran into them at a garden center.

Lamb’s ears put up flower stalks, […]

Sage: (Salvia officinalis)

I planted some sage in the kitchen garden last year and was a little surprised to see it winter over succesfully. But it did, and so it started off the 2006 year big and strong. I decided it deserved a “promotion” to ornamental status since it was getting along so well. I moved it into […]

Giant puffballs (Calvatia gigantea)

These were a surprise. I noticed two in the yard first, and a mess of them in the pasture right afterwards. The damp weather brought these out–we had a rainy week and they popped out of nowhere. I’ve read that these are good eating, but I haven’t tried them. I took the inspection team out […]

mushrooms in the mulch

As a measure to conserve water, i use hardwood mulch around my beds. Lately we’ve had a prolonged stretch of damp weather accompanied by overcast, and the mushrooms are putting up their fruiting bodies thanks to the conditions. The mycelial threads are in the mulch, doing the work of decomposing the wood chips. The part […]

water feature: fairy fountain

I’m a closeout shopper. So on any mission to Home Depot or any similar store I have to buzz through the garden center and scope out deals. Last October when it was getting cold and they were shutting the garden center down, I saw a cart with a stack of fountains on it that were […]

garlic (Allium sativa)

Just as an experiment, I grew some garlic. I took the bulb garlic I buy at the grocery store, and planted several of the larger cloves at around Thanksgiving time. (My pals at Kansas State Extension say October is a good time for planting garlic too). I buried them six inches deep and spaced six […]

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