Posts Tagged ‘colchicums’

It is a fine fall day at The Havens.   After I hung out a couple of loads of laundry, I was out watering the vegetable garden and noticed that the last three beds that I planted with cover crop are finally sprouting.  I am happy they have germinated before it got too cool for the seeds.   The first beds are well on their way, about four inches tall now.

In the old salad bed, I couldn’t bring myself to remove the greens I planted in July, which are just now really getting beautiful.   The endive is really pretty right now.  It forced me to go in and get the camera.


On the way out to the vegetable garden, I stopped by the herb garden where a waterlily colchicum has just gotten prime.   It is surrounded by my sage, which managed to survive the heat of the summer.


Over on the other side of the yard at the edge of the Petite Prairie another fall bulb has made an appearance.  I was surprised to see it here since I totally forgot that I planted it there…  I really MUST start making notes about what I plant where.   Anyway, this is a saffron crocus, and I think it is spectacular.


Just a few feet away from the saffron crocus surprise is another very busy spot, the aster field is blooming.


Behind it you can see a crepe myrtle and a kerria, which are both enjoying the cool weather.   If you focus in on the aster, however, you find that it is literally swarming with little bumblebees, who are after the pollen.   Last year I did a little research and discovered that these small bumblebees are the females, so I imagine they are collecting pollen to store with their eggs so the larvae will have something to eat when they hatch.

They are really very very busy, and wish I would not point the camera at them.  I guess the Duchess Kate can relate…


Well, while I was writing this, the next load of laundry finished, so I guess I’ll get busy and hang it up.

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It seems that the desert heat of July and August are over.   We got quite a bit of rain in September, not enough to make us even for the year, but enough to make everything much much happier.   Especially me, when I get my water bill for September!

However, rain means grass, which means mowing.   Jim has been keeping up on that chore; in fact he is out there doing that thing right this very minute.    Now, I have lots of clients who have lots of things to say about how their husbands mow off their shrubs, etc.   One of them got to the point where she would plant an 8 inch piece of rebar with each plant she did not wish to have mowed off.   After her husband injured his lawn mower trying to mow off the rebar, he stopped being so callous towards her shrubbery.  I certainly do not have that problem.   This is how the lawn looks after Jim has mowed around the wild flowers and grama grass I am hoping to collect seeds from.

This sort of piecemeal mowing job gives the Compliance Officer heartburn, but we are generally such good citizens that they don’t cite us for our tall weeds.   I can hardly wait until I start the front prairie garden installation.  I’m sure to have several amusing conversations with our local constabulary regarding the height of my weeds flowers.   Doing a front yard no-mow garden often involves educating the local politicians.   I’m practicing my non-confrontational polite tone of voice now in anticipation of needing it later.

Anyway, the grama grass has a friend.   This crab spider has been in the same place for several days now.

This is my curbside Mexican hat  (Ratibida columnifera).   I have a lot of it in the prairie too.

Aside from the fanciful name, I love this flower.   It is a perennial that reseeds itself freely, and yet is not terribly invasive.   It also was one of the few things that continued blooming throughout the harsh conditions we had this summer.

Up in the front entry garden, the colchicums are drawing to a close.   I moved the sternbergia around last year because I wasn’t happy with its location behind the peony, where I couldn’t see it unless I walked out onto the lawn. This is why I love bulbs.  You buy six and after a while you have a lot more.   Anyway, these are doing quite nicely in their new locations.

I have a minature rose by the front door step.   Miniatures seem to be the only ones I can keep alive for any appreciable period of time.   Please don’t freak out at the following picture.  Remember the rose is only one inch in diameter, and you are not even seeing the whole rose.   This little occupant is probably why the rose isn’t full of holes.

Out in the labyrinth, I planted a few bulbs by the central rock.   In the spring there are crocuses and chionodoxa.   Now there are colchicums.   I think I may put a sternbergia out there.

I put in a few hours in the last couple of weeks putting the vegetable garden to bed; at least as “to bed” as I ever get it put, I suppose.   Needless to say, there were a few things that I couldn’t pull out because they were doing so well; like the salad green patch, the chard, the beets, the zucchini squash.   There are also butternut squashes that are still ripening.  In spite of that, I planted all the beds with a winter cover crop.   The first stands are well up, as you can see in this shot.

In the foreground are the leeks, which will stay in the ground all winter.  We pull them as needed.   The far background is the asparagus patch, which I have not cut back because it is busy being the lady bug nursery and pupating ground.   On the right in the background you can see the zucchini plants.

They are not done.

All that gorgeous mulch came out of the compost pile I made last fall from the leaves we mowed up around the place.  That condensed down from a pile three feet deep to one about 9 inches deep.   On top, it doesn’t look like much, but when you take off the top half inch, what is underneath is pure black gold.

Every bed in the vegetable garden has gotten its layer of this grand stuff.   The rest is going onto the hostas and out in front.   Just as soon as I finish this post, actually.

Moving along, we have drifts of wild flowers around the pond and all over the root cellar mound.  There are white asters like snow banks, and clouds of goldenrod and New England asters.   The pollinators are loving this.


The stroll garden is looking quite special right now.

There are all sorts of things blooming in there:  red annual sage, two colors of hummingbird mint  (agastache), a few late canna lilies, little white asters, mexican hat, goldenrod and some other things that aren’t in the shot.

One of the ones that isn’t in the shot that I am quite fond of is a plant I acquired at the Missouri Prairie Foundation plant sale last year.   It didn’t do a darn thing last year except not die, but this year it went to town.   It started blooming in July and hasn’t quit.   It’s common name is Texas Green Eyes, a perfect name for this little beauty.   Sceintifical appellation:   Beriandiera texana.

There is so much more going on out there, but I really must get to work and finish spreading that mulch.   Because very soon there are going to be leaves to pick up and put in a compost pile, and I need that space…

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While out in the Conservation area where I was walking Ruby, I was looking for the leaf I got a shot of the other day.   Of course, I have no idea exactly where it is any longer, but I found another one just as interesting.

So, while I was messing around with it trying to get a really magical shot, I became enamored of the way it looked against the sky.   I also noticed that I could look at the half moon through it.   Too bad the camera can’t do the same thing my eye and brain do, but I got a sort of cool shot anyway.

Last night we got our tickets for the cruise we are taking in November.   This is a repositioning cruise from a port on the Mediterranean Sea, through the Straights of Gibraltar and across the Atlantic to Florida.   We make only one port of call at Funchal, Madeira.    We are absolutely excited now, somehow actually having the tickets in hand makes it all more real.   Jim’s leave papers have been signed, and we have paid for all of the vacation except for the sea food we intend to enjoy in the port city where we embark.

So, last night we went out to dinner to celebrate the fact that we got our cruise tickets and have a whole entire weekend with the house to ourselves (the niece has flown off to CA for a family reunion and her grandmama’s 80th birthday).   We got home at a decent hour, and retired to enjoy a good full night’s rest, only to have the telephone ring about two hours later, which disturbed our sleep patterns badly enough that neither one of us really got back to sleep for any extended period of time before the alarm clock went off at it’s usual time:  the ungodly hour of 3:15 a.m.   Apparently the existence of time zones is something that has escaped the notice of the caller.

Hopefully, Jim won’t be so exhausted after his eight hour day that he falls asleep at the wheel of the car on his way home.  That would just ruin my week, which hasn’t been that great anyway.


Falling asleep at the wheel has been a theme around the Havens for the last few days.   My father did it early in the week, crashed his car into a tree which flattened the tree and totaled his car but thankfully, due to the use of seat belts and the proper deployment of his airbag, he was uninjured.   The uninjured state only lasted for a day or so; he tripped while on his way into his house and fell into the rock retaining wall by the door, sustaining major bruising.   Not a day later, he seemed to be having a lot of difficulty catching his breath, and my sister (Thank heavens) was able to convince him to seek immediate medical attention.   The emergency room ascertained that he was suffering from pneumonia and immediately incarcerated admitted him to the hospital.

During the triage and x-ray procedure, the  medicos discovered that during his fall onto the rocks, he managed to break one of his floating ribs.  Fortunately, it did not wend its way inward and puncture his lung.

Mother is wondering if his lack of appetite, unsteadiness and proclivity for dozing off at inopportune moments might have had something to do with the pneumonia.  He, of course, is positive that he has only had pneumonia for a couple of days.  Yeah sure, you betcha.


Tomorrow is the memorial service for Jay Cahail, the gentleman who died down in Costa Rica earlier this month.  That should be — interesting.


I was heartily amused by a couple of things Mallory did yesterday.   She inserted herself between the glass and screen of the living room window in an attempt to catch a fly that was back there.   Carefully obeying the rules, she did not climb the screen, but merely stretched herself out along the window sash as she attempted to reach the insect. That is a very lean and long cat.

Then later on, when I was taking a nice soak before bedtime, she was appalled and fascinated by the fact that I was actually submerged in the water.   The horror was so compelling she could not tear herself away, but watched me for the entire bath.  When I let the water out of the tub and it went DOWN THE DRAIN, Well!!   I could see her little cat brain spinning madly in astonishment.  People are So Very Weird.


I am trying to figure out why they call this grass bluestem.

I shall leave you with a few architectural shots of the water lily colchicums in the herb garden.

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There are a few things going on in the fall garden.

The colchicums are still blooming in various places.   This one is a waterlily form that lives in the Hosta Dell.

The wild aster I planted that is trying to take over the whole rain garden is blooming in a frenzy right now.   The sulfur butterflies like it a lot, as do the honey bees, and numerous types of skipper butterflies.  In this shot, a sulfur is posing.

In the same vicinity I have a hen and chicks plant that decided to bloom this year.

Like bromeliads, the plant that blooms then dies.   You always hope they have several “pups” to continue the grouping, and this one certainly does.

Last, but not least,  the sternbergia are finally blooming.   I just love the bright yellow of this plant, it adds a nice note to the fall garden.

There is quite a nice group of these guys coming along, perhaps in a few days I can show you a drift of them.

The fall blooming crocuses have put their noses up.   I don’t expect them to bloom until the weather gets a bit cooler.

Now, I really must get out there and do some weeding.  The extended length of time I was gone allowed the weeds to get WAY ahead of me.

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I posted about the bees that moved into the flicker nest box a few times.

Well, I was wrong last June, they did not swarm.   At least not that we noticed.   But this hive of honeybees has prospered over the summer.

They have found plenty to forage on, apparently, and they are still finding plenty.   They seem to like colchicums.

They are also quite fond of sedums.

Tangible evidence that they are doing so well that they are outgrowing the space that the flicker box provides showed up recently.

I think we will have to invest in some actual hive boxes and supers this winter, because I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts they will be swarming next spring.

We are so excited that we have such happy pollinators on the place.   And they were volunteers.

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