|Swamp Milkweed buds|
It's time for the quarterly "Lessons Learned" meme and, frankly, I'm in denial. I don't want summer to end. As usual, I feel a little blue as the season winds down. Our summers here in the north are so pleasant, and they don't last long enough.
Summer hasn't technically ended yet, and I'm planning to make the most of the perfect weather in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, here are a few lessons I've learned this growing season:
|A regular guest|
1. A lot more goes on in my garden during the day than I realized. This is the first summer I've worked full-time from my home office, which gave me a near-constant view of the backyard. I always knew diverse wildlife visited here, but I didn't realize it was such a major stopover. The regulars are too numerous to list here, but two new ones I hadn't seen in my backyard before are cooper's hawks and wild turkeys. I haven't captured a decent photo of a hawk yet, but after several attempts, I had a bit of success with the turkeys.
|Turkeys running away from me into the neighbors' yard|
2. Wild turkeys eat, among other things, wood ticks and acorns. No wonder they like my backyard. It's an Oak opening leading to a forest, so it's full of ticks and acorns! I guess I'm glad the turkeys like to visit here--they haven't damaged the garden much, and they eat ticks!
|Who knew Swamp Milkweed would thrive in this spot?|
3. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) likes my garden! Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa)--not so much. I guess that makes sense because bright sun (which Butterfly Weed prefers) is hard to come by (and
|Screen capture from a video that I hope to upload later|
4. Monarch butterflies like Swamp Milkweed! Several sources and people have told me it's one of their favorite Milkweed species. I didn't see many monarchs in my garden, but one in particular spent a good hour nectaring on the Swamp Milkweed.
|Why didn't I plant Zinnias this year?|
5. I miss Zinnias. No, I really miss Zinnias! This is the first year in more than a decade that I haven't planted them. I was trying to practice crop rotation. And because I have very limited space for sun-loving plants, I ditched the Zinnias this year for more Cosmos. It's great having more Cosmos, but Zinnias will be back in my garden next summer.
|Not a rusty patched bumble bee, but a sweet guest pollinator, nonetheless|
6. The rusty patched bumble bee is threatened. In January, the Xerces Society filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildllife Service to list it as endangered. I also learned that, fortunately, the rusty patched bumble bee is still quite common at UW-Madison's Arboretum--particularly in the native plant garden. I've been volunteering there this summer (I'll include more details about that experience later). Even during my limited time at the native plant garden, the rusty patched bumble bees were plentiful. They do, indeed, seem to like our native plants!
What gardening and nature lessons have you learned and relearned this season? If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, please share your winter musings.
To join in the Lessons Learned meme, share a new or a previous post you've written regarding things you've learned. No Linkys necessary: Simply share your link in your comment on this post.
Please also join Donna at Gardens Eye View for the Seasonal Celebrations meme. Posts that cover both memes offer a chance to reflect on the past season and look ahead to the next at the same time. Both memes will be active until the equinox, when we'll post the wrap-ups. Cheers!