February 15th


Coneflower seedheads are the best.


July 23rd pictures

1. This little fellow on the rose bush surprised me today. Looked him up and he must be the red-banded leafhopper. He is very tiny, about the size of my pinkie nail.

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All of these late pictures are from odd-numbered days because I hate them

I owe pictures from other days, all of which tend to blend together when you take pictures of the same kind of thing every day. I seem to remember setting a goal for myself to photograph something memorable each day. Were the zinnias that memorable on seventeen separate occasions? No. No, they were not. On the other hand, the idea of having a post devoted just to zinnias on a given day made more sense in light of another original goal: taking roughly 1 (one) picture each day. Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa. One. The upshot is, you have been and will continue to be bombarded with a ramshackle documentation of the same plants from bud to bloom to long, slow senescence.

Funnily enough, on July 15th, I only took one picture. And what a picture it was, too. That’s later in this entry.

July 13th pictures:

These are all from the shade garden and the regular garden next to it. (Oops, sorry to imply that you’re irregular, shade garden.)

An uncharacteristically pink echinacea

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July 2nd pictures

I probably don’t need to mention that it’s hot here. It’s hot everywhere. We broke a heat record today, but I remember I heard something about Atlanta breaking a record the other day (106 degrees), and you know, some states are on fire, or battered by thunderstorms and without power. Soooo. I guess we have it pretty good here.

I couldn’t really hack the heat, though. I fell asleep in the pool for a while and that was a trip. But then I woke up and took these pictures and all the plants were starting to get sad and thirsty but I tried to fix that and I saw some cool things.

1. This swallowtail (I think that’s what it is, I know pretty much nothing about butterflies) was on a total nectar bender. Also very skittish. I was happy to at least get a few semi-clear shots of it.

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June 22nd pictures: some summer color for your viewing pleasure (we can only hope)

It’s getting late, and I’m up blogging and using the royal we. Confound you, photo blog, how could you let me get behind again?

Friday evening’s picture jaunt revealed a glimpse of a really summery landscape. For me what really makes it are the day lilies. Do you remember that smack I was talking about echinacea the other day, about how they’re okay but not making any personal top 10 lists, scarcely of any consequence to me until they’re blooming? That’s also how I feel but amplified about a thousand about the day lilies. They’re just so ubiquitous in our landscape. Well, us and — by my casual estimation — everyone else ever in the temperate world since the beginning of time. They’re basically tautological at this point: they’re in everyone’s garden because they’re in everyone’s garden.

I know they come in 26 thousand colors and they’re widely adaptable and they spread everywhere, so it’s a pretty flower of many varieties that’s hard to fail with. That’s cool. I see why people want that. But it’s just hard to get excited about a plant you see almost literally everywhere. Of course, now that it’s blooming, I’m forced to say, well gee, they are nice-looking.

They are!

So they can stay. The first ones blooming for us were some little yellow ones. Might be Stella D’oros. But my favorite are the maroon and gold ones in the backyard: U of M colors, dontcha know.

1. I saw three bees buried deep in different flowers in this plant. They were so still, hardly moving in fact — concentrating hard, I guess — that I thought they’d died for a second. As in maybe he was going on one last bender, go out in a blaze of glory and his body weight in nectar. I admit that I shook the flower a little to rouse them. They were fine.

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June 21st pictures

Every day at the farm now, it seems like we have an hourly cat interlude. Lunch is a total free-for-all. You got cats trying to eat jelly, cats rubbing against galls on box elder trees, cats trying to get your attention by meticulously weaving their claws into your flesh as they climb up your pants leg, cats leap-frogging one another, cats sleeping on rocks and gazing distrustingly at you as you take forty-six thousand pictures of them with your phone while they’re simply trying to BE.

So here’s some pictures of those cats.

1. Mama cat looking up at me from my lap.

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Night of the living echinacea

I have a tendency to undervalue our echinaceas (coneflowers). They’re some of the first on my mental chopping block every time I think about changes we could make to existing gardens. Part of it is that we have them in such abundance on the hillside in the backyard, so it’s logical that some of them should go if I want to make room for, say, bachelor buttons — we can spare them. But my dismissing them is not only the result of their simple abundance. (Which is actually not quite so abundant these days, what with the upstart challenger vying for a shot at the big time; brash, oozing pluck and moxie, is the one, the only, GOLDENROD.) Anyway, at the end of the day, echinacea are just not one of my favorites.

(Although — it may be helpful to know that my attitude towards most plants could be illustrated in a very simple hierarchy consisting of just a couple levels, like “My favorite plants” and “Plants I really, really like.” Maybe a third for “Plants that are pretty cool.” Saying something’s not my favorite doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot.)

But maybe my ambivalence only exists in their absence, when I’ve forgotten how lovely they are when they do bloom. That’s pretty short-sighted, huh. Well, I’ll make it up to you, echinacea. In fact I started early this year, admiring them before they even started properly blooming. Here I tried to capture my coney friends in different stages of floral development.

1. Nothin’ but bracts

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