September 13, 2021

Wistful About Summer Vases

vases 3

About this time of year, the reality of summer's end hits me. September in Southern Wisconsin is a very comfortable, pleasant experience. But the moodiness of summer drawing to an end always catches me a bit. It's in the spirit of that wistfulness that I lovingly place bright blooms in vases and realize their days are numbered.

vases 1

Unless I have a special occasion to arrange for, I tend to create very simple combinations. In this case, I simply plopped a mix of Mistflowers (Conoclinium coelestinum and Ageratina havanensis) into a decorative garden pitcher and called it a day.

vases 2

Awesome qualities about these cut flowers: They have a long vase life and the foliage is lush enough to add structure to a simple arrangement.

vases 4

I love, love, love the color of the blue ones.

vases 5

I also added a few sprigs of Blue Mistflowers to this group, which also contains 'State Fair Mix' Zinnias (Z. elegens) and 'Sensation Mix' Cosmos (C. bipinnatus). I was happy with the mix of colors, and in this particular glass vase.

vases 6

It complements the stained glass lamp next to it.

vases 7

I will miss these cut flowers during the long winter months ahead. For now, I'm enjoying them indoors in vases, and in the garden covered in pollinators...until the first frost in October.

You can join the "In a Vase on Monday" meme by posting about your arrangements and linking to Cathy's meme at Rambling in the Garden.

September 02, 2021

More Adventures at the Research Station

Display Gardens 1

I've posted about the UW-Madison West Agricultural Research Station before, but I figured it would be a good time to head over there again to see what's growing. The display gardens and the research crops change from year to year.

Students and faculty at the university's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have access to the gardens for research, agronomic and horticultural plant breeding and variety trials, community outreach, student training, and providing feed and manure management for the UW-Madison campus livestock.

Focus areas include field crops (corn, soybeans, small grains, alfalfa, and cover crops), plant breeding trials, vegetables, small fruit crops, composting, irrigation, and the horticultural display gardens (annuals and perennials). The latter include All-America Selections (AAS) winners.

Welcome Garden

I spent most of my time during this recent visit in the display gardens. There's a pretty little plant collection right out front, with annuals and perennials, welcoming people to the gardens.


Screen-protected areas display line-ups of various plant varieties; shown here, Coral Bells (Heuchera spp).

The masses of open areas are fascinating, too, and beautiful!

Display Gardens 4

Display Gardens 2

Display Gardens 3

One could spend hours viewing all these options!

Silver-Spotted Skipper

One main reason I enjoy visiting these gardens is to see and track butterflies, like this silver-spotted skipper, for With all the flowering plants, the butterflies are plentiful, too.

Buddleia Monarch

On this particular day last week, I saw more than 20 monarchs, along with several other species.

Buddleia SS Skipper

Their favorite area seemed to be the Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) display. And the favorite varieties on this particular day were 'Chrysalis Blue' and 'Chrysalis Cranberry.'

Monarch Egg

Some monarchs were still laying eggs on the plentiful native milkweeds in the gardens.

Pollinators on Cup Plant

I was particularly tickled to see the popularity of the native Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) blooms and other Silphium species, which were covered in various pollinators.

Lysimachia 'Night Light'

While I've seen Moneywort (Lysimachia alfredii) in gardens before, this variety, 'Night Light,' was quite attractive. Apparently, it prefers partial to full shade, the foliage turns burgundy in the shade, and it's rabbit-repellent (duly noted for my garden!).

Heliotropium Augusta 'Lavender'

The bumblebees were happy on Heliotrope 'Augusta Lavender' (Heliotropium hybrid). But who wouldn't be?

Double Sunking Blooms

Now this plant had me curious, with its large fluffy, double blooms: 'Double Sunking' Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

Double Sunking Stand

Its height, from various sources, is listed at six feet, but these plants were much taller!

Canna Lily

I didn't make note of the species on this Canna Lily (Canna spp.), but I'm thinking it might be 'South Pacific Orange,' the 2018 AAS Flower Winner, and the one that I grew in 2019.

Entry Area

I could have spent much more time in the display gardens--so much to see, and so many things to learn. I'm looking forward to a return during the next growing season!

August 25, 2021

Wordless Wednesday: Prairie in Late Summer

prairie late summer
August: prairie late summer
[Click on images to enlarge for detail.]

prairie midsummer
July: prairie midsummer

prairie late spring
Late May: prairie at end of spring

burned prairie 2
April: prairie following a prescribed burn

prairie late winter
March: prairie just before snowmelt

December: prairie before the snow

August 16, 2021

Pots Full of Form and Color

anchor pot swallowtail

For several days in a row, this Eastern tiger swallowtail spent hours nectaring on potted Impatiens (I. capensis) 'Accent Burgundy.' It was a beautiful sight to see, and the butterfly seemed very tame and contented.

When I gathered photos for my last post about "likes" and "dislikes," I went a little overboard. So, I separated out the photos of the potted plants. For the most part, I've been pleased with their performance and results. Of course, potted plants are watered regularly, so they benefited from extra care during the drought.

anchor pot in back

The potted Impatiens form a focal point in the back garden. They've really filled in nicely.

anchor pot plants 1

In the pot with them are Oxalis (O. vulcanicola) 'Zinfandel,' which are not hardy in my cold climate. So I might bring some inside, as I do with my Purple Shamrocks (O. trangularis).

anchor pot plants 2

And on the sides of the pot, Bush Violets (Browallia) 'Endless Flirtation.'

wild senna

Behind them, adjacent to the wire trellis and the Oak tree, is a patch of Wild Senna (S. hebecarpa) (not potted) that I planted just a couple of years ago. I think it likes this spot.

impatiens and sw potato vine

I included the 'Accent Burgundy' Impatiens in several other pots, too, including this one with Sweet Potato Vines (Ipomoea batatas) 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight' and 'Sweet Caroline Light Green.'

impatiens and asparagus fern

Impatiens 'Accent Bright Eye' is also happy, with its companion, Asparagus Fern (A. densiflorus) 'Sprengeri.'

impatiens with friends

'Accent Bright Eye' also combines nicely with Lantana (L. camara) 'Bandana Rose' and some Marigolds (not blooming in this photo).

ng impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens (I. hawkeri) 'Magnum Bright Purple' also was a favorite spot for the swallowtail. I have three lush, full pots of this variety, and all three are now blooming more fully than the photos here. I love the foliage on this plant, too.

ng impatiens and coleus

More New Guinea Impatiens with various Coleus hybrids.
fun combo

And Coleus paired with the Oxalis.


I'm pleased with the progress of Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), potted here and along a trellis on the side of the house. All were planted from seed. I'll take this one into the cool sunroom for the winter and leave the others in the soil outdoors. It will be a fun experiment. Maybe we'll see flowers and fruit next summer.

potted fun

Two fun pots at the westside base of the sunroom: Fuchsia (F. triphylla) 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' and a Caladium (C. bicolor).

hyacinth bean vine

I've grown Hyacinth Bean Vine (Lalab purpurea) from seed for many years, and it seems very happy in this pot with rabbit-proofing wire at the base.

hyacinth spider

The foliage is as pretty as the flowers, which are sparse in the shade.

hyacinth buds

I always get some flowers from Hyacinth Bean Vine, but they're developing later this year, probably because the trees leafed out very early in the spring.

fuchsia pots

My favorite Fuchsia hybrid is 'Marinka,' and I've overwintered these two pots in the sunroom for several years now. I clip them back when I bring them in, and they fill out nicely when they go back out in late spring.

fuchsia marinka

The hummingbirds like them, too. I'll have to try to get photos of the hummers nectaring here.

I've been happy with these and several other potted arrangements this growing season. They brighten my day when I walk out of the house. Maybe I'll add even more pots next year...