Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Monarch Butterfly News

For the first time in many years, I saw a monarch buterfly. It came in my garden twice, but never stayed long enough for me to photograph.

Then a couple of days later, I found what I thought was a monarch caterpiller in my parsley. I carefully transported it on a leaf to the largest milkweed plant.

It was gone the next day. It turns out that it was a swallowtail caterpillar, they look similar to a monarch. I hope it made it back to the parsley.

On Sunday the monarch came back.

It settled onto the butterfly bush and I was able to take some pictures.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pollinator Plants

The big news of the year is that my milkweed plants multiplied and grew really tall.

They flowered briefly in the springtime, the blossoms smelled so good.

Now there are large milkweed pods. Yesterday I saw a monarch butterfly in the garden, she came twice. I hope she lays some eggs on the milkweed.

I had bergomot from seeds I planted last year. The bees were realy into its flowers, but they didn't last and I deadheaded them in the hopes that they will come back in the fall

I think this is prairie clover, also from last year's seeds. The flowers lasted a long time and the bees were very happy. They are finally dying out and I think the bees are hungry. It has been so hot, the flowers are suffering. Only the weeds are truly happy.

My bachelor buttons are all droopy like this. A lot of the seedlings died in the heat. But the survivors are still blooming even if the flowers sag.

This was when the sunflowers were strong and numerous.

They have also faded and the new flowers are much smaller.

The rudebekia in its prime.

My purple coneflower has decided to stay green, now the rudebekia flowers are coming back green as well. It has been really hard on the flowers. I have cosmos and zinnias coming up, but they are not flowering yet. I have to see if I can find a pot of lavender with full flowers to keep the bees happy until the other flowers recover.

For next season, I am hoping to start flowers in planters a little earlier in the season. This year I waited a little too long to see which seeds would come back from last season. I was misled by a very promising looking plant that turned out to be a weed and spread all over. I know it now and I will be fiercer next season. I am more familiar with the flower seedlings now.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

New season for Three Sisters

I decided to plant the three sisters on my own in a container so I could get a good idea of how the three plants grow together.

Plants at the end of June

They came up strong and quickly.

The beans had pretty purple flowers.

The squash grew blossoms. I had wrapped the bean tendrils around the corn plants, but they did not climb.

Plants on July 26
The corn has not been growing as much as last year. Maybe they are too crowded, maybe there is not enough light, maybe both. I should probably thin the corn stalks down to one. I hope to move the container to a spot with more light once we recycle the oversized grill which has expired. Meanwhile I gave the beans some stakes to climb.

The tallest corn has a very tiny tassel, but the squash blossoms look nice.

And I have beans growing. 

My wildflower seeding in the empty tree pits did not work out. It was so frustrating because I went out in th early spring, in the rain. It was so cold. But nothing came up, except for weeds. There was one little morning glory, but it didn't take. I did plant some seeds in the garden and the containers, so there is that. The gardening is not very guerilla this year, but I have seen other artists working with plants this year. At Socrates Sculpture Garden, Meg Webster has made an interactive planting called Concave Room For Bees. I am thinking of ways work with plants in a more controlled environment. Maybe guerilla gardening is easier in kinder cities, like Portland (either one), but New York is harsh on the random flower. I have renewed respect for those plantings the city does on the traffic dividers and triangles.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Garden, Scouting New Sites

In spite of the the last week of wild weather, my zinnias are still blooming.

They are a bit temperamental and do not like to be arranged when they have bent to the side.

The flowers have richer tones than the blooms from summer.

My tolerance of weeds has encouraged these tiny daisy-like flowers.

And this white flowered weed has sprung up behind my butterfly bush.

My purple coneflower's autumn blooms are green.

I have been collecting seeds from the garden. I realized the morning glory that springs up everywhere would be perfect for strange little spots like this patch of weeds at the base of the sign post.

While I was hunting for sites, I came across these massive weeds.

This beautiful truck drove past like an omen. I thought I had lost it in the traffic.

But I turned a corner and found it parked.

Friday, September 11, 2015

End of the Sisters

The lack of rain and brutal heat proved too much for the remaining sisters. I had been watering them, but I missed a crucial weekend and they wilted. A few dried out beans were swaying in the wind.

The squash had started to flower, but everything is dried up. Next season I will do a planting in the community garden on my block. One of the gardeners is going to work with me. I am also starting to look for street sites for a new round of pollinator seeds. 

I am scouting out places where the weeds are strong. I have read about planting wildflower seeds in the late fall. The winter cold is good for the seeds and they start earlier in the spring. Most of the problems I had with the pollinators were from the weeds taking over and then people would pull up the weeds, and my plants. I hope the seedlings can get established before the weeds and the weeders move in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Now Only Two Sisters

After a rainy day last week, I noticed that the three sisters were shorter. The corn stalk must have been uprooted in the storm.

The stalk in lying on the ground near the other two sisters. Luckily, it seems that Jose has added some supports for the bean plants. I wheatpasted a thankyou note to one of the posts

I hope he will see it! The squash plants are growing very well and are hiding the wood where I pasted the note. There are hints of yellow under the leaves where the squash flowers are blooming.

Friday, August 7, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Earlier this week, there was a storm in the middle of the night. I woke up while the wind was blowing, worried about my three sisters. Sister number one, corn, was falling over, unable to support her younger siblings. The storm could mean the end. I went out in the morning with some topsoil to shore her up. She was indeed fallen, and while I was working, one of the neighbors came over. His name is Jose. He and his wife wondered if the planting was intentional. We chatted about gardening and the sisters. He brought me a stake and hammered it into the ground to support the corn. It was so wonderful.

What is left on Thames Street

It was especially nice because, my pollenator seedings are suffering from serious setbacks. The most successful planting was uprooted by an overzealous weeder. My suspicions fall on the Reverend Fennel of the Mount Cavalry FBH Church. The spot was in front of his church and everything was ripped out. The weeds have since come back, but I do not have hopes for the flowers. And over on Thames street, the planting had also suffered a severe weeding. A few stray clover remain, one or two cosmos. Who knows, maybe in the fall, the cosmos plants will surge out in the cool weather they prefer.

Clearly, I have to plant the guerilla seeds earlier so they have time to take hold before these midseason weeders jump in. I do not see the point of ripping the plants out of a spot of soil in August, leaving nothing but soil. But there is a whole crowd of people who believe that weeds are noxious and must be contained. I suppose it is the same group who live in the suburbs and do not trust trees.