04 June 2019

oakleaf whiteness

My new oakleaf hydrangea, small though it is, already blooming. It really does light up the shaded sideyard hill- the whiteness of the flowers practically glows in the dim. Happy I made this purchase.

more bitty monarchs

I checked on the three milkweed plants. Each has a few tiny monarch caterpillars:
I thought- it will be like roads. The more roads that are built, doesn't relieve congestion. Just attracts more cars. Planting more milkweed won't prevent some of them from running out of what to eat before they pupate- if more monarchs return and lay their eggs here, I'll always have more and more caterpillars! At least, so I think.

seldom mentioned

I've been keeping this bunch of arrowhead in a vase of water for five years now. I noticed recently the leaves are smaller than they used to be, moved it onto the low bookshelf where it can get brighter indirect light. Gave the roots a trim- and some of the stems- to refresh.

lance leaved hosta

The new one I split and planted rather late in the spring, is doing very well in spite of the increasing heat. I've been watering it when I have extra, but not every day. New ones:
(this one gets a bit of sun part of the day, but seems to be okay with it)
Established, for comparison

03 June 2019


In the sunny sideyard, checking plants for aphids- none on the tithonia or milkweed yet, instead I've been wiping them off the underside of pea leaves. I did find the shadow of a small insect on a milkweed leaf, was about to swipe it off, then looked closer-
It's a monarch caterpillar- first instar! I haven't seen a monarch butterfly in the yard, but one must have visited.
Saw a white something on the gladiolas across the way- which are growing very thick and healthy, btw.
I looked closer-
A small white moth, with tidy black spots. Looked it up- probably the american ermine moth. Which unfortunately can be a minor pest and its caterpillars would probably horrify me- they live commnally in webs (tent caterpillar webs give me the creeps).
My garden is oddly still, this year. There are small flies and wasps, the ubiquitous cabbage moth (I've managed to slap two) and I've seen the dragonfly a few times. No bees. I successfully excluded the carpenter bees from using my decking as homes- there were three that kept coming back (much fewer in numbers than last year!) and I kept squirting water at them (from a distance), plugging the holes they were working on with steel wool and two gave up and left. The last bee was very stubborn but then I plugged its hole-in-progress with wood glue, and it left too.

Now there are no bees. No bees at my flowers, no bees around the borage. I miss them. I just didn't want them gnawing holes in my deck supports- I like them in the garden! I'd hoped they would find old wood elsewhere to chew into- and still visit my plants. And surely I had other bee species, not just carpenter bees? I seem to recall seeing a smaller one, like a mason bee, earlier. They don't come by now. Did my measures against the carpenter bees make them communicate alarm, so the other bees stay away? I guess the other possibility is that my neighbors used something on their lawns that did in the bees. They're not even visiting my clover- and I have a lot of clover blooming front and back right now.

more flowers

Next year I definitely need more,
and to plant them closer together.
My celosia are all short-
but maybe they will still grow up some
First coneflower!
Cranesbill are blooming all over
Starry blue borage-
Plenty more on the way from their fuzzy buds-
Spiky red purple salvia-
Anticipation for black-and-blue salvia- the plant is above my hip now!
Yellow sedum, hiding the old stump-
Somehow fuschia disappoints me. I remember it so fondly from my childhood, but I guess my tastes have changed. Now that it's blooming heavily on my porch, I find the flowers look unreal, fake- and I prefer to admire its. And sadly, it is not attracting any hummingbirds yet. Only a few mealy bugs which I smudge out.
Clematis has been done blooming for a while now- but the spun-gold looking hair of their remnants are interesting to look at-
I didn't realize this one had a daddy long legs perched on it, until I had the photo up on my computer!

02 June 2019

45 full tank shot

on the railings

Glad I cut back my summer savory earlier.
They've grown back straighter, with multiple stems.
Chervil is flowering. I don't need to save seed from it this year, but left it alone because it looks kind of neat-
mound of lacy foliage reaching over the deck railing, flowers held high
the caterpillar that was eating my dill. Either a bird found him, or he crawled off to pupate. I took this photo a few days ago, haven't seen it since. It grew fast!

on the deck!

I have a lot more container plants this year- because some of them just do better on this upper level that gets more light, and it's more or less out of the bug zone in the garden. Left to right: stevia, rue, fenugreek, asiatic lily, rosemary, winter savory, coleus, basil.
around the same corner to the door: cucumbers, sweet basil, coleus, fig, geranium, amaratto basil, choc mint, chives- in front the cuban oregano, lemon balm, japanese maple seedling, another rue, thyme.
Other side of the door: bay leaf, geranium, nasturtium and ginger mint
Nasturtium flowers:
I like the peachy hue when they start to fade-
Of note: still haven't eaten any fenugreek. Brought an Asiatic lily around from the front- whatever was eating its head off left it alone up here. Two buds!
The fenugreek flowers look similar to clover
Corner behind the chair: sculpit, coleus, basil that doesn't flower (I haven't eaten it yet)
'gay delight' coleus looks really good this year
I had two sculpit plants- the one down in the garden died. I'm not sure if conditions were wrong for it, or it was out-competed by nearby parsley and other plants? Well, the one up here has pretty blue-green leaves
and is starting to make the balloon flowers!
Cucumbers sprawling-
view from over the railing
and down below
Lots of yellow flowers- a few tiny cukes starting to form.
Lime-and-orange (red) coleus is also doing great-
Fig tree is growing rapidly. My friend has the same kind, and hers (although smaller) has small fruits forming on it. Mine doesn't. I guess I have a male tree.
Amaratto basil is flowering!
This is the wild mint I dug out of a friend's yard. It wasn't doing great last year- pot sat down by the lower deck. Refreshed with new potting soil, mulch with bamboo and moved to the upper deck. Better now.
Ginger mint also doing better up here (it was down by the garden last year)
and of course, my favorite chocolate mint. I'm clipping from this nearly every day to steep in my green tea. So far no pests.