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…