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Native garden

Today is the Spring Equinox of 2021. But, really, this post is a summary of the last season in photos since it is so overdue. The global pandemic kept me grounded which meant I and others did lots more clearing last spring of unwanted plants in the meadow. Ryan and Emily cleared truckload after truckload …

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Disaster — in the form of weak hives invaded by wax moths — awaited, I was certain. So certain that I called in a veteran beekeeper to help me open my hives. True, bees were flying in and out of both hives but this summer challenged my sub par beekeeping skills more than ever. First, …

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The cookie tins are red on the sides with pine cones on the lid. I bought 6 of them last winter to store last year’s verbena harvest. Three of them still hold tea. But this year’s growing season is coming to an end, and I’ve not had luck with wintering over verbena. So I harvested …

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“The people who post what they had for lunch — they are the worst.” So said my journalist friend with 1,000 Facebook friends none of whom he knows. He doesn’t read my blog so here’s a photo of a recent lunch with one of the last tomatoes of the season.

Lunch of the last tomato from the garden

“What you need is a few sunflowers,” suggested the goldenrod authority. He was circling the meadow in fading light as evening was settling in. He had observed that I had nothing but the usual goldenrod, but to my great disappointment he would not name them. I was hoping for an authoritative identification of the few species that populate the field.

Sunflowers were not on my radar. The only native sunflower I know prefers woodland of which I have almost none. But scanning the meadow bursting with goldenrod I decided what I want is more asters like these New York asters that grow near the bog.

The goldenrod authority was also a house guest, and notwithstanding the sunflower suggestion, brought an aster as a gift. I planted his aster on Monday but it looked lonely. Wednesday bought 6 more: Rhody Native asters ( 3 A. novi-belgii and 3 A. undulatus) from Blue Moon Nursery. Emily planted them at the edge of meadow between “Susan’s folly” and the veggie garden. These seven asters have their work cut out to begin to balance the resurgence of goldenrod where Bittersweet used to dominate.

A year ago, I could not have imagined that I would have a field yellowed with Goldenrod today. It seems that where I disturbed the ground in pulling Bittersweet, Goldernrod seeded.

Area formerly Bittersweet dominated to south of veggie garden

Goldenrod filling in where Bittersweet used to rule

Now in its second year, my garden of predominantly native plants is indeed attracting unusual wildlife. Take this Hummingbird moth for example. For most of July, it drank the nectar of the Monarda flowers (and I never got a better photo than this).

It looks more like a hummingbird than a moth. In fact, its Latin name is Hemaris thysbe which I may remember because thysbe sounds like thespian — a moth acting the part of a hummingbird.

Hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe)