Tag Archives: Coneflowers

The Bee’s Knees On Coneflowers


Bee looking at you on coneflower.

Bright-eyed native bee getting a drink of coneflower nectar.

I saw a butterfly on a coneflower today, and grabbed my good camera. I thought it might be a monarch, but couldn’t tell from the house—but when I got outside, it was gone.

What was still hanging around were some medium sized native bees. They make me slightly nervous because they’ll buzz at you and fly at you, and I just am not wild about being buzzed by a bee.

Hey, I'm not a butterfly, why are you taking my photo?

Hey, I’m not a butterfly, why are you taking my photo?

But I do like the coneflowers. I’ve tried planting other colors for variety, but so far only these purple ones have done well. I’d like to get a few other colors going, but honestly don’t mind that these spread. The side garden east of the house is full of blooms right now, and looks very nice.

Coneflowers are a bit prickly, but pretty, and also nice since they draw in so many butterflies and bees.

Bee with flowers

Showing a few more coneflowers.

I’ve tried collecting the seeds of this native plant to get a few started at the edge of the woods behind the house, with no success so far. Too much garlic mustard back there, I suppose.

But coneflowers looks pretty now, and will even be decorative over the winter when the stalks dry (which is one reason, besides laziness, why I don’t clean the gardens until late winter).

Bee flies away.

I’m out of here. Just be glad I’m not headed your way!

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A Trumpet Will Sound Soon


Trumpet flower bud on clotheslline. No leaves nearby because, before Audrey draped it on the line, this particular vine branch was on the ground, where Mr. Rabbit ate all the leaves. First flower on vine years after it was planted.

No, it’s not the end of the world, no matter what GOP Tea Party candidates might say. It’s the biggest news in my gardens since, well, since I discovered how photogenic coneflowers are.

Anyway, despite Cate’s experience at her and Paulette’s previous house, were neighborhood trumpet vines attempted to take over most of the Plain States, I planted a trumpet vine near my clothesline.

Around 2003 or so. Maybe 2004. A while ago.

I was hoping I can keep it contained, since it’s isolated from other gardens or ground. It stubbornly keeps sending up numerous root sappers, but—and this is the only good think I’ll say about Mr. Bunny—they apparently taste good to rabbits and have not been hard to control. True to form, the trumpet vine has been a vigorous grower. However, it has never bloomed, until now. There are now two isolated clusters of buds swelling, and, as you can see, the vine will officially bloom this year. My vine is blooming a month later than every other trumpet vine in Cedar Rapids that I’ve seen, but I am comfortable with late flowers.

A tree addict can’t be too picky about when things bloom.

No butterflies, but some pretty coneflowers. Gallery below will feature day lilies and more coneflower shots.

Anyway, I have a minor bit of camera envy. A former student posted a pretty butterfly picture on a coneflower as her Facebook profile photo. She used a Nikon SLR to capture a butterfly perched on the flower. Nice shot, Mickey.

I would love to have a digital SLR. I’ll have to do something really impressive to get one for Christmas or birthday next year—and, unfortunately, it’s not the only beyond-regular-gift budget item I’ve been coveting these days (ever since the Continental died, I’ve wanted a racier bike, which would cost as much if not more than the swanky camera I also want).

As Sheryl Crow sang, however, it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have. My little auto Kodak digital toy doesn’t do everything I would like, but it’s a game little camera.

Of course, I’ll have to post some trumpet pictures later when the vine actually blooms—I hope it won’t wait until I’m at camp in Tennessee. We’ll see.

No cute butterfly on the coneflowers. There’ve been a lot hanging around, but I’ve not captured them in a digital file. Today, I was reading a biography of William Randolph Hearst while swinging in the backyard, camera at the ready, glancing up just in case now and then, but no dice.

And Hearst needs more direct attention than that.

Hanging in a swing, waiting for a butterfly that never showed up, being berated by a small bird—what a great way to spend some time on a warm summer afternoon. Afterwards, I’m afraid, probably comes lawn mowing.

Still, I hope you enjoy yet another set of flower pictures from my gardens.

Daylilies in back yard, similar shot later of simliar lilies in front by mailbox.

Hydrangea in front. One by oak in back is not blooming yet, but the hydrangea tree Ben gave me last year is.

Daylily in the side "wall" garden in front.

Daylilies, same type as in back, but by the mail box. Also below.

This bird may be nesting somewhere in my side gardens or in a very nearby tree. When I approach the east side of my back yard, he's there to berate me. Fear not, young dinosaur, you are immune from any harm. If you were a wasp on my deck, I would wait until sundown and then kill you. Luckily, you're not a wasp--something that makes both of us happy.

Coneflower, final image. A butterfly would have come in handy.

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The Garden, One Year Later


Day Lily with coneflower in background--it's the larger, store flowe. The lily is a tall day lily, probably 2 feet or so, the cone flower is a foot taller. A flower of this particular day lily caused a dramatic effect, the color "ran" in the rain and splotched a stella de oro lily nearby, looking as if one flower were bleeding or crying on the other. Did not catch that in a picture, sadly.

A year ago, I was putting in a new garden made necessary by my neighbor’s installation of a giant white plastic wall.

One year later, how is it doing?

Quite well. The mysterious blue flowers did not come back this year, but just about everything else did. A pink peony failed to bloom, but the plant looks OK, so I have hopes for next year. As it turned out, the cone flower I purchased from the store is a bit different from the free ones I got from Katy’s sidewalks—not really radically different in color, but both the flowers and plant of the store one are much bigger, perhaps twice the size.

One of the "volunteer" coneflowers. The background is pea gravel that I covered the narrow stretch of garden beside the walkway with, which should help reduce weeding and looks good, too. Although light is limited in this garden, it is also mid-day light, which means this coneflower is getting along with hostas and lily of the valley--not usual garden companions.

I added a few things this year. I planted my token annuals, in the form of moon flowers and morning glories. The jury is still out, but I think we’ll see more flowers this year. I also added white coneflowers, which are nice. I would like to get a few cuttings of red coneflowers from Cate and Paulette’s garden, but we’ll see.

I like the “look” of this garden. It is a bit crowded, but there is a lot of variety. As you can see from the photos, at the moment it’s a day lily/cone flower garden.

All in all, year two is very nice.

Other garden news:

  • There are some strange, slightly obscene looking, mushrooms sprouting in back. I’ve seen these orange phallic monsters before, but with the incredible damp this year, there are just many more of them.
  • I put in a nice blue flower in back, picture shown. Also added the final bush to the new front garden, picture not shown.
  • Finally, a Father’s Day gnome rang the doorbell that Sunday. Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, the gnoming occurred when Ben was returning from Target. Anyway, the gnome is at home in the wall garden.

One of the "Katy" coneflowers. Morning glories on near trellis are not very high yet, but have reached top of far one.

Farther's Day gnome in wall garden. The door bell rang, Audrey excitedly told me "someone is at the door for you!" and Ben was chucklin by the Beetle. Conspiracy?

New white coneflower. Put in two near other coneflowers.

Not the wall garden--this is the back yard. Some years I see one or two of these odd orange phallic mushrooms--this year there may be around 10. They are usually by the magnolia, whcih this cluster is, but some are showing up by the tulip tree, too.

New flower, back garden by clothesline, will add name later if I remember to check. Hope it does not taste good to bunnies.

Final image--hosta in wall garden. As Pat noted in a comment on an earlier post, not all hostal flowers are white. this one looks magical to me, due to soft colors on white background.

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