Monday, October 21, 2013

Edging project: risks & rewards

Some ongoing fall projects are re-edging the lawn along the back yard and weeding out the shady triangle area. I last edged the shady triangle in the spring, but it's been a couple of years since I edged along the lawn east of the triangle.

Risks of weeding with beggar lice or tick-trefoil. Rewards of wildflowers in the garden.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rayless sunflowers, fall seedlings, & more

Rayless sunflower & native bee.
When I replaced a 10' x 14' section of lawn with a native garden, I planted several rayless sunflowers (Helianthus radula) as part of the mix. Months later, they are blooming much to the delight of the butterflies and native bees.

These flowers are not showy from a distance because they are missing the showy florets around the edge that look like petals. When we think of sunflowers, we expect to enjoy a big show, but the show here is more subtle and draws you in closer.

I wrote about this plant and reported on the progress on this native pollinator garden in my monthly post over on the Beautiful Native Plants blog: "The beauty is in the eye of the beholder."*

*Just to satisfy my curiosity on this cliché, I looked up the origins of the saying. This particular phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder," is a paraphrase of Plato's writings and the theme has been repeated in various ways by different people, including by Shakespeare, over the centuries.  See this phrase finder website for more details.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An early fall compost pile

Some of the new chips had been sitting in the truck for a few days so they'd
already started composting. They were steaming hot and had turned gray.
Normally I do my major compost building later in the fall when we have lots of dead leaves on hand, but several events occurred this year to speed up the process.

1) I'd depleted my compost supply in building the new edible beds and I had saved a pile of sod that we'd removed, which was waiting to be composted.

2) Some of chips we received last week had been on the truck for several days and had already heated up and turned gray with fungal spores.