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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Continuing Bloom Plus Critters, August 30, 2014

Today I an linking with-

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

These are my conspicuous, easily found moth caterpillars, Tiger caterpillars of the lovely delicate Cinnabar Moth, Tyria jacobaeae, which I see rarely flitting around the garden but have not succeeded in photographing, here is a great photo.  The Cinnabar moth has been imported from Europe to here and various parts of the world like Australia as a biological control for Tansy Ragwort, which can poison cattle.   Sometimes there is a population explosion and they will be quite thick on the plants, so that they totally defoliate them and are left hanging on blackened dead stalks, so I take them and find a fresh plant for them.  This year was not a very populous year for them, but I did find new plants for a few.  Tansy Ragwort gets tall and has bright yellow flowers for most of the summer, I allow them to grow for their sake, but remove the seed heads to keep them from spreading too much.  Later I noticed a tiny hostile visitor over the lower caterpillar's head.  They are so bright, relaxed, abundant, and conspicuous because they are poisonous-

In honor of Blue Monday, hue modified, clothifiy, cartoon, in Gimp

Some roses are reblooming, the golden Julia Child with myrrh fragrance-

A surprise, Vernonia verticilata started to bloom, I had grown it from seed last year and forgotten about it; it took me a while to figure out what it was, I hope it will develope into a clump-

A flower that has been blooming and wafting its sweet perfume all summer is Daphne 'Summer Ice', can you see the tiny skulking predator-

It is a nicely rounded and evergreen shrub, and blooms continually from spring to fall-

A star of the fall bloomers is Anemone japonica, for carefree growing adapted to our wet and dry season, and for dependable bloom from late summer through fall-

And Anemone tomentosa-

Another square from the quilt from the fair, I didn't make it-

A wonderful performer in my garden, a dark red seedless grape, Vanessa-


I hope you are experiencing the fruitfulness of late summer, we had a little rain last night so it has cooled down here delightfully.  What's fruiting in your garden?    -Hannah

or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.  I would like to visit your blogs and comment but can't do so if Google+ is the only option, I will comment here or could use an email link.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Continuing Bloom, August 23, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday, August 27, 2014, hosted by Gail, join other bloggers to see their wild and native flowers!  For my wildflowers scroll down to the middle portion of this post.

In addition, I am linking with-

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Mystical Magical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

A new flower blooming in my garden is the pink Persicaria (Polygonum) capitata, that I grew from seed.   I hope it will live through the winter.   The flower looks like an annual weed in my garden except the weed's flower is long instead of round.

Annual Persicaria weed-

Rozanne hardy geranium is amazing, growing into a very big plant and covered with blooms all summer, here with long-blooming ground cover rose Baby Blanket-

Wildflower Wednesday part of this post here-  As for wildflowers, a couple of native plants are blooming now, Monarda citriodora, which I grew from seed, and hope it will return next year, it seems to be listed as not very long-lived-

Another Wildflower-  Pearly Everlasting, which comes up by itself here, the flowers have a papery texture-

Surprise blooms on a new Vernonia fasciculata grown from seed and planted in 2013, and blooming for the first time, I hope it will do well.  It is with some post-bloom Liatris, and Yarrow-

Another surprise wildflower was this volunteer from out of the blue, now 7 feet tall, I guess an Oenothera, Evening Primrose-

I did find one of the adult Thistle Tortoise beetles on the same thistle plant the larvae were on last week.  These beetles are a biological control for the pesky thistles, isn't it cute?

One of my favorite butterflies, not for beauty but for friendliness, is a small Skipper, which has wings that remind me of jet fighter airplanes.   This one insisted on landing on my shoe, and peered at me over its antennae, kind of like over glasses, don't you love those big eyes-

And being something of a decorator in ambition, on my peach Dahlia, looking like a near match for color-

My peppermints are now blooming, they make great tea but also have a lot of appeal to the honeybees.   I usually have trouble with the plants flopping, but accidentally remedied this situation by putting an extra roll of welded wire fencing on the bed on its side to get it out of the way, the mint grew up through it, and Voila! no more flopping-

The problem with mint is that Crab spiders who prey on bees have been heavily infesting it with tiny baby spiders, but they have a gift for finding and climbing up on whatever flowers are in bloom.  The adults can kill bees, which for me makes them the bad guys, bees have enough problems, and are my friends.  Here on an Anemone japonica flower, predator and prey-

For a cheerier topic, one of my favorite vegetables, always on the grow list for its delightful buttery taste and texture, Crookneck squash.  Does it remind you of a mother penguin and her chick, aww-

This week I got my new cool season vegetable bed planted, last year it was lawn but we killed the grass (at the point the grass is laughing evilly, as its many stolons start to grow) with piles of leaves over winter and grass clippings this spring-

This week I had to clear the beds and mattock them to remove remaining grass roots and dig the rows, which I sprinkled with rough scratchy lava rock to hopefully repel moles and voles-

I planted seeds for cool crops- 4 kinds of Broccoli Raab, my favorite Round Black Spanish radishes, and mixed fall radishes, all from Gourmet Seeds, plus Collards and Giant Red Mustard.  I am actually a month past my cool season vegetable planting deadlines for getting the plants big enough to withstand frost, but can use some of my tunnels to keep them warm later.  Have you planted any vegetable crops for fall?

Another part of the quilt from the local fair for a dash of blue-

Summer is still hot and dry here, I'm trying to do a better job with watering, how is summer treating you?    -Hannah

                                                                  or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I like to visit and comment on your blogs, but I cannot comment if the only choice is google+, so I will comment here instead or on an email link.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What's Blooming Now: Plus Critter Adventures on the Verge August 16, 2014

Today I am linking with-

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by Carol

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Saturday Show Off hosted by Hakan

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Mystical Magical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

This week I'm trying to finish planting my cool season vegetables, I'm late since my deadline is supposed to be July 15 to get them planted in order that they will be big enough to withstand frost and make it through the winter.  But I'm trialing 4 varieties of Broccoli Raab this fall, which mature in 2-4 months and are not very hardy, so I hope to compare them. I also am planting some fall radishes, particularly the incredibly wonderful Round Black Spanish Radish, and a mix of fall radishes, all from Gourmet Seed, an Italian company.   I used part of a bed where Kale had been going to seed to plant them, only to find a few days later that a mole had come in and made numerous tunnels and mounds in my bed, nearly half of the bed, heaving seedlings out of the ground or burying them.

I retaliated with some repellant solution of a couple of tablespoons of Castor Oil per gallon water, with a squirt of dishwashing detergent and some Cayenne pepper for a little zing.   I will have to repeat since there is one mound recurring.   It works pretty well but is not a permanent solution.

I've also been trying to get the verges of my vegetable beds cleaned up for fall of excess grass, weeds, etc.; it is the strip too close to the deer/rabbit fence for the mower to reach, a lot of it had grass clippings piled up on it to keep down the weeds.

I started to find woolly bear cats (caterpillars) as I cut weeds and grass so had to go more carefully, apparently they particularly like verges.  Isabella tiger moth cat-

Orange woolly bear, possibly Virginia Tiger moth, Spilosoma virginica-

Yellow possibly also Virginia Tiger moth cat-

And last year when I was clearing my beds of spent radish stalks with seedpods, I threw some over the fence to deal with "tomorrow," resulting in a nice unplanned row of radishes, one the size of a softball-

I was pulling out some Canadian Thistle, a terrible weed very hard to eradicate, and found a couple of miniscule 1/8" / 3mm larval forms of a biological control, the Tortoise Thistle Beetle, Cassida rubiginosa, with spiny edges to repel predators-

Here is the cute adult beetle, which has an appearance reminescent of a tortoise, hence the name.  It is about 1/4"-

I admire the tiny larvae for trying to help me with the thistles, though they don't kill the plant or keep them from going to seed.  The smaller larvae have an 'adorable' habit of hiding under some dried "frass"-

Meanwhile for What's Blooming Now in the flower garden,  my Rose of Sharon, Minerva, is blooming for perhaps the first time-

A purple Gladiola-

A peachy Dahlia-

Pink and peach Dahlias-

Zephirine Drouhin                                                       Awakening
Dublin Bay                                                                  Cardoon

Part of a red table runner quilt from the fair-                                            Anemone japonica                                                   

A portion of the quilt I have been using for squares-

We had temperatures in the high 90's, ~37ºC for a few days but then had some thunderstorms
and cooler weather.   How is summer treating you?    -Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.    I enjoy reading your comments and like to return your visit, but I am unable to comment if restricted to google+, so will comment here instead, or can email you a comment if a link is provided.