Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Focus On the Garden

Many closeups of spiders, my chest hair, spiders killing preying mantis, dragonflies, swallowtail larva, and various sundry blooms. Ready, steady, go.


















I just like this picture; the shaft of light helps. I was playing with the manual focus, leaping from plant to plant, and this one is focused on the 'October Skies' aster--which I can't wait to see in bloom this first year.


















A true native sage! As in, Lincoln, Nebraska! It's called 'Nekan' because it's found in a thin swath from Nebraska to Kansas, but it was discovered just minutes from my house.


















The black swallowtail cats are loving this mystery self-sown fennel. May it self sow again--mysteriously.














Apologies for the point and shoot camera image (dead battery on the EOS). Not sure who I should've cheered for, the spider or the mantis. I have images from last year of a mantis eating a decapitated bumble bee, soooooo....


















I forget the name of this liatris. Help? She's just a baby, so her bloom time is a bit late.













This is the only caryopteris--of 5--that has lived for me, and look at it now! Also look at what's at the birdbath. Also pray that this year the rudbeckia actually come back.













She's been getting fatter and fatter and fatter. I also had the pleasure of seeing her catch a grasshopper a few days ago. Die die die grasshoppers. (I wish the spider could kill the resident rabbit, who has mangled half of my asters).













You just HAVE to click on and expand this photo. Waaaaay cool, dude. It's on a rocky mountain liatris.


















Loving the bronze fennel, even in bloom with that somewhat-not-quite-right-with-the-foliage yellow flowers. Behind it is 'Blue Fortune' agastache and white turtlehead.













Electric blue lobelia.













The althea on a stick is looking good....













...see? Though I must admit, it's a bit too froo froo for me, but it does make a nice statement at the corner of the patio.

This concludes the picture show. On the way out please consider donating to the "Buy This Handsome Man More Plants" relief fund. Ushers with hot pepper wax spray (aimed at your eyes) will have cans ready to collect your generous gifts.

Yes, I am feeling confrontational today. But watching the video from my previous post (Kitten Mittens) eases my pain.

14 comments:

Teza said...

Benjamin:
I enjoy the Nekan sage - wish I could grow more as perennials, especially with a blue of this hue! Here, Caryopteris is much hardier than Buddleja, which I finally gave up trying to over winter. - does it ( Buddleja) grow well for you there? Strange how Zone 5 can fluctuate so much. Thanks for visiting... glad I don't have grasshoppers big enough to devour my Thalictrum! Hope summer has been treating you well.

Layanee said...

That was well worth the 'click' on that dragonfly. What big eyes! Too funny that video with the cat mittens.

Olive Branch said...

Beautiful photos! I will have to try the Nekan sage! Where can I find it/buy it?

Scott said...

what you're calling Nekan sage looks like the Blue Sage or Salvia azurea I have grown from seed in my yard in Minneapolis. It is just starting to bloom and gets over 4 feet tall and can take the heat and dry. I got the seed from Prairie Moon Nursery in Winona, MN and it is very easy to grow from seed. Their catalog says the seed is from Southern Missouri. The Liatris you wonder about may be Liatris aspera, Button Blazing Star, hence the "buttons". Also just starting to bloom in my yard. Way later than the Liatris pychnostachya or Prairie Blazing Star which is near done and likes more water than the Button. Thanks for the great photos and the lovely blog. ps, Prairie Moon has a great website/online catalog with seeds of over 500 species of plants native to the Midwest and tons of cultural information for these species. I've been ordering from them for 7 or 8 years.

Gail said...

Everything looks wonderful!The shot of the dragonfly is excellent, too! Love the sage Benjamen...Mine isn't blooming yet (I have the species). Has yours seeded itself? Do let it go to seed. I can't grow caryopteris at all...the poor drainage and less then full sun does it in! Oh to have the deep clay soils of the prairie! Sigh!

gail

Benjamin Vogt said...

Teza--That blue is really a knockout this year, the first it's blooming--more in the pipeline, too. My buddleja grow well here. I do have them on a soutehrn exposure though, just in case it's a bad winter. For me, it's also essential to plant them in spring ASAP.
Layanee--I don't know why people even bother with dogs. Oh.... :)
OB--I'm pretty sure I got mine from Plant Delights. Get thee a salvia.
Scott--You are on the ball! I thik it is Liatris aspeara, I do remembe gettign some--from Prairie Moon (love their stuff, too!). I have more liatris on order from them for spring. That salvia is s. azurea, just a seed strain collected here in Lincoln. So, it is pretty much the same thing. I've got family in Mpls, so glad to hear from a fellow Gopher. Or whatever.
Gail--This is the first year it's bloomed, so I hope it seeds--it'd be nice if it did where it is! I put my caryopteris on my litle hill, sorta beneath some tall treese that suk the water out of the clay, and planted the shrub high. So far so good, even in zone 5!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Yuck, spiders! Normally I'm pretty spider tolerant, but I went into the barn tonight to get the horse's leadline and walked into a huge spiderweb with corresponding large spider. In the dark. Ugh. They're on my not-pleased with list for the time being.
The kitten video is hilarious. And the liatris, I think it's possibly Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera? It looks like the photo of one I took in Missouri last summer (see blog post at http://tinyurl.com/kuxrpd). Hope this helps.

Pam said...

Yep, enlarging that dragonfly was indeed worth it.

Spiders are just everywhere here too - I watched one (off and on) today eat a huge beatle - and I swear the spider doubled in size afterwards. One web caught some bees - I don't see that often (and don't like it too much). I caught myself saying 'excuse me' after I damaged part of a web today - that felt pretty silly.

mrbrownthumb said...

I would've rooted for the mantis. I hate spiders. I know, I know, good in the garden and all that jazz but still...

Benjamin Vogt said...

Jodi--Aspera it is! You should really carry a flashlight with you in the barn, you know, if only for the fear of spiders. I would!
Pam--You talk to things inyour garden too? I don't like seeing bees in webs, but so far this year, so good for me.
MBT--No no no! Spider!!

lostlandscape (James) said...

I miss my fennel and the caterpillars that take advantage of its forage. In these parts the fennel is considered uber invasive and so I've resisted planting it. There's a canyon nearby with colonies of escaped fennel, and fortunately it's near enough to me that the swallowtails can find me some of these afternoons.

Benjamin Vogt said...

James--I had no idea fennel was considered invasive out west! I hear butterfly bush can also be a problem, but here in the middle where it freezes hard, no big deal. Glad you can still get your swallowtail fix, though.

Wild Flora said...

The big black and yellow spider is Argiope aurantia, aka "the writing spider." It gets that name because the web has a characteristic feature (known as stabilimenta) that looks like handwriting. Think of them as an eight-legged muse!

Benjamin Vogt said...

WF--I always forget the name of this garden spider, so there you go. We have two now, and some other big fat brown ones that make huge webs out floating six feet off the house. Remarkable this time of year. Do spiders hibernate or die off?