Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Praying Mantis

Got a few pictures of my little "good luck" friend.  I once heard that praying mantis will stay in an area they deem "home" year after year.  I haven't seen one for a few years but could use a little luck.  Who couldn't these days?

Resting on a Wisteria leaf

Hanging out on the patio door

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A busy bee on my fading Salvia blooms
I was taking a walk outside to get a few new photos for the blog and couldn't help but notice all the buzzing and fluttering activity taking place.  The bugs were busy doing their thing.  I don't mind these bugs . . . even the spider.  The ones that stay busy working outside the home are more than welcome.  The ones that sneak into the house, that's another story.  I'm pretty merciful however but wish they'd just stay where they belong - - - outdoors.  The butterflies and bumble bees are my favorites to watch.  The occasional dragonfly shows up too and I saw a baby praying mantis a few days back hanging around my Wisteria.  I'll have to try to catch a shot of that little bugger. (pun, intended)

A long-legger spider catching a snooze? on a Beebalm leaf

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I did a quick search to try and find the name of this particular variety of lavender-blue clematis.  I came up with "Daniel Deronda".  I'll have to check around as I'm sure I have the species and care tag out in the garage with the rest I have saved.  I took these pictures over a month ago.  I just wish the blooms would last longer.  Who doesn't?  It looked especially good this year as I didn't prune it back much last fall.  I believe this is its fourth year in this location on my property.  Not too much sun in this spot either.  I have many shaded areas and often will give things a try that call for full-sun.  You just never know.  

I took these photos on a misty, cloudy morning which amplified the intensity of their color.    

Coming soon will be the wild clematis (Virgin's Bower) that I have draped and growing everywhere around the property.  They have such a wonderful smell.  It will be much welcomed since the strong fragrance of the initial blooming honeysuckle is beginning to fade.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

BeeBalm in Bloom

Lavendar-Pink Dwarf BeeBalm (mildew resistant)
Well, the end of June is nearing and Summer has begun.  Most of my Spring blooming flowers have ended and the Summer ones are now beginning to take off.  One of my favorites to see each year are those of my BeeBalm.  Also known as Monarda or Bergamot.

I have always enjoyed the unique, square-shaped, sturdy stems these plants produce to hold a single flower.  I have had them reach heights of 6 feet in the past (taller than me).  They are not quite as tall this year.  Perhaps it has been too wet.  I never realized these plants, being perennials, were actually herbs.  I only recently discovered they were Bergamot, having always referred to them simply as BeeBalm.  Now I understand the wonderful, spicy fragrance of the stem and leaf.

These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew although you can look for varieties that are more resistant (such as the dwarf species shown).  My red ones (below) seem to develop this ailment, however it is very much related to location and condition.  Shady areas with high humidity and heat contribute to the development of the disease.  I heard years ago about spraying a skim milk/water solution or even plain skim milk on and under the leaves to combat this issue.   Another solution of baking soda, water and dish detergent also has been recommended.  Although I have never tried either, family members who I have suggested the milk solution to, have said it worked.
The following article provides information about both solutions.   

I can see a few spots forming on mine already so I may have to give the milk solution a try.

Red BeeBalm

Regardless, I'm pleased that mine are now blooming and will provide many weeks of wonderful color and interest around the property.
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