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...

August 07, 2021

'Likes' and 'Dislikes' in the 2021 Garden

'Summer Beauty' Alliums (A. lusitanicum) bring magic and pollinators to the garden.

One of the best things about a dry, hot summer is the lack of mosquitoes. I can count on two hands the number of mosquito bites I've had during the past two months. Also, the watered parts of the garden are doing well, and the pollinators are still plentiful.

In just about every other area, including the garden, the combination of drought and heat is challenging. I've been thinking lately about the things I "like" and "dislike" about the garden this summer, and many of the dislikes are related to the early onset of high heat in June and being about 10 inches behind average in rainfall for the year. The combination has been rough on the garden in some areas.

problem areas
From top left, clockwise: What's usually a very large Hosta has been fragmented (probably rabbit lunches) and taken over by Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis); Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) are dry and dormant while Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) takes over; Goldfinger Tithonia (T. rotundifolia) is barely hanging on, while it's thrived in this spot many other years; these Daylilies never bloomed and look stressed; I've been watering the Hydrangeas nearly every day, and they're still saggy; Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is sad, although it has produced seed.

As I post this, potential rain is in the forecast for the next few days, which is great, although it's too late for some plants that have gone dormant or underperformed. But there are so many other plants (some in watered areas; others drought-tolerant) and other garden aspects that are performing well and bringing happiness.

sea oats

Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is really filling in its spot this year.

monarch on zinnia

As always, the 'State Fair Mix' Zinnias (Z. elegans) are attracting butterflies and other pollinators.

monarchs mating

Monarch butterflies are plentiful lately, and it's magical to see them mating among the foliage pockets of the Dwarf Korean Lilac.

bluestar amsonia

I took a chance in partial shade with this patch of Hubricht's Amsonia (A. hubrichtii) several years ago. Every year it seems a little happier in its home. As you can see, it's surrounded by Hostas and caged to prevent rabbit damage.

metal art 1

metal art 3

metal art 2

I ordered several garden ornaments from Etsy, and they're adding little touches of whimsy around the garden.

wild senna

The Wild Senna (S. hebecarpa) is budding and beginning to bloom as I write this. It's one of only a few plantings in the middle garden bed that has survived rabbit damage and thrived for several years now.

pollinator garden

The small sunny garden almost always performs well, with sun and supports and fencing from rabbits.

mailbox gold rush

I added a few plants around the mailbox last year, and they're starting to show their personalities. This sweet little plant, Rudbeckia 'American Gold Rush,' was chewed in half by the rabbits but has recovered. I've repeatedly sprinkled rabbit repellent dust around it, and the lack of rain has kept the repellent in place. I've also since planted Daffodils and Alliums around it, which should help repel the rabbits in spring and summer. Fingers crossed.

mailbox coneflowers

Fortunately, the rabbits didn't get to the adjacent Echinacea 'Sombrero Baja Burgundy' plant. The color of this one is bright and varies with the angle of the sun. This morning, just before posting this, I noticed several bumblebees enjoying its nectar and pollen.

climbing wild rose

I'm very excited about this new native Climbing Rose (Rosa setigera), also protected from rabbits with caging. I've had many plants in this spot over the years, usually annuals, so hopefully this beauty will take up residence, thrive, and bloom for years to come.   


I've read that blooming Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a cue to hummingbird males to begin migrating. It seems early this year, and our little resident male hummingbird is still very active and keeping us entertained, along with some females (and presumably we'll see some juveniles  after they fledge).

hosta and lycoris

The Surprise Lilies (Lycoris squamigera) are emerging, and likely will be blooming in a few days...believe it or not, they grow inches every day, to a height of 12-24 inches total, and bloom just days after they emerge!

butterflyweed new

I've planted various milkweeds around the garden for many years, and I'm happy to see several new Butterflyweeds (Asclepias tuberosa) are thriving, blooming, and attracting pollinators. I haven't found monarch eggs on these particular plants, but there are plenty in other parts of the garden.

The garden conditions and results are mixed this year. Since more rain is on the way, I look forward to many more weeks of "likes" and garden smiles in the weeks to come.

August 01, 2021

Wordless Prairie in Midsummer

prairie midsummer
July 22: prairie midsummer
[Click on images to enlarge for detail.]

prairie late spring
May 31: 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