At the end of another cold snap, it’s fun to look back at pictures of the garden in its prime.
Front view of the front yard:
Obviously, as I’ve documented at length already, black-eyed susans were the star of the show. Blooming from late June to mid-August, taking up a huge spot right in the front of the garden closest to the street, they were amazing.
This is the year that the cup plant “leaped” — more than a dozen new plants grew away from the original cluster.
Bonus: these were young enough that they were just my size. (The older ones are several feet above my head, so I usually don’t see these flowers up-close. The ones at the top of this website were taken when I was holding a camera above my head while standing at the top of a ladder.)
White snakeroot, which was in our backyard before we were here, spread to a new area in the backyard, and also to the front yard:
Joe-pye weed seedlings made themselves comfortable between the pine tree and the sidewalk:
Of course, not everything succeeded.
Trout lily and bluebells didn’t grow, but this was completely my fault. I never got around to planting them, and the little pots blew over in the wind and then something ate them.
Blazing star was eaten by rabbits (though I planted more seeds in the fall to try again).
Vegetables didn’t grow, again. Tried in a different spot this time, too. This might be the last time; we can rely on farmer’s markets and the co-op for our fresh veggies instead.
Even the path through the garden: it disappeared around the end of June, engulfed by plants that I didn’t have the heart to pull out (or the time to transplant).
Every year it seems as if one non-native perennial fades or doesn’t survive, and this year it was evening primrose’s turn.
Allium: perhaps fading like other perennials, perhaps just overshadowed by
bigger, flashier plants around them.
From the Landscape Revival plant sale: bishop’s cap, native false indigo, and three kinds of milkweed. (More stories to come another day about milkweed.)
Lobelia from a friend. This is one of my favorite photos of the year because I have no idea how I managed to get the tussock moth caterpillar to photobomb this flower. One day I was transporting caterpillars from the backyard (which ran out of milkweed) to the front yard (which had plenty) and apparently chose that moment to stop and take a picture of a lobelia!
Purple giant hyssop, yellow coneflower, joe-pye weed, and pearly everlasting, dug up from our front yard to donate to a Wild Ones fundraiser:
Squash plant that volunteered in the flower garden — though it waited until October, so no actual squash were produced:
Bishop’s cap, which I bought in June and normally blooms in the spring, apparently didn’t want to wait for next year, and bloomed in its original pot in July:
Peachtree borer moth:
I wasn’t sure how to describe this one on Google to find its name, so I posted it on Instagram and asked for help. Within minutes, I got an answer: brown marmorated stink bug nymph.
(More posts to come about new bugs.)
Culver’s root with a stalk that split into six:
Rabbit caught in the act:
Pretty American Lady butterfly next to a faded coreopsis:
Here’s what I wrote on Instagram in June, on my first master naturalist anniversary. I think it summarizes my year’s exploration nicely.
Today is my master naturalist birthday: one year ago I earned a certificate for completing the prairies and potholes course. Taking this class was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it reinforced my growing interest in the natural world. Since then I’ve learned a lot and committed to environmental stewardship through events such as invasive species removal, wildflower planting, and seed collecting. But my favorite place to explore remains my own front yard.