Backyard blooms, berries and beyond

Backyard blooms, berries and beyond

Following on in the “B” theme, look in this blog post for a bull frog, blue damselfly and Indiana dunes beach….

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The butterfly weed is in bloom.  We are waiting for the monarch butterflies to visit…

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Veronica spicata Spike speedwell ‘Royal Candles’ a little bit past its prime.  Red hot poker flowers in the background.

IMG_8523Kniphofia red hot pokers in front of miscanthus ‘morning light’ ornamental grass.

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The view from the patio.

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Aruncus goat’s beard does well on the north side of the house.

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The first gaillardia blooms.

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Bright yellow yarrow, and in the background salvia ‘blue hill.’

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The alyssum re-seeds itself each year and is starting to bloom now.

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Does cauliflower count as a flower?  I cooked this up in a soup today!

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The collards are looking nice and we are trying to keep up with eating them before the cabbage worms do their munching.  This plant does not look too chewed on.

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We haven’t had to buy lettuce for a few weeks.  This leaf lettuce is nice, but the romaine is starting to bolt with the hot weather.

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In a bowl this morning from our yard – serviceberries, strawberries, mulberries and raspberries.  I enjoyed them with my oatmeal.

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Ripening serviceberry.  I am competing with the birds for these now.  The robins are often in the serviceberry tree.

IMG_8530Unfortunately this berry loving cedar waxwing died after crashing into our kitchen window!  I saw a big serviceberry in its mouth before it died.

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A downy woodpecker has been visiting the birdbath.

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There seem to be a lot of wasps in the yard this year.

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Blue damselfly on miscanthus ornamental grass.

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We visited Indiana Dunes State Park last weekend.  We hiked for a couple of hours in the dunes before enjoying our lunch with the crowd on the beach.

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A little cactus along the prairie trail.  This state park has quite a few endangered species.

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Tomahawk Slough in the Palos Forest Preserve, where we hiked last Sunday.

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One of many bullfrogs at Tomahawk Slough.

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There were also a ton of little toads or frogs hoping around near the water and on the trail.  I guess it is time for them to head out on their own and see if they survive.

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Great blue heron at Tomahawk Slough.

Birding:  I signed up for a birding blitz in the Palos Forest Preserve for June 17th.  I am just an amateur birder, so I was looking forward to going out with someone who could identify a ton of birds.  I showed up in the parking lot at 5:30 am and then remembered to check my email on my phone.  The blitz had been canceled for weather reasons, as thunderstorms were predicted.  I could hear all the birds around me, but the expert birders were not there.  We did not get any rain on Saturday as I guess the rain fell somewhere else.  But it was probably a good thing that I was not involved, as my foot has been giving me some trouble after all that hiking last weekend.  So it is a good weekend to just rest and recover and get this blog post done!

 

Berries and Goat’s Beard

Berries and Goat’s Beard

After a poor start on the strawberries, I got ahead of the birds and bugs by picking strawberries once or twice a day.  We ate out first raspberry on Friday.  We are working through the cool weather vegetables now, eating a lot of lettuce and kale, starting on the collards, and enjoying a few peas.

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I picked this small bowl of berries yesterday and ate them with a little vanilla ice cream.  Yummy!  It includes strawberries, raspberries, mulberries and service berries, also called June berries.

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We tied the raspberries canes to the fence and they are just getting started bearing fruit.  Once the raspberries are eaten we will cut back those canes and tie up this year’s new canes that will have raspberries next year.

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Aruncus dioicus Goat’s Beard.  Since we have moved the goat’s beard to this location it keeps getting bigger each year and I can enjoy it from my office window.

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Close up of the goat’s beard flowers which have been attracting a lot of pollinators, especially some really big bees.

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So far it looks like we have one red hot poker flower coming.  A month ago in Washington state I saw a lot of these blooming, so maybe that climate is better for them.  You can see one small blue petunia on the ground.  The rabbit nibbled down all the petunias when we first planted them.  We finally got rid of the rabbit, for now, so the flowers are getting going again.  Also in the picture are gaillardia, spike speedwell, ‘little bunny’ pennisetum fountain grass and Russian sage.

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Spike Speedwell Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles.’   These plants are on the decline in my garden, but I enjoy them for a little while each year.

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We have a little bit of leaf lettuce in the yard, but we are mostly eating romaine lettuce these days.  I love eating fresh lettuce in my daily salad.

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Curly kale.  We just made some bean and vegetable soup.

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Wild kale.  I bought the seeds for the wild kale from Seed Savers Exchange.  I don’t like the flavor of all the types of kale so I weeded out those and was left with the mild kale I like.  It is blooming now, since I planted it last fall, but I just keep taking off the flowers.

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Pea flower.  I think these are sugar peas.

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The pole beans are just starting to climb.  We should have flowers on those before long.  The compost pile in the back has shrunk way down.  It is probably soon ready to spread around the garden.

Memorial Day Garden Snapshot

With plenty of rain and heat the garden is growing quickly and a lot is in bloom.

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Baptisia australis – blue false indigo.

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The blue irises that started to bloom today are close in color to the blue indigo.  These fell down due to the heavy rains today.

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This dark red iris looks nice under our red/bronze crabapple tree.

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One of the ground covers by the patio is blooming and attracting pollinators.  It is probably some sort of sedum.

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In this mostly shady spot on the north side of the house the ajuga and hostas have been at their peak this week.

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Here is another shot from farther back of the ajuga, hostas, and the aruncus dioicus goat’s beard, which is getting ready for its white blooms soon.  Just beyond the goat’s beard and only slightly in the picture is the blue muffin viburnum.  The window is my office window, where I can look out and get a little distracted….

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The other day at least two baby robins fledged and one of them ended up outside my office window, making hungry noises.

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Over the next few days I watched the babies quietly “hiding” in various places around the yard.  This baby is in the blue muffin viburnum outside my office window.  A moment later the dad arrived to deliver a grub.  I believe father robins stick with the young robins for a few weeks feeding them and teaching them to hunt, while mother robins go off to incubate some more eggs.

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Also in the blue muffin viburnum dentatum was a ladybug, a beneficial insect.

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Lily of the valley.  I picked one to enjoy the fragrance.

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Geranium ‘Max Frei’ opening up to the morning sun.

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We noticed a lot of little plums getting started on the American plum trees for the first time!

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Chive flower.  I threw some chives in an edamame and avocado salad this week.

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Romaine lettuce.  The rabbit ate the spinach and swiss chard, but has not touched the lettuce yet….

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I think this is a chipping sparrow…

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Not sure what kind of birds these are, but they looked cute sitting on their oak branch as evening approached.

Mid-May Flowers, Birds, and a Salad

Welcome to my new blog!  I previously posted at pardonmygarden.wordpress.com.  Visit there if you want to know what happened in my garden between January 2010 and May 2014.

Here are a few things I took pictures of this week.

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Bulbs blooming in the garden.  I am not positive of the name, since I lost the package they came in.  They are so small I would miss them if I did not come close.

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Heuchera – plum pudding surrounded by fresh green leaves.  On the left are echinacea – cone flower leaves.  The grasses are korean feather reed grass – calamagrostis brachytricha.

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The lilacs have stayed looking good a long time this year.  In the background are common lilacs and they are the ones with the wonderful fragrance.  The darker lilacs are a french lilac called Charles Joly.

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There are so many beautiful leaves in the garden.  Here aruncus – goatsbeard – unfurls its leaves and flower stem.  The flowers will be white soon.

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Yesterday at sunrise I went to Lake Katherine.  I think this is a Great Egret, though I am not an expert.  The morning was cold and this bird seemed to be hunkered down, though looking for a meal, too.

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It looks like the great blue heron is building its nest here on this island in the lake.  Maybe this wooden support was put here for this purpose.

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Here is a shot with the egret and heron in the same picture.  I know that there is a white version of the great blue heron, but the great egret had black legs, so I concluded that it was the great egret.  Fun to see these birds in Florida and now here.

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The geese and goslings are less exotic, but fun to watch.

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I picked a variety of baby kale and lettuce from the garden and topped it with a pear, banana, strawberries and cashews.  I loved it!  The fruit was from the store, but I will have strawberries soon.