Friday, September 5, 2014

Ironweed, Sheffield Pink Mum, Late Blooming Daylilies

I am still amazed by the quality of pictures I can take with my iPhone.  Sitting on my deck, I noticed this butterfly making a meal of the ironweed in the Long Border.  As much as I can creep up on anything these days, which is not so much; I was still able to take these nice shots of this nice butterfly.

Ironweed blooms for just 2-3 weeks for me here in central Wisconsin.  The pollinators love it, but because of its short bloom time and tall lanky growth habit, it will never be more than a back of the border filler for me.

This chrysanthemum is about 2 feet wide and tall and I've let it fill a 4 foot space.  It shows up much pinker in the garden.  Pink is something I struggle to find this time of year (unless I buy a fall potted mum).  It was a pass-along plant, given to me with the name Sheffield pink mum.  I has a bit looser habit both in growth and flower form then the mum I see sold with that name.  This is one of the dangers of pass-alongs.  It blooms 4-6 weeks and has nice, darker green foliage on which I have never seen any mildew.  It has not flopped with our heavy, late summer rains, so it holds an important front of the border role covering potential dirty knees of asters.  

Until the gift of "Happy Days Are Here Again" daylily  from its breeder, Darrel Apps, this 'Joan Senior' was probably the longest blooming daylily in my garden.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Yes, I Have the Biggest Sunflower in My Village

Not really sure why I have the biggest sunflower, but there you go.  It'll be like chopping down an oak tree next spring!  It's easily 12 feet tall.

Right now, the bees as HAP-PY!

Soon the birds will be, too.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rain Gauges

Lady's mantle, nature's rain gauge?

I can feel the season shift when the late summer rains begin.  Not just a dusting, or enough to settle the dust, but rain for hours, that even our sandy soils here in central Wisconsin cannot drain away.  Pools form in low spots around poorly graded garages, in the dips and the hollows.

My mother has a rain gauge, which she fairly regularly empties.  She tells me we had 3/4" of an inch a couple days ago, but she didn't empty it and then last night's rain brought it up to 2 1/2".  Why wouldn't she have emptied it when she checked it before?  Suffice to say we got some rain.

Luckily, given my electric plug-in lawn mower (which I really like, except for the cord!), I finished mowing the back lawn on Thursday.  It was a new personal best since my injury, just under an hour.  That is down from over an hour and a half.  I did mention I have a tiny amount of lawn out back? It is measurable progress; I'll take it!

My typical rain gauge is a pot, can, pail, etc. left outdoors.

You can get all cutesy...

...or so high tech, your rain gauge looks like something NASA would use on Mars.

But there are a lot of subtle ways to tell how much rain you received.  Those are the tools of the observant gardener, but don't give you any bragging rights.

So do you use a rain gauge?  Is it decorative, scientific, or does it simply get the job done?