Thursday, August 27, 2015

Big Bugs

It was big and slow in a humming mass of activity. Well that is the biggest bumblebee I have ever seen. I should have known better. I looked it up and it is a carpenter bee. Damn bug. I have a forest full of untreated dead wood and they are drilling holes in the main beams of the front porch.

If you ever move to NC do not, I repeat, do not build a log cabin. That is prime carpenter bee habitat. Cement siding is the way to go.

Plant it, edit for wild flowers and they will come. It is interesting that there are times of a tumultuous vibration of a myriad of creatures and at other times there is almost complete silence when nobody's there.

I walk through a meadow and bugs fall off the plants and crawl on me. Seeds attach themselves. All kinds of fluff sticks and clings. I have to brush myself off when I enter an open space. There is nothing new about that. I am a gardener by trade. This time of year it just seems so many things are looking to hitch a ride.

Wider paths would solve that little problem if I managed to stay on them, but in some places there is no room for that.

This time of year all that activity is at shoulder level and above. I lean in to pull a weed and come back out with burrs in my hair.

I'm good with all that. The trade off in beauty is worth it. My red line is thorns. Gardy will not be scratched and maimed in his own garden.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Coffee in hand, I went for a slow walk this morning to see where I might plant my half dozen new Red Yuccas.

I had envisioned the winter under garden and had a good notion where they would fit in, have full sun and super well drained soil.

It just took me a while to get there.

Can you see it?

I knew if I was patient she would eventually part with it. We all know what happens to stuff that is to good to throw away and ends up stored under the house because you might need it one day. It gets forgotten until one day you decide to clean up and throw out all the junk under the house.

The first time I asked was at least two years ago. This time the answer was yes. Now there are two invisible art pieces.

I'll need to watch it cause the birds. If they have troubles I will try to find a way to etch or paint an image on the glass. The other invisible art piece has been fine with the birds since it is placed next to the grasses and is only fully exposed about a month out of the year.

I didn't want to wait until November when the under garden would start to reappear. It would be much better for the Red Yuccas, Hesperaloe parviflora 'Perpa' to have more time to gets some roots in the ground before winter sets in.

I set them in the ground this afternoon after the invisible art piece was placed. I'm kind of excited to see the under garden this year. I have planted quite a bit to improve it since last winter.

But that will have to wait.

The Tall Flower Meadow is not anywhere near done.

Now I wait for the asters, particularly the Blue Wood Aster.

I don't want to leave home in the morning. It will be many years before that is a viable option at this time of year.

Monday, August 24, 2015


The grasses will bloom and add their stature to the Tall Flower Meadow when it is their time.

There is enough to keep me occupied until then.

One small section of the meadow is probably at peak bloom now.

The middle is gaining more color by the day

There is much yet to come as the bloom sweeps north across the meadow. I am more patient with it now that the big end of season show is well under way.

I knew if I was patient they would eventually end up on the discard rack. No one in North Carolina was going to buy those ugly spiky cactus looking things. I would. I waited. Today they were marked down from $15 to $5. I bought six.

Now where will I plant these Hesperaloe parviflora 'Perpa'? The Monrovia tag says zone 5. The internet is disagreeing and saying zone 7 to zone 5. I'm willing to find out just how hardy they are because they should be evergreen and become part of the winter under garden of a low mounding tapestry of texture and color. Plus they have tall bloom spikes of red in the summer that the hummingbirds should enjoy.

It's hard to plant things in the Lush when it is nearing full bloom. These new plants may need to sit in their pots for a spell while I ponder just where to put them. It would help if I could see the under garden. That won't be until November.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I did it.

A little rain helped.

A nap was involved.

Strolling happened.

Less than a half dozen weeds were pulled.

What could be better than having nothing to do in a garden.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Foggy Mountain Meadow

My day did not go as planned. I woke up entirely too early in a fog.

I got up so early there was plenty time to sit and watch the fog swirl by on incoming waves.

I went for a walk in the fog. I didn't know spiders could make dinner bowls.

As the fog began to lift and the coffee coursed through my system things began to take an ominous turn.

The vacuum started calling to me. It was all down hill from there. I got way more accomplished today than I had planned.

The plan was to do nothing slowly. I guess I wasn't moving fast, but I was moving until 7pm when I finally headed inside with a sack of fine produce for supper from the now tidier roadside vegetable garden.

I'll try to do nothing tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hiding In The Jungle

From some vantage points you simply can't tell there are nice mowed paths that will lead you through the meadow. Even with paths things can get lost in there, like a cat for instance.

Miss Collar did not come when I called yesterday and for all I know she could have been twenty feet away nestled in the Lush pouting over her lost dignity. She could have gotten in a tussle with Button. He likes to jump on her while she is running away. There does appear to be some minor soreness to her hind quarters. Something happened.

I doubt she left the front porch today. She came in, had her supper and took to her bed.

I was doing a little weeding a couple days ago when oops, I think this is an orchid and it fell out of the ground. It certainly wasn't safe there so I brought it home. Hopefully it will settle in and make the seventh species of native orchid in the wild cultivated gardens.

My best guess is this is a Loesel's Twayblade, Liparis loeselii. It is now safely hidden in the Lush. I hope the digging varmint doesn't find it.

The big end of season show relies on a dozen or so robust floral performers. The meadow is chock full of other less showy bloomers. They hide in the back ground, but add a quite a bit to the overall effect.

It's still not in peak bloom. There is a lot more goldenrod to come and the asters will kick it into floral overdrive. Joe Pye will be fading by the time the asters arrive, but even faded, Joe Pye adds color and substance.

This weekend I plan to hide in the jungle. I could use a little rest. That means I will be doing some light chores slowly. The slower I go, the more I can see what is hiding in there.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Jungle Out There

A lot of things go on around here that I am not fully aware of. I see more evidence than activity. I hear things more than I see them.

This morning the ravens were making a terrible ruckus. They are chatty to begin with. This was loud and obnoxious. They were making a big stink about something. I figured they may have spotted the resident owl who hoots in the night or found a resting hawk to harass. It went on for five minutes before they finally shut up.

I found some daffodil bulbs dug up this morning. That is unusual even though some varmint has been incessantly digging holes in the Great Lawn and surrounding paths for the last two months. Did it eat the tulip bulbs that were there and discard the daffodils? Damn Varmints! This evening I found some of my freshly planted liatris tubers dug up. Damn Varmints!

At least the digger only makes small holes and rarely digs anything up that wasn't just planted in the last few days.

There are a couple spots in the Lush by the front porch that always look like something has been sleeping in there and tossing and turning the entire time. I think that is Button playing with his chew toys. Butterflies on liatris are also fair game. Some squashing is involved.

I have seen a groundhog three times now. Twice down in the sunny utility meadow dining on the Greenheaded Coneflower, Rubeckia laciniata. At least he left some to bloom.

This week I saw him scurry off a dung pile and watched as Miss Collar sort of chased after it.

The turkeys have been here a lot of late scratching the peck out of great swaths of the garden. The slope below the scenic byway looks like someone came in with a blower and pushed all the leaf litter down the hill. They ventured into the sunny utility meadow and started pecking there. As long as they don't dig a dust bath pit, I can live with the pecking.

Wild red drumsticks are covered in bumblebees. I see that because once they land they seem to stay put for very long periods of time. Something about the angelica must be mesmerizing.

When I walk into the roadside vegetable garden it is quite possible to flush a flock of gold finches feeding on the sunflowers. They like the chicory a lot too. I go to look at the ironweed and check on the fine produce to see what is ready for harvest.

Miss Collar did not come home for her dinner/roll call when I came home today. She did not come when I called and I know how to make my voice heard by rolling it through the valley and over the mountain.

It was raining again, near dark, and Miss Collar was still not home. I had called for her several more times. I was getting worried. What were those ravens making such a racket about this morning?  I went looking where the noise had been coming from. No evidence to be seen. Has Miss Collar been swallowed up by the forest like her mother and brother?

Finally she showed up just before dark, wet, her face covered with a black smudge and is that a limp? She must have gotten herself in some kind of scrape. She checked out ok, no cuts or signs of pain when being examined. There seemed to be some missing dignity. I'd wager on a tussle with a turkey.

It's a jungle out there and I don't know the half of what is going on around here in my absence.