Frog pond

09152018 pond
September 15, 2018. Carpet pond. It was surrounded by boundless elderberries, and the shade they provided allowed frogs to breed all summer. We had tadpoles up through October!
10152018 frog
October 1, 2018. American bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus. I counted, at any given time, an average of 8 frogs sunning on the stones.
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Butterflies in August

…and one in October. Note all butterflies were spotted alighting on anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), which I shall hereafter refer to as the super-nectary.

08102018 black swallowtail
August 10, 2018. This is a garden standby. Sorry for the focus – difficult to see the blue spot on the bottom part of the wing. Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.
08122018 painted lady
August 12, 2018. American painted lady, Vanessa virginiensis.
08252018 black swallowtail unknown
August 25, 2018. Giant swallowtail, P. cresphontes. This was the first time I had seen this type in the garden. I thought it was a cross between the black and tiger swallowtails. I’m still not sure, because it appears to lack a horizontal stripe across the forewings. Its larva is known to feed on Japanese honeysuckle, which is rampant on the farm.
10072018 monarch
September 7, 2018. Monarch, Danaus plexippus. I saw two or three of these at any given time in the garden throughout the summer. Note the light blue chicory flower in the midground. This was also a valuable nectary and edible for humans.

 

Swamp Sunflower

10032018 swamp sunflower
October 3, 2018

Some points for consideration:

  • Even though I cut these back in mid-July to promote bushier growth, they still grew tall enough to flop over into the path;
  • The flowers died back in November, but, following the advice of a fellow blogger, I opted to be a messy gardener and leave them for the birds and other garden companions.

Canada Milk Vetch

Astragalus canadensis.This native plant was welcomed the first full year (2017) – it attracted insects, suppressed weeds due to its prostrate growth habit, and produced prolific biomass. The second year, its sprawling growth overtook many companions and it crept into the paths, and its growth was not as dense.

It is a beautiful, functional plant, and its garden niche will continue to evolve.

06082018 astragalus canadensis 1

06082018 astragalus canadensis 2

Previously:

 

Elderberry

The nine plants of Sambucus canadensis exceeded my wildest expectations. After two years, they outgrew their space in the garden this summer. My sense is that they can be as vigorous and prolific as bamboo, but more gentle and forgiving. They, along with the passion vine, turned the garden into a jungle.

07282018-elder-harvest.jpg
These were harvested on July 28, 2018. I lacked the organization to make a syrup for winter enjoyment.

The jungle, before culling begins.

08242018 elder JUNGLE 1
This and the following three photos taken on August 24, 2018. The majority of berries have been harvested at this point, though a few branches were still flowering.

08242018 elder jungle 00

08242018 elder JUNGLE 3

08242018 elder JUNGLE 4

Once the shrubs have been sufficiently topped, they must be dug up and transplanted to a more amenable situation.

09232018 elders WHEELBARROW
Resting in the shade awaiting their new home.
09122018 elder in pit
Being situated in their new location.
09172018 elders TRANSPLANTED
Hopefully they’ll be just as happy at the forest’s edge. The birds certainly will be.

Thermopsis, seed pods

Thermopsis villosa, aka Blue Ridge Buckbean, Carolina lupine, Aaron’s rod, Bush pea, and other names, all for virtually the same charismatic plant.

06012018 thermopsis seed pod
June 1, 2018.

Previous posts:

Three sisters

This was the second time we’ve experimented with a traditional three sisters companion plant garden. It was more substantial (60′ x 100′) than the first, and suffered less predation from deer and raccoons and skunks. Its productivity has kept me fed up to the present and beyond. The varieties planted: Ohio blue clarage dent corn, Seminole pumpkin, and Cherokee cornfield pole snap bean. I didn’t realize the blue clarage corn was blue and white instead of pure blue. I may switch to a bluer version, but I was highly impressed with the productivity of this variety.

07242018 3 sisters APPROACH
July 24, 2018. Approaching the cornfield.
07242018 3 sisters CORN BEANS
The beans growing up the corn.
07242018 3 sisters CORN SQUASH
The squash creeping beyond the corn patch.
07242018 3 sisters INITIAL HARVEST
One of the first harvests – July 24, 2018. There are other squash besides the Seminole. The Seminole was by far the most prolific.

07242018-3-sisters-blue-clarage.jpg

07242018 3 sisters chickens husks
The chickens don’t necessarily eat the corn husks, but it gives novelty to their routine.
09302018 3 sisters FINAL HARVEST
This was THE final harvest. September 30. All green squashes (with the exception of the flat bluish one in the center) are Seminole pumpkins. I could have easily harvested three times the amount of beans in that container.
10072018 3 sisters final
October 7, 2018. Cornfield no more.

Passiflora incarnata

The passion flower quickly turned the garden into a steamy tropical jungle. The leaves, when tender, and the flowers can be tinctured and can have medicinal properties.

08242018 passion FLOWER
October 24, 2018
08242018 passion FRUITS jungle
October 24, 2018 – Note the gojis growing below. The passion flower was indiscriminate in its choice of aerial support. I tried putting the pulp and seeds in my morning smoothie, but the seeds gave an unpleasant texture to the drink.

As fall advanced and the nights became chillier, the leaves lost their youthful blush but remained vigorous and productive. Below – the first and third photos show indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa) being overtaken by the vine. The middle photo is the sturdier redbud (Cercis canadensis), nonetheless appearing a bit smothered.

10142018 passion chill 2
October 14, 2018
10142018 passion chill 3
October 14, 2018
10142018 passion chill
October 14, 2018 – these indigo bushes cannot stand up to these weighty ramblers.

The vines were still surviving by late October. I finally pulled them all and fed them to the chickens in November.

10282018 passion
October 24, 2018. It was a rich, sunny day when this photo was taken.