Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Swanky Birdfeeder, Wild Quinine, Decent Coneflowers

Let's define decent coneflowers: none of those freaks with fluffy pom poms where the seed head should be, but the geneticists put the thing too close to radiation and well, you know, strange things started happening. Do NOT get me started on this.

Below we shall enjoy, shall shall shall, views of the garden--now grown to twice its girth in the last two weeks. We shall partake in the lovely colors, and more importantly, textures. We shall ignore the portion by the fence on the small hill where not much works yet (dry in summer, wet in winter / spring where it's shaded and ice lingers while other parts of the garden are greening up).

And oh, do we have a birdfeeder for you hip cats....

I usually have terrible luck with these new cone cultivars, but 'Sundown' came back with vigor for me this year. 'Swan' and 'Sunrise' are two dependable ones, but I always figured that's because they weren't uber modified like these more recent and weaker ones.

I'm too lazy to look up, and therefore can't remember, what this cultivar is named--but I do enjoy it.

I thought this was nice. So do you, by the way.

A close up of Queen of the Prairie in bloom. Smells like roses. You have to have this native plant. This year it, like most everything else, has grown massively. The filipendula is now about 6' tall and 4' wide and shading a turtlehead and meadow rue.

Wild Quinine. When I first picked up this medium to large native perennial I was iffy--looked kinda boring. And it is. But look at these unique 'blooms.' Reminds me of cauliflower (click to expand). This plant is currently at about 4' tall by 3' wide, slouching a bit because we recently had 5-6" of rain in two weeks after nothing the whole spring.

I really enjoy the different textures in this photo. And again, so do you. Liatris up front with sumac to the left, cones and monarda behind, then wild quinine, eupatorium and ironweed along the fence. Meeeoooowww.

A suprise for me this year in how I like this combo of 'Black Lace' elderberry and Amsonia hubrichtii. The amsonia is finally at about full height and spread, but the elderberry is still settling in--growing too much out instead of up, so I've begun contorting (staking) it to turn upwards. Doing far too much staking this year, mostly that pesky deluge of 3" last week which finished off most tall things.

Last year's garden art acquisition. Pretty at sunset. Right?

And our new birdfeeder. We really debated purchasing this as it was out of our budget. But the wife said "hey, this can be our anniversary present." And fortunately, something good happened only days later that made the purchase affordable. Help the economy (eh), help artists (yes!). My mom says only fashionable birds would use this feeder, but so far it's just pretty much grackles. 10 at a time. They darken the sky.

I ADORE my Rudbeckia maxima (and the birdfeeder behind it in this photo, just in case you hadn't noticed). I have this giant--6 feet--black-eyed susan set where two paths diverge in the garden, and it is at the point of a bed of red monarda and chocolate joe pye weed. The height at this spot is just perfect, it seems to me, and adds so much interest with its big blue leaves (again not shown here, so google it and buy one). I first discovered this plant over at View From Federal Twist, then bought it at Ambergate Gardens in Minnesota--two very cool places you should visit.


Victoria Summerley said...

That is the COOLEST bird feeder in the entire WORLD. I am so envious. In fact, your whole garden is looking pretty damn cool, Benjamin. The colours and textures are gorgeous.

Les said...

That is an awsome feeder, even grackles gotta have art.

Like you I have sworn off of the new Echinacea cultivars, but have you seen 'Tomato Soup'? It has me thinkging about trying one.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Victoria--I agree, pretty damn cool indeed! Send some swanky birds across the pond to adorn the feeder.
Les--I've not seen that cultivar, but they tend to be so weak for me. Tell you what, you test it for me and let me know. :)

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hello Banjamin

You have some really nice perennials doing really nice things.

I agree that some Echinacea have been messed about too much.

Great pics by the way, and yes I do like them.

Happy bird feeding.

Unknown said...

Amen re: the freaky echinaceas! (And could your too-lazy-to-look-it-up one be echinacea pallida by chance?) And thanks for including your musing about staking up the 'Black Lace'--I've been wrinkling my nose at mine for that "out not up" growth, but never thought to stake it.

That birdfeeder is absolutely amazing, btw. Congrats on its addition to your garden--and to whatever good thing came along a few days later to make its price tag more palatable.

"The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread." - David Herbert Lawrence

Lynn said...

summertime summertime sum sum summertime in your garden. I think your 2nd coneflower pic is Echinacea pallida, a native. I have about 24 seedlings growing that I hope will make a mini meadow next year--in that spot of our garden we're all ignoring just now.

Layanee said...

Swanky birds! Love it.

Benjamin Vogt said...

E. pallida, that's what it is! You guys are awesome. All of you. ven if you didn't guess. Or send me candy.

Pam said...

That E. pallida looks very cool - I'm not familiar with that one! (I wonder if it needs cold winters?) I just have the plain coneflowers, whatever they are - and haven't gone for those others ones either (that look like electrified pin cushions).

The art in your garden looks so fun - and your garden - wow. It's really beautiful!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--Don't get those electrified cones! PLEASE!! I have no ide what pallida likes, but I be it'd work by you. Thanks for thinking my garden loks ok--I don't show the bad bits, of course.

Rosemarie said...

LOVE the garden art. And don't make fun of my poofy coneflowers.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Rosemaie--Sorry, but I and the poofy coneflowers are not on speaking terms.