Friday, 17 July 2015

Midsummer Garden

I haven't been very productive lately so I thought I'd do a wee post about our lovely flower garden at this point in the year.

The coneflowers (echinacea) are spectacular this year - the best they've been in about 15 years. The year Skip and I got married (17 years ago), they were very robust and tall. Since then, they haven't seemed to thrive very much. But this year they're wonderul.

This plant is by our side door. Skip uses tomato cages to keep them nice and upright.
This plant is right beside the deck.
The geraniums are just reaching their peak. We bring them inside every fall, trim them back, and keep them under grow lights all winter. Then at the end of May, they get popped back in the ground. These are only 2 of several plants that we have - mostly red - Skip's favourite colour.
This bee balm (monarda or bergamot) is all that remains from a few plants we've nurtured along since we moved into this house. A friend of mine who is an avid gardner gave me some of these from his garden. In past years they've developed a powdery mildew and would look crappy as soon as they bloomed but for some reason, this plant this year is doing great. I love to rub the leaves to get the beautiful scent.
This black-eyed Susan vine (thunbergia) is a climbing plant that we plant at the base of an wire obelisk in the back yard. By the end of the season, it climbs all the way to the top - about 5 feet.
My avid gardening friend, also gave me a few of these sea holly plants that he started from seed. The insects LOVE the flowers.
Unfortunately, the blooms smell like dog pooh - which is probably why the insects love them. However, anything to promote favourable insects and pollination is OK by us.
This has been the BEST year for growing milkweed in the garden. Sadly, I haven't found a single monarch butterfly egg. I am really concerned that we may have driven them to near-extinction with herbicides, nicotinoids, bad weather, clear-cutting of their meeting place in Mexico, etc.  Usually by this time in the summer I've nurtured the larvae to pupae and they've emerged as butterflies. I had big plans to aim for a high yield this summer.

Skip and I are going to be away for a few days next week but when we get back home, I'll really do a thorough search under every milkweed leaf to see if I can find at least a few eggs to propagate.

BTW, several of these images were captured by either my iPhone or iPad mini. I never cease to be impressed with the photographic quality achieved by those devices.

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