Saturday, July 19, 2014

What's Bloomin' at the Homestead

Last week while mowing the yard, I found a tiny purple blob where I had planted some new prairies flowers this spring.  I was very excited - must go get a photo of i!  Well, it took a while, but yesterday when I got home from work I decided to grab the camera and shoot it...and whatever else was blooming, for right now the grass land flowers are starting their seasonal show.

First stop, the green milkweed.  I have several of these now planted around the house.  Hopefully some will permanently take and I won't have to buy any more!  I am constantly fascinated by this flower. It's rather unprepossessing, mainly because the flowers are green, but they are quite lovely up close.

And the horsemint is at its prime!  Usually by the time I get to photograph it it is looking pretty ragged.  I do love this flower.  First saw it in the Albany Pine Bush many many years ago.

 I missed the peak for the pale purple coneflower, but some are still not looking too bad.  Very narrow petals that are swept backward help distinguish this from the regular purple coneflower.

False sunflower, I believe.  There are so many yellow rayed flowers out right now, and they look so much alike!  

Culver's root - a favorite of many a bee!  Good to have these around.

Back in the coneflower department, we have yellow coneflower,

and purple coneflower.  I don't have any green- or grey-headed coneflowers planted at home, but I do have some three-leaved, and they are not in bloom yet.

Out int he side yard is the patch I don't mow and have planted with many natives.   Sadly, the non-natives (mostly daisy fleabane) have taken over.  You can see some tall yellow flowers, though - either a coreopsis or a sunflower...I did not do ID verification on them last night.  Sadly, most of hte other prairie plants I've put in here have not survived, like the early and late figworts, the prairie smoke, prairie dropseed, conflowers, et al.

And here is the afore-mentioned purple prairie clover.  I have planted this several times, and none of them have made it through more than one season...and some not even that!  I really hope this one takes! It is believed that this flower has now been extirpated from the wild in Michigan.  Very sad.

Another one I've planted is round-headed clover, which is simply delightful in the fall, with it's fuzzy bunny-tail like seed heads.

Back around the house the nodding wild onion is about to bloom.

And the rattlesnake master is doing quite well.

Out back and around what was the veg garden, the wildflowers are doing okay, like this compass flower.

The hoary vervain (or is this the common vervain?) is not as tall as it was last year, but it is a favorite of the bees.

Thimbleweed - another favorite.  I'm not sure why I am drawn to this plant.  Maybe it's just the name...regardless, I do like it.

By evening the great St. Johnswort isn't looking too great, 

but is is sure loaded with lots of buds right now!

The native bee balm is doing very well.  At work one of our fields is nearly solid with this flower!  I guess all bee balm falls into the "vigorous grower" category!

It's still a bit early for ironweed, but I imagine in a week or so I'll have flowers.

Same with the rose mallow, but isn't the bud fascinating?  Reminds me of Audrey from the Little Shop of Horrors.

It will probably still be a couple weeks before the rough blazing star blooms.

As I snapped this photo of the rosinweed flower, I noticed there was something wrong with the bee.

She had a beetle clinging to her mouth!  She was very lethargic (couldn't eat, I'm sure), and she was also missing a foot!  Poor thing.  I tried and tried to remove the beetle (thin sticks to grab it), but it would not let go, and finally, after enduring quite a bit of poking from me, she flew off, beetle and all.  I have no idea if she will survive.

One of last year's onions, blooming.

And them back around to the house and the wild garden that is by the patio.  The yellow giant hyssop is living up to its name - the plant must be close to six feet tall!   The three-leaved coneflower and the tall tickseeds are even taller - pushing 8-10 feet, and they aren't even blooming yet.  I will have to thin them out before next summer...they are choking out all the other plants in this garden.

And then there are the plant predators.  I'm not sure (yet) which beetle these are (I'm thinking they are clay-colored leaf beetles, but am waiting for Bug Guide to confirm), but they and the Japanese beetles have been devastating some of my plants, as you can see.

And just to prove you don't need a swamp to grow swamp milkweed, here is mine...doing VERY well and looking gorgeous!

Things are starting to look very colorful outside!