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.

 

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.

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.

 

Goji

10282018 goji
October 28, 2018

As in summer of 2017, this was a good year for gojis. I’ve noticed that the plants can be trained into a hedge. They spread by roots just below the surface – baby plants seem to emerge a few feet from the mother plant. The plants had red berries until the December snow.

These fresh berries do not have the same taste as the ones at the store (not as sweet). I air dried them to extend their useful life, and they had a drier (as opposed to chewy, raisin-like) texture. I’ll need to do research and/or continue experimenting next year.

08192018 insect goji 2
August 19, 2018
08192018 insect goji 3
August 19, 2018
08192018 insect goji
August 19, 2018

 

 

May flats

That is to say, flats that I started a while back, and how they look now, in May.

 

 

05212018 may flats
Tomatoes. I’m trying a couple of different varieties: Abraham Lincoln, Eva Purple Ball, and Green Zebra Stripe. I’ve also started some German Johnsons, but I may not ever plant them. Sadly, I did not start any Cherokee Purples.

 

05212018 may flats 2
Some I’m experimenting with. Clockwise from top left: natives not yet germinated; nasturtium + partridge pea; thermopsis/baptisia + amorpha + partridge pea; partridge pea; natives not yet germinated; baptisia/thermopsis; marigold + Jewels of Opar; Matchbox pepper (from seed I saved + Eritrean basil + Jewels of Opar. 

Garden roll call

Redbud, Cercis canadensis, in flower. Photo taken April 3. Previous post – redbud in bud, around March 22.

04032018 redbud

April 14. Goji berry (Lycium barbarum, Gou qi zi 枸杞). I’m experimenting to see how much fruit all of this new growth will produce. Also, I’ve heard anecdotally that the dried goji berries at the store are treated with a colorant to give them a redder hue. I will investigate this further.

04152018 goji

April 14. Jewels of opar (Talinum paniculatum). They survived the winter!!

04222018 jewels of opar

April 22. Heuchera spp. Enjoys the shade of the elderberry.

04222018 heuchera

April 22. A bit washed out due to the overcast sky, I suppose. A nice perennial polyculture, front, from left: figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), comfrey in flower (Symphytum spp.), back: Carolina lupine/Blue Ridge buck bean (Thermopsis villosa).

04222018 polyculture

Canadian milk vetch

Astragalus canadensis, a legume native to many counties in Western NC (including Rockingham County).

I was weeding, and pulled up a big clump of grass, which revealed the below-ground structure of the astragalus. I guess this could be called a stolon? Or maybe an underground runner? I’ve read that legumes do not respond well to division, but I’m tempted to clip off one of the “suckers” from the “stolon” to propagate the plant.

 

03292018 astragalus canadensis.jpg