Stuff outside the house

jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)July 30, 2014

This was looking so good the other day. It looked so good that the gold finch family began to work on it. The way they were going, you might believe that they think it is there just for them!

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anneliese_32(6)

Finders - keepers. Lovely.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:05AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Same sunflower after the finches and bees have had their way with it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:56AM
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mawheel

Jim, the gold finches knew that it was there 'just for them'! Lovely picture.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 3:32PM
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west_gardener

Nice before and after pics.
My next door neighbor plants sunflowers, and I've seen squirrels jump from the fence to the flower (about 4') then devour the seeds. Nature at work.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:06PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Here is one on the other side of the house. It attracted another kind of animal. In case you cannot make it out, it is a juvenile mantis.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:27PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I have had the three hibiscus plants for 8 or 9 years. I told the missus the other day that I will be digging up and tossing them. They are pretty for the few weeks that they are blooming, but then it becomes yech!

I bought them because they match the shutters on the house.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:07PM
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anneliese_32(6)

Love the Mantis. Have not seen one in my garden for ages - I don't spray, so where has averything gone?
That is a gorgeous hibiscus.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:56AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Powdery mildew on a peony that is less than one year old.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:04AM
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gmatx zone 6

Oh Jim - that makes me almost cry to think you are going to dig and toss those hibiscus! Can't you give them away? I'd love to have them here to replace some I have lost over the years. Too bad we don't live closer :(

The "critters" just love you so much for planting things they like! Great photos, as usual.

Mary

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:13PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Mary,
How about we meet half way?
Jim

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:31PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

The sunflower photo with the mantis was taken on Tuesday 7/29. This is the same flower this morning.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:38PM
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lilosophie

A pretty petunia I put close to the deck to deter the hungry deer, deer think petunia is candy. They do dislike marigolds, don't eat them but have decided to rid the world of them: they pull them up and drop them, preferably on the pavement.
Because of our water situation the cottage garden is all in containers - call it a pottage garden.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 4:43PM
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west_gardener

Luv the pics and stories about the plants , outside the house.
I don't have much to show , because of the drought, I have not planted any new plants for a couple of years. I'm just trying to keep my established plants and trees alive.
Some eight years ago, we planted some "Flower Carpet" roses beside the walk way to our house. The tag on the pot said it was an easy care rose, improved disease tolerance, improved heat tolerance etc... And all of that came true.Even with all this heat and severe water restrictions they are doing great.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:46PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Some brussels sprouts sprouting on the porch. In a week or two, they will go in the ground. I tried to direct sow and the soil was too warm to germinate. If all goes well, we should have some in early November.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:34PM
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west_gardener

Jim, thanks for showing the seedlings, nice to see new growth.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:25PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Those darned striped cucumber beetles on a squash blossom early in the morning. Too many blossoms and too many bugs to try to control the situation without using chemicals.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:24AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I took this picture less than 10 minutes ago. Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. From the Monarda it flew to my ash tree, where it spent several minutes in three locations. Ash trees are among the host plants for the larva of this butterfly.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:03PM
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lilosophie

Nice photo, nice monarda, I used to have a lot of it, but the drought wiped them out, I lost a lot because I couldn't water and our winter-rains didn't happen, so the soil is quite hard (clay). used to be better when we had horses :(

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 2:34PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Lilo,
You are not a native Californian - why not get away from that drought stuff!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 2:55PM
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west_gardener

I'm with you about the cucumber beetles, Jim. Been there, done that and it's the pits. I don't use chemicals either, but hose buggers are very hardy I've tried to drown them, but I think they can swim, rotate crops, they find the way, Pull the plants and wait two years before planting, and there they are. Sigh.
What's more. usually I don't mind bugs in my garden, but these are ugly as can be.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:41PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I was hoping that birds or something would find them tasty. I guess not. The thing is, they don't seem to be affecting my winter squash (mostly acorn, but some butternut); however the cucumbers will be all done in another 4-5 days due to the beetles. I have put up 11 pints of bread and butter pickles so far. I would like to do some dills; I guess I'll have to buy some from the farmer's market.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:49PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I'm letting the cilantro go to seed. I want to see if I can save, dry and use the seeds (coriander).

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:25PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Oak leaf lettuce going to seed. We'll see what happens with another of Jim's 'experiments'!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:27PM
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west_gardener

Nice cilantro plants. Never grown those. Done plenty of collecting seeds. What is your method?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:31PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I have never collected the seeds. I generally just let the plants do their thing right where they are (dill and cilantro are great at that) and once they have established themselves in the spring. I move them to where I want them. Success rate of less than 50%.

With lettuce, I don't know what I will do. I'll try a couple of things. One - cut the top and let it air dry in the garage (where the onions and shallots are curing) and then knock them into a bag; two - watch closely to see when they appear to be drying on the plant and then bag them in situ. It will be one of Jim's Experiments. The missus rolls her eyes when I tell her about any new experiments I have going.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:52PM
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lilosophie

Oh Jim, I am not a native Californian, but I have lived on my 6 acres since 1984, it's home all paid for, where would I go? I like it here, the community, the people and everything, the goats and the chickens and the dogs and the cats...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:40PM
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west_gardener

Jim, I cut the plant when it starts dropping seeds, and put it in a brown shopping bag that I have cut some vent holes.
Check for critters before putting them in the bag.
I was drying some herbs in a bag, and when I opened the bag, there was nothing but stems. I was puzzled , but then a beautiful butterfly flew out of the bag, and I realized what had happened.
Luckily I was able to guide the BF out the patio doors.

lilo, yes, it's your home, and "home" is a special place and a wonderful word.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:27PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Go back to the first picture posted here.

This is the same sunflower today. Only about 10 days difference and many goldfinch meals.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:51PM
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