Mushroom Hunt

Yesterday we met our friends at the park, and this time I took my camera with me. The whole thing is currently overrun by mushrooms, toadstools, whatever. It’s not like I can identify any of them apart from the red toadstool that says “do not eat”. One day I#ll sign up for a “learning about mushrooms” class, but until that day, I will just collect their pics. the big advantage here is that they’re all good that way.

 

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising

Today’s photo is from kestrel and it’s a lovely, serene photo of a plant called plumbago. I did a bit of research to discover that this plant has a few practical uses, including as an emetic and a treatment for wounds and warts. Very useful for the wart plagued witches of October, no?

©kestrel, all rights reserved

 

(Also, apologies for the bad writing yesterday. That is probably the most awkward sentence I’ve ever written. I was trying 2 different ways to say something and I forgot to edit. Naughty, voyager!! No, please don’t go back and read it. Look at the pretty kitty and forget all about the description.)

Autumn in a Flower Patch

I have tried to plant some strawflowers this year and I am going to make an even bigger patch next year. They are beautiful and butterflies and bees simply love them to bits. I have several red admirals there during a sunny day.

There are ten pictures, so nine are below the fold. Do you recognize the bee mimicking hoverfly?

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

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Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I went to the park this morning, and we found the place overrun with Canada Geese. There was a flotilla in the pond and another regiment lining its banks, and all through the park, they covered the grass, doing a slow nibble-walk and poop without looking up. There were more of them in the round-about crossing from one side to another in an even slower, flappy-footed, silly-walk that stopped traffic in all directions. Jack was mesmerized by them. He sat quietly at my side and watched the parade, and after the last goose had passed us by, he took a hop-step forward and let loose a small, happy woof and laughed. “That was great fun. When’s the next show?”

Mowing Pictures – Part 1 – Butterflies

I made these last month and then I forgot to post them. Well, the pictures are not that good, they were made with my phone. But I still think they are worth posting.

When my neighbor has finally mown the meadows surrounding my house, he left a bit unmown just in front of the gate into my garden. He always does. I do not know why maybe he is afraid that he will damage the geodesic leveling pole that is positioned there. Regardless of his reasons, I have to mow that piece with a scythe, and this year I have made a few pictures of the various critters and flowers that live there whilst doing so.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

All the Pretty Little Flowers 4: The Residents

Now we’ve talked a lot about how important wildflowers are in general for all kinds of lovely critters, so here they are.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Teensy tiny bees. The flower has at most a diameter of 15-20 mm. The bee is the size of my pinky finger nail.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

A very fat fly. Probably one of those that try to eat us alive.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This one dressed all up for the occasion.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Yes, there’s also spiders.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And pretty birds ;)

All the Pretty Little Flowers 3: The Downstairs

Poor PZ is still mowing his lawn. Around here Mr regularly sighs “I need to mow the lawn and then we do something else. I like that. I think we will make some hay later in summer in preparation of the degus. For now it’s a pretty wilderness.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Though we should not use that area for feed as there are many raspberries starting their career there right now.

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All the Pretty Little Flowers 2: The Slopes

As you may recall, our house is built on pretty steep terrain. The ground floor windows in the front are the first floor in the back. From there you have another treeish metres height difference to the garden. last year we had the stairs remodelled, since the old ones were rapidly becoming accidents waiting to happen. The slopes on either side are still steep and this year we started to stabilise the left hand side so we can put a lamppost on top.

The small area created at the top has been sown with “butterfly meadow” and “wildflower mix”. You can buy these seed mixes easily in Germany as many people are trying to bee more friendly. I also always toss a few handful on the rest of the area, which remains in pretty disarray.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The dark side of the pumpkin patch. That area is more or less permanently in shade and this year we just didn’t have the nerve to look for something that would thrive there after the slugs ate the first round of plants. Suggestions welcome. But you can see the structure well.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The pumpkin/squash/courgette patch. they are coming along nicely with several promising plants already. Only I never know what is what. You can also see the bane of my gardening existence: Horsetail. A plant that survived the dinosaurs. Common gardening advice is “nuke it from orbit”. It spreads through rhizomes that are also very fragile and will snap quickly so you’ll never get them all out. But you can make some wonderful fertilizer out of it: put the plants into a bucket with water and let it rot. Stinks like hell, but 100% organic, free and efficient.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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All the Pretty Little Flowers 1: The frontyard

Pz has been raging and ranting about lawns and lawnmowers and I wholeheartedly agree. It also prompted me to do a bit of bragging about the sheer beauty of not having a lawn. Let’s start with the front yard, which was carefully weeded when we bought the house. Here’s another aspect of those lawn and front yard regulations: To keep them up to “standards” you need time to do it or money to hire somebody else to do it. I quickly reduced weeding to an absolute minimum. Nobody touches a dandelion in MY front yard. One thing that happened quickly was that wild strawberries overtook most of the ground. They do many things at once:

First, they protect the ground from drying out.

Second, they provide flowers for pollinators.

Third, they taste so good.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

In spring I built a plant tower in an empty space that had previously been occupied by some useless evergreen bush that got thankfully eaten by caterpillars. I also planted some regular strawberries there.

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Guarded by my little dragons

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M

If you want to make bees happy, plant lavender. It will also make you happy. Lavender is low maintenance, just cut off the dry stalks in autumn and ok with dry weather. I don’t know if it can survive Minnesota winters.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Probably no German frontyard is complete without a hydrangea. They are lovely, but high maintenance (needing much water, cutting, right ground) and absolutely no good for insects. Like most plants here they are a leftover from the previous owner. I figure that with so many bee friendly plants around I can afford a couple that only look nice.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I have no idea about most of the plants that grow here. They were already well established when we moved in. Some of them have already bloomed long ago. I basically get flowers from March to October.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Also one corner has been taken over by some wildflowers. I like them, the insects like them. We’re good.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Oh, and btw, the next door neighbour has a lawn (I’m not criticising her, she’s 90 and still living all alone). It’s a sad brown area right now and the grass always creeps into my yard which means that I have to do the weeding there.