What's blooming? It's more like what's buzzing, and fluttering for this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in August 2104!
It's no secret that The Garden Buzz is all about a lively garden. I've always believed a garden isn't really alive unless there are lots of creatures about. Everyone is concerned about pollinators and people are just now coming to realize, what gardeners have known all along, how important a role they play in our gardens and lives.
While I'm at it, I'd love to invite you to join me at #pollin8rchat. It's a Twitter Chat where we bring together people, plants and pollinators. If you're not on Twitter please consider it, it's lots of fun and a fountain of knowledge and knowledgeable people. Join #pollin8rchat to learn lots about how you can attract and support pollinators. Email me if you have questions about how to participate.
Meanwhile enjoy the blooms and the busy bees and butterflies!
I saw the saddest veggie garden today. My heart went out to it. I know its gardener meant well, but the good intentions were lost on this garden.
It looked more like a prison for plants than a place to grow food. I'm sure the heavy coat of landscape fabric was meant to control weeds, perhaps warm the soil. Instead the plants stuck stiffly out of the holes, properly spaced but awkward and fruitless. It was almost like each veggie plant was being forced to wear a scratchy turtleneck in the hot summer heat. That fabric may be permeable but those plants looked thirsty too. And those bricks, they had a threatening air about them.
I couldn't help but think about how happy the veggies looked back home in my garden. My veggies are planted a little close, so much that they hug each other. There is co-mingling. Errant bean tendrils twist 'round zinnia stems. Limbs loaded with tomatoes spill over the edges. Cucumber vines furnish ramps for ants to ascend. There are lots of bees, bugs and other lively creatures acting out the circle of life, pollinating the blooms and keeping any damage in check. There's color too.
When I saw that sad little veggie garden I wanted to throw back the black hood that was holding it back, let the soil soak up the rain. But I didn't. Instead I went home and picked beans from tangled towers and pulled up crowded carrots while the humming of bees lingered on the breeze, grateful for my harvest.
So, almost a year ago to the day, I veered off the path of a corporate spouses outing to see The High Line in NYC. Designed by famed Dutch landscape artist Piet Oudolf, the High Line is urban/public gardening at its best, taking an abandoned elevated railway and turning it into a shining example of repurposing, native plantings and social promenade.
If you read last year's account, you know that no sooner had I stepped onto the first landing, than I had tripped and fell flat on my my back hitting my head. This visit has gone much better.
I'm back here in NYC helping my daughter settle in as she undertakes a fall internship at Martha Stewart Living Ominimedia, specifically working for their Everyday Food publication. Until she moves into her place in Brooklyn, we are staying in Chelsea just a literal stone's throw from The High Line.
It's interesting that there now stands in the crevice where I caught my foot, a statue of a man about 18 inches tall. I wonder if he has been placed there to alert people to the hazard? If only he had been there last year, I would have been saved the two subsequent MRIs and numerous strange symptoms that could be related to the fall. Oh well.
Here's a quick tour of what I've found so far.
WATCH YOUR STEP!!!
Doesn't it seem like you just took down the Christmas lights? And here it is National Pollinator Week already!
How do you plan to celebrate? What you say, you think the true meaning of Pollinator Week has been lost amid all the commercialism and marketing? And you go round and round the mall but just can't find the right gift for your favorite pollinator?
I suggest you take a quiet moment and remind yourself that every third bite of food you eat is there because of pollinators. Those beautiful wildflowers along the roadside, ditto. The list goes on.
You don't have to spend a bundle at the garden center buying shiny new flowers for pollinators. You can do a few simple things at home and garden...
Leave small piles of sticks and hollow stems from garden cleanup for nesting locations.
Dig small areas for puddles and leave some bare ground for nesting as well. These muddy places also contain needed salts and minerals.
Refrain from using harmful garden chemicals. When necessary, choose to spray when insects are not out foraging.
Consider evergreens, they protect many insects and birds from harsh weather.
If you're a softy for such important holidays and decide to budget bigger for National Pollinator Week, native plants are best adapted for pollinating insects and birds. Otherwise check plant tags for bee, butterfly and bird-friendly blooms.
And no holiday is complete without dessert. Treat your self to a piece of blueberry pie or lemon cake, but just remember a pollinator made it possible.
For more information on National Pollinator Week, click here.
This Bloom Day caught me by surprise! It's a chilly, breezy autumn day in Minnesota, feeling normal after a year of unseasonal, atypical (but, hey, what's typical anymore?) weather.
A quick and cold tour of the garden finds dribs and drabs of color and hangers-on sputtering out a final attempt at carrying on the species.
Time to put our kayaks away. Long shadows and golden light. The Garden Buzz
A lone delphinium defies the windy weather The Garden Buzz
Always a melancholy mood in the garden this time of year.
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for the one and only original Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!
Still wit gathering, but you can get a bit of the 'Buzz' over at Herb Companion magazine. I've just added this beautiful herb with the unfortunate name to my herbal wish list. Click and read all about it.
I'm always stumped when asked to name a favorite flower. It's usually whatever is blooming at the moment. Of course, it's kind of like being asked to name a favorite child. And just for the record, I love both of mine equally for their equally different charms.
However this year, my choice is simple. The Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia, wins hands down, for ease, color, form, foliage and wildlife value. This bright beauty is a member of the daisy family, but it's more bodacious, with flaming orange flowers and striking green foliage. Depending upon your height preference there are three varieties from which to choose; "Torch", the tallest at 4-5 feet, "Sundance" at 3-4 and finally "Fiesta del Sol" at 2-3 feet. There's even a yellow Torch available now.
Tithonia is an annual flower that's easy to start from seed, growing best in full sun. It makes a great cut flower or container specimen as well.
Beyond it's dramatic beauty and statuesque shape, the greatest thing about Tithonia is what it brings to the garden...butterflies, bees and hummingbirds! Not many flowers draw all three in such numbers. And don't forget the goldfinches that perch on its sturdy branches to munch on the attractive seedheads.
Plant Tithonia and I guarantee you will have a garden buzzing with lively visitors.
Welcoming wildlife into your garden is so rewarding, you might want to check out my latest Star Tribune article, Planting for Pollinators, for more tips toward making a wildlife haven.
I'm going to go off the garden path this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and do it a little differently. Usually I'm guilty of the same game the garden catalogs play, lots of colorful closeups and no full length views of the subject at hand. It's tempting to go in tight for the beauty shot. Maybe get out the macro.
I thought you might appreciate it a little less edited this time. I won't show all the warts and weeds, but you'll get a better idea of this garden I'm trying to make my own out here in the water, woods and wetlands.
Pee Gee Hydrangea blooming with courtyard beds in the background
Swallowtail on lily
Warm sunset colors
Out front, the blank canvas where my pine trees stood before a violent windstorm felled them. Check out my funky new stone wall. I'm studying the spot while I wait for it to "speak" to me and tell me what to plant. Any ideas?
Uncommon annual, Cerinthe with blue-green foliage and dangling blue-purple buds
(Note the large mosquitos on wall above the container, it is Minnesota after all)
And finally, the blooms of Persicaria "Firetail", Joe-Pye Weed and Rudbeckia planted just outside my son's bedroom so that he might glance up from his laptop and perhaps see a hummingbird or butterfly. What a nice mama he has.
Whoosh! That's me shifting gears right now for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. From foliage to flowers, that is. I just spent the morning interviewing a talented landscape consultant and scouting photos in her incredibly clever garden. Rather than relying on bursts of bloom to carry her design through the season, she employs a wide variety of foliage from perennials, grasses, shrubs and even veggies that exert a steady and beautiful influence on her yard.
But back to blooms.
Bouncing between heat waves and thunderstorms, my garden is both suffering and thriving. Here's a smattering of what's happening...