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jay6a

restoring native plants for wildlife

Jay 6a Chicago
7 months ago
last modified: yesterday

This blog is about growing native plants. We want to do away with traditional sterile monoculture lawns and non native plants that offer nothing to the insects and animals that once inhabited our properties. All our welcome to join the discussion and photo sharing.

Comments (709)

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    Your cat is really good looking. I didn’t have my own cat in years now, but the occasional visits from my daughter’s are enough. Somebody had a post in the butterfly forum about the lack of butterflies. Too bad this forum is so slow these days. I’ve learned a lot there, especially when Ms Sherry was around. The number of butterflies has picked up here, at least for some of them. I have some blue pea vines Javi gifted me, they have a bunch of little leaf pockets. And one of the cats was out and wandering around. Also found these being busy in my sicklepot patch :)




  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    That's rare to catch hummingbird moths mating. I have so many weeds, I'm going to weed all weekend. I should get finished. The morning glories are taking over.








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    As far as I know, there aren't many evergreen shrubs that are also host plants for butterflies. I've heard of people planting red bay (Persea borbonia) or swamp bay (P. palustris) which are evergreen and keeping them pruned to bush size, but they're only regularly used by palamedes swallowtails, which don't occur in north Alabama. Once in a blue moon I find a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar on mine, but it wouldn't be worth it for you. Spicebush swallowtails lay eggs just as freely on sassafras as they do spicebush, so you could plant some 'out back' for them. Sassafras doesn't need a shady swamp like spicebush. If I were you, I'd use one of the native viburnums for foundation planting, like V. acerifolium/maple leaf viburnum or V. dentatum/arrow wood. Maple leaf viburnum has some of the most beautiful leaves, plus azalea sphinx moths occasionally use viburnums as host plants. Bird just LOVE the berries! The best thing about the native viburnums is that they're so easy to grow, they can survive foundation soil, which is usually full of subsoil turned over by the builders and hard to repair. If your foundation area is real wet, you could plant the possumhaw viburnum, which is evergreen. The best wildlife plant out there is wild black cherry/Prunus serotina, but it makes a big tree. If you have a big enough yard, it would be well worth it to have several. It's host to both tiger swallowtails and red-spotted purples, plus many of the big moths, like cecropia moths, use it as a host plant, bees use the flowers, and birds love the fruit. In regard to butterflies, you probably should watch to see what butterflies occur in your area, look up their host plant/s, and plant them if you'd like to see more of them. Buttonbush is a real draw as a nectar plant for butterflies and MANY other insects, but, unless you have a consistently wet spot for it, it might not make it. I have about a dozen blueberry bushes which have gotten big, and they keep me and the birds eating blueberries from about the first week in June until August - I have different varieties that mature at different times. And they're SO easy to grow, no insecticides needed, just acid soil! There are many plants that make good nectar plants. I have a bottlebrush buckeye that butterflies just LOVE, but it only blooms once a year. You could plant some pentas, which butterflies like to nectar on and tersa sphinx moths like to use as a host plant. Of course, there's milkweed, the monarch host plant that all butterflies like to nectar on, zinnias, butterfly bush, and lantana, which can't be beat! A good butterfly book that includes host plants, and a good bird book would be a great buy! Sherry
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  • Skip1909
    21 days ago

    I'm still out taking pictures in the wild. Your plants are looking killer though! So much diversity!






  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    Nice plants Skip. I haven't seen any native lilies or Castilleja yet in the wild. I might go to the sand prairie next week. Is that a Solidago species?

    Oligoneuron rigidum

    Asclepias nivea finally after years searching for seeds.

    Allium cernuum

    Tridens flavus

    Senna hebbacarpa

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    20 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    Looks like you are having a good time, Skip.

    Jay, you really do have an awesome variety of great looking plants. Did you get to do your weeding? It was awfully hot here today, so I mostly dragged the water hose around. A nice gentleman came by to adopt 20 of my Pipevine swallowtail cats.Not making a dent in the numbers, but at least it’s something. My daughter found a rustic Sphinx caterpillar eating privet. Ha, I need a lot of them. The privets are popping up all over the place. Japanese beetles seem to finally taper off a bit, the June beetles are still going strong though. So are the mosquitoes.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    I wish I had pipevine Swallowtails. I've been weeding, but it's going to take longer than a weekend to get them all. We had a lot of rain yesterday. I looked up host plants for the rustic sphinx and Ligustrum wasn't listed among them. My friend was attacked by bees living in holes that were chewed and he's insisting that I pull out all the syriaca, because it attracts bees and wasps. I hate doing it, but he's spraying black flag in that area, and the milkweeds might be a death trap if they get insecticide on them. He won't listen to reason because he was attacked and stung numerous times. He provoked them by accidentally spraying the hose into their entrance hole. I wasn't able to post a comment last night because my pics wouldn't upload. I wonder if there are so few butterflies because of people using sprays and insecticide everywhere. They need to be banned, but nothing probably will be done about them until it gets so bad that crops aren't getting pollinated and by then it will be too late. My pics still won't upload.



  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    What kind of bees were these? Isn’t there a way to safely remove them without ripping out your plants? I noticed 3 paper wasp nests surrounding me while I was weeding today. They are everywhere. Given my reaction to their stings, I think I will move elsewhere. I did get stung by a bumble bee not long ago, but she somehow got in my pant leg, so I didn’t blame her. Still had a swollen/ itchy ankle for almost a week though. Saw a tiny monarch cat, an hour later it was gone. Probably also the wasps. Not sure why they leave the Pipevine ones alone. My thistles are almost 5 feet by now, taking their time to bloom. But at least it looks like they will this year.

    Hoping my pictures work to show the rustic cat happily on privet.




  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    19 days ago

    Well, the caterpillar picture didn’t work. Trying this again.


  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    19 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    They were little bees. There are more milkweeds in his back yard where he isn't spraying around, and no doubt the milkweed in front will push up new, fresh shoots, they always do. . He was stung 13 times, so he's not being reasonable. I had to leave because I said that the people in California should have controlled burns to clear the ground of tinder, and he thinks that I don't know what I'm talking about, yet I know probably hundreds of people that do controlled burns. I doubt any Monarchs will come around and lay eggs anyway. I've only seen one Monarch this year. My area is a dead zone for butterflies. That's a beautiful caterpillar. How strange that it's eating privet. They need millions of those moths in the south.


    An interesting Rattlesnake Master. It has this zig zag habit. Apparently 'Eryngium yuccifolium' is a complex, and will probably be split into a few new species. Clematis reticulata is being split into 6 new species by Dwayne Estes.

    Another dark Tiger.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    Wow. That’s a cool looking rattlesnake master. Would love to have one like this. I really hope your butterfly activity is going to pick up really soon. Most were late here in my yard, things are just starting to pick up. Still no black swallowtail though. I took 3 “emergency” wooly pipevines out today to repot them. I thought at least the egg laying is done. No such luck, I turned around and there she was.

    I hope the people getting milkweed like crazy now with the Monarch’s all over the news are also considering getting plants for other butterflies and moths. Then you have the ones getting bee hives to save the bees. Even though that’s not what save the bees is about. Oh well, we just keep planting :)




  • Skip1909
    18 days ago

    Wow very nice. I came home to a lot of dry crispy plants. There was a rainless heat wave last week with temps hanging around 100 degrees. It was 92 and cloudy today with a chance of severe thunderstorms, but they never came. Japanese beetles did a lot of damage and now there are spotted lantern flies showing up. I knew my yard was toast when I first heard about the the spotted lantern fly, they like maple, black walnut, and black locust which is like 60% of the mature trees I have. How am I supposed to see or reach high up into the trees to look for the egg masses in winter? My neighbor's tree dropped a ton of leaves (looks like fall) due to this heat wave, it's either his tulip tree or a hybrid poplar, both are mature tall trees over 50ft that I would not have expected to do that.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    Nice Whorled Milkweed Skip. I think mine disappeared. I had, what I thought was a Cleome serrulata, and just noticed today that the seed pods are sticking up so it's Polanisia dodecandra. I saw a Red Spotted Purple and a little blue butterfly in the garden today, and a Monarch was fluttering around yesterday.

    Hibiscus laevis

    Hibiscus laevis

    Lobelia siphilitica

    Ipomoea pandurata

    Asclepias nivea

    Scutellaria incana

    Allium cernuum

    Agastache scrophularifolia

    Silene regia

    Asclepias sullivantii

    Polanisia dodecandra

    Chamaecrista fasciculata

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    17 days ago

    Skip, I hope the rainless heatwave kept your weeds in check. My tulip trees are the first ones to get yellow leaves when there is a lack of rain. They already dropped some.

    Jay, your plants are looking very healthy. And it all looks so weed free in the pictures.

    Still really love my little orange orchid. Guess you could say it’s in full bloom now.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    Nice pics Iris. If your orchid makes seed, maybe we can trade orchid seeds. Your yard must put all the legs in the mood. I haven't seen any Silver Spotted Skippers yet. There's plenty of Apios leaves for them.












  • Skip1909
    17 days ago

    Wow, great pictures. I think my crispy plants (some of them) will recover when it rains again. The ones in the pots and trays might be toast but I watered them all very well, so maybe they'll pull through. The weeds did not care, crab grass and black locust sprouts galore. Some of the locust sprouts are like 2-1/2ft tall! The parent trees do that when they're stressed though, so those are probably a response to heat and drought. There are a lot of tree seedlings all over the yard right now, tons of walnut and ash. This might sound off, especially in a garden setting, but I think tree and shrub seedlings are probably an essential component of any plant community here. Really they are the dominant early successional plant cover type. Not grasses and forbs (for the most part).

    Iris, that orchid is awesome, what type is it?

    Jay your plants look so healthy!

    I think the combo of weather and pest trends really hit my plants hard. There was plentiful rain and cool temps early in the season which led to a lot of rank growth, then the plant bugs, leaf hoppers, weevils, beetles, and aphids started feasting and damaging plants. The sudden jump to 95-100 degrees with no rain for a whole week really hit the plants hard. The Virginia wild rye and wood oats are still green though. The Japanese stiltgrass actually looks really burnt too which is nice.

    Still one bright spot in the yard

    Phlox 'jeana', got this to try to show my wife she doesn't need a butterfly bush.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    It's been hot and dry here too, until a couple days ago. I tried to make sure I watered the pots every day, but I missed one day and a whole pot of Lobelia kalmii fried. I had another pot with 5 or six plants and I stuck them in the bog pots. I hope they take off and flower. Something or someone took 2 big leaves off my biggest amplexicaulis plant. They weren't on the ground. I don't think there are any Monarch cats around, and they would have eaten the more tender leaves higher up. I tried growing a cultivar of Phlox paniculata a few years ago and it got powdery mildew so bad that it lost all its leaves. I bought 1 Phlox pilosa this year and I'd like to grow a couple more other native ones.


    Elephantopus carolinianus, Ipomoea lacunosa, Grama Grass, Bouteloua? I've grown 2 species and don't know which is which?


    Brown Eyed Suzanne's, Rudbeckia triloba, I like the red stems


    Prairie Dropseed photo bombed by Apios


    Laportea canadensis and a volunteer Thalictrum


    Virginia Jumpseed. Persicaria/Antenoron virginiana.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Skip, I like your phlox. Hope some of your plants are recovering by now.

    Jay, you really have a lot of awesome plants. Wow.

    Let’s talk hackberries :) Does any of you have them around? I do like them, especially since the common snout is one of my favorite butterflies. The young volunteers, and the ones I cut down to the ground in Winter are still looking good. And that’s where the caterpillars are. But the big ones are really disgusting by now. Happens every year around this time. Covered with wooly aphids, sticky, and this black kind of stuff is covering everything under them. Can’t even wash it off with the hose. Lady bugs of all kinds and whatever is attracted to nasty stuff are loving it. I am glad most of these trees are out of the way, but one of them is hanging over my pet graveyard. Have to say it’s driving me nuts.



  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    16 days ago

    Another odd observation. Told you I was raising some Rosy Maple moth caterpillars, right? They all pupated within a few days of each other, but have emerged in an odd way. First one right after the two week mark, one a day for a few days after. Two weeks of nothing, then one came out, nothing for a week and so on. Got another one today. Obviously they just live for a week or so as adults. Do they emerge in this way as to not mate with siblings? Guess it’s something to look up. But this one certainly was pretty. And really fuzzy :)


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Wow. Nobody here. Hope you all are the good kind of busy. The heat is wearing on the plants and myself. Seems just very few of the Monarch caterpillars are making it to be so big. My wooly Pipevine is still crawling with caterpillars, I hope it will be enough. There isn’t a single leaf left on any of the white veined ones I have, but they still lay eggs.




  • Skip1909
    10 days ago

    Hey Iris, nice butterflies! The maple one is really cool. There are still no butterflies here. I've seen one monarch all summer. Plenty of beetles, leaf hoppers, Chinese mantises and spotted lantern flies.

    Plants are pretty much the same, ie toasted


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    10 days ago

    Skip, no rain to get your plants back in shape yet? Thunderstorms are fizzling out before they reach me here. So I have been watering. So much of the sicklepot senna. All kinds of sulphurs are laying eggs, but there are so many wasps picking up the little caterpillars. The swamp milkweed is still looking great.

    The poor thing in the cage front center is my deer eaten Texas star hibiscus.

    Jay 6a Chicago thanked Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Been busy trying to tend the jungle. I've seen a few Monarchs, and a Snout Butterfly. Not many insects and butterflies this year.

    Asclepias incarnata subsp pulchra looks nice and fresh in part shade.


    Front with more vollunteer Frostweed. It really gets around.


    Mix


    Sium sauve




    Anaphalis margaritacea


    Apios americana


    A mix, and my spotted Joe Pye Weed looks terrible again. I need a better Eutrochium


    Nabalus alba and Verbesina alternifolia will be blooming soin.


    I kept walking these to the ground, but they are determined to bloom, and I'll have a longer Senna hebbacarpa season.


    9 foot tall Agastache Scrophulariifolia


    Allium cernuum and associates


    Finally, a decent Agastache foeniculum


    Asclepias incarnata subsp pulchra


    1 lone Senna obtusifolia this year.

  • Skip1909
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Yeah! You got some awesome tall grass species going in there! Nice vibe. I love the plants along the walkway


    We got one rain the day I took the last picture I posted, and that refreshed things a little, but it's right back to over 90°F and sunny every day. The plants were too tender from the wet spring to deal with this heat.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    Did you lose any plants because of the heat Skip?

  • Skip1909
    9 days ago

    I might have lost Chelone glabra and Scutellaria integrifilia, but they might have a little green left near the soil I have to look closer. I had wintersowed Ionactis linariifolius and Carex sprengelii in pots on the deck, those fried when I was away for a week, that's a bummer.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    I'm not sure if any of my Ionactis came back this year. There is some type of aster near the spot where I had it, but I have to wait until it flowers to ID it. I only had 1 Solidago ptarmicoides and I don't think it came back. Its pretty much reached the point where there is no room left to add any more species.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Plants are looking great in your yard, Jay. Still baffled you can keep track on what you actually have. Now I really want your huge agastache. Still really hot, some things are looking very tired. My thistles are taking forever to bloom. Hornet got a swallowtail. I often wonder how they choose their prey. They always cruise around the mint, bumping into all kinds of critters without taking them. And then just bam.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    My thistles are taking an eternity to bloom also. The digger wasps are making holes in my sandy garden again. I missed them. I have a willow growing in one of my pots. I wonder how it got there. There aren't any Willows anywhere near my yard. It would be great if it was a native willow.


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Well, once again, I can just post one picture.


  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    I couldn't post any pics last night until later. A bunch of rain hit just south of me. I hope all my tall plants don't get knocked down by strong winds. It's about that time of year.

  • Skip1909
    9 days ago

    Poor butterfly...

    My pasture thistle is getting close to blooming, and my Agastache are about 6-7' tall and thats after I cut them back a month ago. They are looking ok, I should take a picture.

    Someone on my town Facebook group said they know people who have been releasing Chinese mantises to combat the spotted lantern fly (which is not a strategy recommended by anyone reputable), so I'm guessing thats where they're all coming from. We're at like epidemic levels of spotted lantern fly but Im hoping the population declines next year. That seems to be the trend, they come into new areas with a huge population and then decline the following years.

    I had a mystery plant that looked like that willow and it finally flowered a little and turned out to be a Ludwigia species. Willow seed isn't viable long after it disperses so that would be a real mystery how it got there.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Nobody has ID'd my willow yet. Releasing Chinese mantis sounds reckless. A 14 yo girl invented a trap for the SLF.

    https://youtu.be/yjOKIOOw1ZA

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    8 days ago

    I wonder if some kind of parasite (wasp, fly, fungus) that goes after native members of the same family would go after the lantern fly. That would take some time though. Hope to not find them in my yard any time soon. The caterpillars I had on my pussy willow and thought were Viceroy turned out to be red spotted purple. I don’t mind, just surprised. Looks like there are southern and northern ones. The northern ones actually do eat willow. I am still not entirely sure what kind of evening primroses I have, but they are everywhere. Some up to almost 6 feet. My Pipevine is looking terrible by now. Still crawling with caterpillars, not sure it will actually be enough.



  • Skip1909
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Ahh finally got a nice rain last night. I was cutting back some asters this morning that are absolutely taking over an area where I don't want them, and lo and behold, a turks cap lily is trying to flower.


  • Skip1909
    7 days ago

    The pollinator garden at the park is still looking good, they have a couple sprinklers on it for the hot dry periods




  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    5 days ago

    Glad they are having some sprinklers in the park garden. Would be sad to loose the plants after working so hard to get this done.

    Any idea what this plant is? Some sort of tick trefoil? It’s hard to find a “safe” place to pull weeds. The wasps are everywhere. I am trying to keep my distance, wouldn’t be so bad if I had the reaction my husband has to their stings. He just has something for a few hours, I have swelling for almost a week.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Skip, I'm so jealous that you have a blooming L. superbum, not really I'm happy for you. They have been a thorn in my side trying to get even 1 plant growing, which I don't have. I've seen that legume before Iris. It might be Lespedeza species. My Solidago ptarmicoides is big this year and covered with buds. The first flowers were opening today, but I didn't take a picture. Do you think your evening primrose could be Oenothera biennis Iris? I counted 4 sundews that grew in my bog pots. There were some 3 way sedges and a bog birch that must have come with the peat moss from Canada. I pulled them out, and the sedges have spreading rhyzomes, so I'll probably have to remove whatever grows back from the roots again. I thought I had Cardinal flowers coming up from seeds I scattered in them, but they were blue monkey flowers. It's funny because I was thinking about growing them again, but I never sowed Mimulus seeds, so they must have hitched a ride with the peat moss also. The wingstem is getting ready to bloom. It rained cats and dogs all day yesterday and into today. The temps should be around 80 which is a nice break from the hot, humid weather we've been having. My Asclepias engelmannii and stenophylla are hard to tell apart from some other plants with narrow leaves that I'm growing, but the Oleander aphids are on the milkweeds now which makes them much easier to see


    Drosera


    Mimulus ringens? That's 3 Way Sedge in front. I pulled them out.


    Morning glories on a glorious morning


    Helianthus occidentalis


    Dionaea muscipula


    Coreopsis tripteris with brown disk, with Rosinweed, Silphium integrifolium


    Polanisia dodecandra

    Compare your tick trefoil to Desmodium rotundifolium Iris? Round Leaf Tick Trefoil, Dollar Leaf


    Skip, I just read that Spotted Lantern Flies were spotted by lanterns in Iowa, so now they are coming at me from both directions. 🥺😢🤣

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    3 days ago

    Thanks Jay, I hope to see it bloom to see if it’s the desmodium. At least this would be a native one for a change. But from reading, it shouldn’t be so happy in the location it is in. I could use a good soaking. There are plenty of pop up storms around, but they always seem to miss my place. There is so much Bermuda grass creeping in from the edges of the flower beds. The lawn has a lot of what Seek says is Dallis grass. That stuff is knee high a couple of days after mowing. The deer missed a flower bud on my Texas Star hibiscus. Probably the first one in 3 years or so.


  • Skip1909
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Jay I think spotted lantern fly is going to be everyone's nuisance eventually, just like it's host plant tree of heaven. Hopefully they come into balance. The Polansia is really nice.

    Iris, beautiful Hibiscus.

    Rain is missing my place too, since last week. I drove through some insanely heavy downpours on Friday but none made it to my town. It was 98 degrees today with high humidity.

    Didn't stop some annual dwarf sunflowers from blooming




    Little bluestem is happy as can be, early goldenrod is fine

    Eupatorium hyssopifolium is starting to bloom too


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    Skip, love the little sunflowers. I planted a few annual sunflower seeds, but the few that came up were eaten by the deer. Have 2 blooming that the chipmunk planted in my pot of parsley though :)

    Not seeing any more Monarch caterpillars, it’s the turn for Tussock moths again. Plenty to go around if another Monarch decides to show up. Still no Black Swallowtails around which is really sad. My thistles are really busy. Glad they finally are blooming this year.




  • Skip1909
    2 days ago

    My thistle just started blooming too, but even it is looking affected by drought. My common milkweed and wingstem are struggling. I sheared the Rudbeckia laciniata back around June 1 and it never grew back the way it normally does. Theres some sweet goldenrod and switch grass doing alright at least.


    The ironweed in the shade looks like it's doing alright, almost 7ft tall and starting to bloom. Its in the lowest part of the yard. I hope the plants are building roots as they look for water.



    Just looked at the numbers and we've had 7.5" of rain over the last 90 days which is 4.8" less rain than average. Average temp since June 1 has been 2-3°F hotter.


    simum for a while. I started a bunch of the seeds this year.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    yesterday

    Skip, the ironweed is looking great! Wonder why mine aren’t doing too well. Alive, but not thriving. You really don’t have any pity and turn a sprinkler on? I have been watering for a couple of hours today. From what the weather guy said, we received a bit over 50% of the usual rainfall since June 1. How are your bluecurls? I do recall you had some while I was looking for them, right? So Seek says this is rust weed, named after the rusty color it’s supposed to have in Fall. Hey, it’s just August!


  • Skip1909
    yesterday

    I really do not like using sprinklers because I hear the well pump switching on and off and it just reminds me of how much water I'm taking from deep down and moving to the surface where it will likely just evaporate. Its not ideal for the plants but I think most will survive. Its a tough year I guess, 2016 or 2017 was like this too, and the plants were much newer and they all survived. It did finally rain for a 4 or 5 hours this morning so they got a drink. Looks like the heat is finally breaking a bit too. That rust weed looks familiar.

    Most of the bluecurls didn't germinate and the ones that did didn't grow beyond cotyledons. So much for peat-free a d organic growing mediums. Nothing seems to work as well as peat moss or real soil on the ground.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    yesterday

    I still have well water for most faucets in the front yard, and for the pond. Not hearing the well pump going on and off, but these days I can just go for about 3 hours at most before the pressure is gone. The house and faucets for the back are city water ever since we had the news worthy discovery of high uranium levels in the well water in our and the neighboring subdivision. Have to say for once our local politicians moved quickly and got us water lines. So ever since I can water with the well water without thinking that I still want to take a shower after :)

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    There's a lot going on. I was just pulling up some morning glories and a weedy grass. They both are in all the beds, and the morning glories are winding through everything. I was pulling some morning glories off of a showy milkweed and I accidentally broke the stem, Some cup plant and anise hyssop branches were broke from the heavy downpours. Several of my native perennials have grown huge and need to be divided. I need space for other plants and some of the perennials are taking up too much space. My gama grass is now a huge clump over 3 feet wide. Some kind of Hypericum species has grown in one of my seeded bog pots. It's barely 6" tall, but it's blooming. My prickly ash is starting to take off. I need to find a place where it can stay permanently and then

    move it. I haven't seen any butterflies or caterpillars. I hacked my 2 oldest senna back 2 or 3 times, but they grew back fast and are staring to bloom now. That extends the Senna season for the

    bumblebees. There are lots of bumblebees on the plants in early morning. They really love the Senna and partridge peas. How did your Frasera seeds do Iris? I've found that if I cut the Scrophularia back after it blooms, it will have another flush of flowers. The pollinators love those little figwort flowers. My gamma grass is a clump over 3 feet wide.


    Tall Thistle


    Solidago ptarmicoides, Stiff Topped White Aster It looked scrawny last year, but it's back in a big way this year. I hope I still have an Ionactis plant or 2 somewhere.


    Unknown St. John's Wort. The 2 Hypericum kalmianum shrubs only produced a total of 2 flowers, while the Hypericum prolificum was covered with flowers. I'll give the kalmianum one more year to do better. My Devil's Walking Stick isn't forming flowers yet after 3 years, and it's 10 feet tall. I just read it can take them a while, but I was so looking forward to seeing those giant, white flower umbels. They are in the Apiales along with all the Apiaceae plants that produce umbels.

    Aralia spinosa in front of an old Oak. The largest compound leaves of any native plant in North America.



    Datura wrightii , Sacred Datura.


    Monkey Flower, Bog Violet, Buttonbush


    Rocky Mountain Bee Plant with Bumblebee. These were little and I put them in the ground late, but they took of and did well. I always like having some Cleomes around.


    Venus Fly Traps and Sundews. I had too much sand in the soil, so I made a new batch with more peat and transplanted them into it. I also was keeping them too wet.


    Lacking larva eating Oleander aphids. Showy Milkweed. It looks like it might be cannibalizing a smaller lacewing larva. I hope not.


    Illinois Bundleflower with morning glory and weedy grass. I had a shrub of Bundleflower in my hell strip that was going to seed so I clipped and mowed it, but I'm hoping it springs back and blooms again.


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    12 hours ago
    last modified: 12 hours ago

    Jay, none of my American Colombo seeds germinated. Not sure I am going to try again. If I can find seeds again that is. Looks you are also still having some cypress vine volunteers. I don’t think I will ever win this war. My Illinois bundleflowers were mostly eaten by the deer, but I have a couple of seedpots. Still green. Would like to grow some more. Plants in your yard are looking really healthy. Wrangled a false aster. It totally flopped over my walkway. Didn’t think they would be that tall. Now starting to remove as many as possible of the lyreleaf sage in the back flower bed. It’s choking out everything, and I didn’t really see many insects while it was blooming. Now the only ones interested in them are the black windows. Odd, usually see them in empty pots, wood and so on.




  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    10 hours ago

    I jave officially surrendered in my war with the morning glories. I'll try doubly hard to eradicate them next year. I say this every year. They provide for bees and hummingbirds, and they create little roadways for bugs to use, but they are getting out of control. I have a wild bean that is just as bad. I was notified by Missouri Wildflowers that Passiflora lutea plants were in stock again, and I was 1st on their list. I could potentially be inviting more trouble if I get it, but on the other hand it's a beautiful plant. It's not locally native, and the Fritilleries here use violets.






  • Skip1909
    10 hours ago
    last modified: 10 hours ago

    You guys have some nice plants! I love that habitat shot of yours Iris, is that pokeweed with the red stems?

    You have some real showy flowers, Jay, and the plants look healthy. Is your pandurata still flowering too?

    I have mostly given up on the weeding too, I really should go cut all the frost aster down to the ground to weaken it and hopefully reduce it's seed production. I need to go around and pull all the mile-a-minute vine before it makes berries, hopefully I'm not too late. I might try to kill off some Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose but that's a big maybe.


  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    7 hours ago
    last modified: 7 hours ago

    Your plants are blending together nicely Skip. It's looking like a prairie. The Ironweed is nice. Your area looks like a native preserve too Iris. My pandurata is still blooming. I hope it produces viable

    seeds this year, but I definitely don't need any volunteers of it.


    My Asclepias sullivantii has shoots coming up a few feet away from the main plant.


    I'm not sure what species of milkweed this is.


    Big Bluestem


    The morning glories have climbed all the way to the tops of the Wingstem.


    Datura wrightii



    Notice that all the leaf bases are uneven. The leaves and stems have a velvet-like texture, and that cool color of the stems. Alternative leaf arrangement, but looks almost opposite.



    Leaf underside is white.

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