An Unexpected Visitor

I had an unexpected garden visitor. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. A loud buzzing. Right by my ear.

I didn’t think much of it and after a couple flicks of my trowel, I kept weeding. But the buzzing got louder. And then I heard a sound you never want to hear.

The buzz was muffled. Wait, did I just feel something? Oh my gosh. There’s a yellow jacket under my shirt!

I screamed and there I was, in my bra, looking at a harmless bumble bee who was wondering what all the fuss was about. Surely you’re not making that scene because of me 🐝.

I laughed, put my shirt back on, and pretended like nothing happened. Just another silly day in the garden.

“Everything is made out of magic.”

— Frances Hodgson Burnett

Annual Vine Update

Annual Vines Grown for 2023

This season I tried my hand at growing annual vines like Matt Mattus. It was humbling.

I grew:

  • Blue Crown Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea)
  • Canary Bird Vine (Tropaeolum peregrinum)
  • Blushing Susie Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)
  • Purple Bell Vine (Rhodochiton atrosanguineum)
  • Firecracker Vine (Ipomoea lobata)
  • Love in a Puff ( Cardiospermum halicacabum )

The passion flower and canary bird vine were complete failures. The seeds never germinated.

For the rest, I ended up with more foliage than flowers. The Firecracker vine only has a single bud so far. I’m guessing I gave them too much nitrogen.

The vines are healthy, but flopped over with their branches twirling around in a tangled mess at the top of each plant. I need better supports. 

The results aren’t perfect, but what a blast growing new plants. I can’t wait to try again next season.  I hope you’ll join me.

Pollinator-Friendly Flower Garden

I planted a pollinator-friendly flower garden. I was amazed at the number of bees, butterflies, and buzzing friends that visit the garden each day.

If you’ve been thinking of adding a pollinator-friendly garden, I made a YouTube video sharing the process and breaking down the cost to plant the garden.

By far, the best bang for the buck is growing plants from seeds.  My favorite plants that I grew from seed this season are:

  • Verbena bonariensis – The butterflies love this plant.  It’s adds great texture to the border, but be careful because this is considered invasive in CA, OR, or GA.
  • Polygonum orientale – Also called kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate. The one big draw back for this plant is that it attracts Japanese beetles.
  • Cosmos ‘Cosmic Orange’ – Wow!  The color on this plant is incredible. It stays around 18 inches tall so it’s perfect for the front of the border.  I see why it is an All American Selection winner.

Resources and Inspiration

Favorite Mail-Order Nurseries – I took a survey asking for your favorite mail-order plant nurseries.  Here’s the list.

Biodiversity Heritage Library – If you love old gardening books, check out this online library.

My 5 Favorite Gardening Tools – I don’t use a lot of fancy stuff in my garden, but these are the 5 tools I can’t live without. If I was only allowed to have one, it would be the Kusakichi Nejiri scraper.

That’s it for this week’s newsletter. Just like you, I can’t believe it’s September. Thanks for being here. Happy gardening!

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