Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crazy Summer

This has been an unusually cool summer here in Indiana. We had the second coolest July since 1947. In fact, the Indianapolis July average temperature was 70.9 degrees.

One of my summer favorites, lantana, definitely didn't like the cooler temperatures and has hardly bloomed this summer. A few of the plants don't even have a single bloom! How sad is that? Nothing but the stinky leaves!

The salvia seeds that were sown in early summer are still tiny plants, (you can see a few of them by the lantana in the top picture), and only a few have bloomed.

The Knockout roses haven't bloomed much either.

I've wondered if the cooler weather is why the butterflies have been so scarce this year. I saw my first tiger swallowtail today. It wasn't a pretty sight at all. This poor butterfly was so battered that it could barely fly. I also finally spotted my first painted lady today! Usually they are all over the verbena and zinnias in August, but they have been absent from my garden this summer. By the time I grabbed the camera it was gone.

The rabbits are a different story altogether; they have indeed been prolific this year. This little guy seems to like it in my yard. It is rather tame and I can get within a few feet of it before it scampers away. I worked off and on all day in the yard and it stayed close by the whole time.

While the cooler summer temperatures haven't been great for some of the plants, it has been very nice for me! Today was another cool one. It was delightful to have the windows up and and a cool breeze blowing in the house in August. I spent most of the day out working in the yard. I actually got dressed up and ready to run a few errands but decided that I didn't want to leave the house today after all. I decided to stay outside and enjoy every minute of this wonderful weather and try to make up for the lost time in the garden! And that is exactly what I did!

Yesterday's Walk in the Garden

I went outside Friday morning to fill the bird feeders and take a walk around the yard. Of course I had my camera with me! A couple of the Japanese anemone buds had opened! This is my first year to have this flower in the garden.

The hummingbirds are still here. I'm seeing quite a bit of activity at the feeders. They must be fattening up in preparation for their flight south.

I saw the neighbor's cat prowling around in the yard heading toward the bird feeders. I stepped into the garden to get closer to the sunflowers and just as I was taking a step I noticed the preying mantis peeking up over the lamb's ear.

While the butterflies have been scarce, I've had bees in abundance this year. For that I'm grateful!

I love to see the pollen covered bees!

We had a lot of rain yesterday, so the ground should be nice and soft, (hopefully not too wet). I hope to be able to do some much needed edging and weeding in the garden today. I did quite a bit last weekend but I have so much more to do.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Did It Go?

This for me is the season of life that some call the "sandwich generation". Sandwiched between children and aging parents. I still have two children living at home and this year has been a year of sickness and poor health for our three remaining parents. Thankfully everyone is on the mend and I am finally able to spend more time at home. I've spent the majority of both spring and summer sitting in doctor offices, hospitals and the nursing home, and I'm wondering just where did the gardening season go.

The weather has been lovely the last few days and I've spent some much needed time in my very neglected yard. It has been a strange summer here in more ways than one. The butterfly sightings are few and far between. Usually by this time of year I have American Painted Ladies all over the place. They are completely absent. So are the black swallowtails. I have seen a buckeye, a few monarchs, a couple of pearl crescents and several cabbage whites; that's about it.

Another strange thing this year is that poison ivy has been growing all over the place. We've never had it here before. I am highly allergic to it and had to proceed with great caution to remove it. With skin completely covered, I shoveled this into a bag that my husband held open for me. As soon as we finished we trashed the gloves and changed clothes. I'm beginning to itch just looking at it again!

I am hoping that I will be able to make up for lost time in the garden now that the weather is cooling. I have so much to do!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cutting it Close

Here is my entry for the Gardening Gone Wild photo contest. The deadline is tonight and I am cutting it close.

Friday, August 7, 2009

She Love Me, She Loves Me Not

She loves me...

she loves me not...

she loves me...

she loves me not...

she loves me...

That is what I thought of when I saw this goldfinch picking the petals off of the zinnia this afternoon. I carefully pulled the curtains back and took these pictures through the window.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Goldfinches on Sunflowers

I planted a lot of sunflower seeds this spring hoping to harvest them and use them this winter in bird feeder wreaths. The goldfinches are feasting on them now and if they continue eating at this pace, there won't be any left for winter! The sunflower in this picture was huge, I was shocked when I saw that it had been stripped clean.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hummingbird Moths

These pictures of the hummingbird moth were takes several days ago. I had to resort to the Auto mode because I'm still not that great at capturing action and motion. Better to get the shot than miss it while playing around with the camera!