Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beyond Bounty

Elegant Trycirtis-Toad Lilies
Fall Blooming Cyclamen coum
Golden Orb Spider (her name is Agatha)
Spiranthes odorata, Fragrant Lady's Tresses
Monarch Caterpillar, almost ready...
Chris eye to eye with a fine Bass
Early Autumn Bouquet
Lilac Seed Ready to Gather

I can't believe the Summer is so close to an end, and her sister Autumn is taking her place. We gardeners in the Midwest, have had cooler climates and so much more rain than we're used to...good and bad. I'm trying to enjoy the good parts, and plan for a great spring.I took my ancient camera out this past weekend, and tried to gather as many fleeting glimpses of all the bounty that this year has brought.

My Bees have done well, I had to combine the feral Bee colony I captured, with the hive that was failing to thrive. The feral colony lost their Queen, and it was too late to buy another, as well as too late for a natural Queen to be raised. The experts tell me that you place a sheet of news paper between the colony's that you want to combine(stacked). By the time the Bees have eaten through the paper, the hormones have combined, and they unite.It seemed to have worked, so now I have two strong colony's, at least for now. I need to harvest my first honey from the strongest hive, the other one needs all the natural honey it can have, so it will survive the Winter. From my sample tastes, the honey is light gold clover honey, someday, I want to have varietal honey, by placing the mature colony's in a plant specific field, like Asclepias (milkweed)- the Bees will gather the glut of that nectar during the nectar flow for the milkweeds.Evidently, it's supposed to be very fragrant and delicious.

All the Syringa(Lilac) seed is ready to gather, I made many crosses this Spring, and I must label all the seed, then methodically remove the papery seed from their brown seed capsules. This takes HOURS, but it is pleasurable for me, kind of like a meditation. I will have fields of them someday, if the Green Ash borers don't kill them! For the most part, the healthier seedlings will survive the onslaught. The air is almost narcotic with lilac in season, now that's my kind of drug!

I've been bringing more flowers in to the house, just to enjoy the fleeting season even more. I usually have flowers on the kitchen window sill, maybe the bedside, and always something on the main table.

Very few of my "city" friends venture to my neck of the woods...literally. I know it's not convenient to come out here, but one of my best friends always takes the time to come and enjoy it with me. Chris is a Fisherman, and a catch and release one at that. I need to learn how to clean fish...the large pond has an abundance of Bass and Crappy, both good eating fish. We have the best time, cracking ourselves up over the most idiotic things, what else could you ask for?!

Lawrence Kansas is the home of Monarch Watch, a group dedicated to saving our precious Monarch butterfly. Besides all the wild Asclepias (milkweed), I've added more species to the mix. I spotted a plump Monarch Caterpillar on some Asclepias tuberosa, a joyful site! by the next day, they had gone off to create their amazing jade green and gold chrysalis, awaiting the journey to Mexico in a short time. We should all plant several kinds to offer food and habitat for these regal beauties.

I love all seasons, and I like living in an area that has distinct climate changes, and we have it all here! Autumnal blossoms seem all that more special, because their time is so short, almost like the Spring ephemerals.The Toad lilies(trycirtis) are so amazing, I want them all, but the voles always seem to terrorize the root zones, and cause havoc. The woodland Cyclamen coum are just emerging, the chocolate brown color of the leaf litter and the pale pink of the Cyclamen always makes me think of Neapolitan ice cream!

When I moved to the farm, I knew I would find Orchids one day, if I was patient. My father Jack, died September eleventh (yes, that day, that year) he had lived a long interesting life, and was loved by many. On the day of his funeral, I had gone outside to look about and drink my coffee. A gorgeous Orb spider web was stretched between two Apple trees, dotted with morning dew. I remembered a favorite poem, I think by Keats, and began to recite it " A spiders web be-decked with dew, holds beauty far more rare than any diamond necklace worn on throat of lady fair" (close anyway) As I recited this, I looked through the web, and in it's sight, was a lovely lady's tress orchid, right in front of me! I was grieving, but it gave me overwhelming joy to see this sight, and it almost felt like a tribute to my loving Dad. I've spotted them since, but that first sighting was like magic.

I visit Blotanical on a regular basis, and I've loved "meeting" many of you amazing garden Bloggers at Blotanical, thank you for your friendship! I never had looked at the AWARDS before today, I'd just skip to my know. Well, I looked this evening, for the first time, and was shocked to have been nominated six times...who knew! So, Who ever you are that nominated me, I'm so very flattered, really. If you like what I do, or try to do, please vote in these categories: Best United States Blog, Best Kansas Blog, Garden Blog of the Year, Newcomer Blog of the Year, Blog you'd Most Like an Invitation To Guest Post, and Blotanist of the Year...WOW! I wouldn't expect to win, there are so many wonderful and amazing blogs, but it's great to have been thought of and nominated, so thank you :)


  1. oh brian, i love the photo of the garden spider. we had one on our patio a few weeks ago and he'd hooked his web to our patio chair. katie and i both adored her and made sure we didn't bump the chair too hard.
    some kids came over and gave her a grasshopper and watched her go to work wrapping it up and sucking it dry. it was just fascinating.
    alas, merle doesn't have the love of garden spiders (or at least the awareness) he blew the patio clean and along with that moved her chair. boo hoo. we loved her while she was here.

  2. Kim, I love those garden spiders,absolutely many people are phobic about them, and I don't want one ON me, but love them from afar....!

  3. Hi Brian! What a nice, warm, heartfelt post! I was touched by the story about your Dad and the spider and the orchid. It was very special!
    I love your autumn bouquet. Your blog is the best in KS in my books. Happy gardening and blogging!

  4. Hey Brian, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I'm looking forward to looking at yours and I will add you to my list.

  5. Thanks Tatyana, you're so sweet. Welcome Phillip!those roses are amazing...

  6. Congrats... and good luck!
    aka Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel