Friday, September 18, 2009

Evening Show

I took some time this evening to view some of nature's fireworks. Just as the sun set I noticed the common evening-primrose flowers opening up. I guess in the past I never actually watched it happen. It took about 3-minutes for the flowers to open fully.

The show wasn't done...

I spotted some white-lined sphinx hummingbird moths. I have seen them in past years and it is always an interesting show. They aren't too shy as long as I wait patiently.

I think that the colors are so interesting -- especially in the fast fading twilight. Hummingbird moth is an apt name as they really appear as hummingbirds. I thought I saw a hummingbird in the daylight a few days ago, but I guess it was one of these.

(White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth at Primrose)

I also see these moths out as well. Not sure if they are the same or just related and like the same flowers.

Taking time out in the fading hours really gives a new view on the gardens.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Home for Bees

Our friendly bees help so much in the garden and they don't ask for much. A few flowers all season for food and maybe some place to build a home.

This Spring I decided to try making a bee house. If you search, there are many sites with plans and instructions. Basically, these holes in wood are where many solitary bees will place their eggs for the next generation. I made a few different blocks, but this one turned out be busy.

Lots of foliage near by for the leaf cutters.

It was interesting to check every few days to spot activity. Here, in late June looks like leaf cutters were moving in.

A month later a few more hole were filled, and some were hatched.

At the end of the season, this house is pretty full. I have another double block next to this one, but only one space was filled.

I have really enjoyed the bees in the garden this year. Seems like a large number of bumble bees around. But there were also many smaller ones. I was very happy when some decided to use the house I made. The spot is protected under the eastern overhang of a shed roof -- next a mixed "wildflower" bed.

I hope to see the other homes fill in next year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Still Here

(above: sunchokes in the park)

Okay, I'm not even going to try to catch up on what was missed since my last post! At least I beat the 3-month mark....This season has actually been quite exciting with new things in the garden. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to share it all. Maybe I will get to some of that over the winter.

So, onward... This is a stand of sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes in a park we walk through. They do put on an impressive display. You can see a tired Dakota in the foreground (we took a long walk that day). I took the opportunity to smell the flowers and it is true, they do smell a bit like chocolate. Too bad the ones in our yard are not flowering -- they are quite tall though. Maybe I should sneak some of this variety.

(above: sunchokes in the park)

This caterpillar was hanging on the back door. I carefully put it on the ground for a quick photo-op. Is this what they call a "woolly bear"? It sure moved pretty fast. I left it on the kale to make its escape. We have had a large mix of insects in the yard this year.

(above: caterpillar)

(above: caterpillar on kale)

I guess the Monarchs are mostly moving south, but we saw a couple too tired to go anywhere. We were careful not to touch the wings of this one. It few off to the tree tops after a couple photos.

(above: tired Monarch butterfly)

(above: tired Monarch butterfly)

This seems to have been a year for dragonflies -- more to eat the mosquitoes. Here are a couple found resting in the yard. Overhead in the evenings are busy airways with much zig-zagging.

(above: black/blue dragonfly)

(above: red dragonfly)

Finally, I cannot forget our wonderful bees! There have been so many. I think that a few have begun to hibernate near or in the yard, which may explain the increase in activity this year. I also built a bee condo/house and have had many occupants. They sure do love certain flowers. Echinacea seems one favorite, but sunflowers and raspberries have attracted the largest groups.

(above: bumblebee on echinacea)

Well, we are still here in ND and the garden has grown this year. The season is not done and I am hoping to get some vegetables before the fall frosts come.