The garden is at arguably its least attractive phase at the moment. If I were a garden club sort of gardener, I could spruce it up significantly by getting out there and deadheading and pruning and perhaps plugging mums into the holes, but I’m a wildlife gardener, so it doesn’t happen. The black-eyed susans and the coneflower are withered black balls on dried stalks, but they bring in the goldfinches, the zinnias have become a leggy tangle crawling across the lawn, but they’re covered in tiger swallowtails and occasional monarchs, and the milkweed hosts an absurd riot of beetles, aphids, and assassin bugs, even though they’re pretty much just stems.
I swear to god, next year the swamp sunflowers get a plant cage to try and keep them in one mass, but the hummingbirds like it, despite its fallen form. I spotted a camouflaged looper on one, an inchworm that covers itself in flower petals or bits of leaf. Wouldn’t have ID’d it at all, but there was an article over at Wildlife Gardens that mentioned it, and I was delighted to find one the very next day.
I did do a little pruning–I’ve got no desire to see the blue vervain set seed, so I cut it back severely, and I cleared a couple of the densest tangles and discovered surprising treasures underneath–hey, look! Texas firecracker plant! I forgot I planted that, and here it is under the zinnias, trucking along despite the shade! And dude! The Texas ageratum is kickin’ ass under the goldenrod!–and hacked a bit more on The Silk Tree That Will Not Die. And I deadheaded the pink catmint, which is one of the seriously awesome plant finds I made at Niche Gardens this year–non-native, alas, but catmint is one of those fabulous uncomplaining plants that just sits there and produces nectar and toughs it out through any weather, and it’s welcome in any garden of mine. And the pink kind’ll take part shade. I can ask no more of a plant.
In another month, it may cool enough to finally get cracking on the big flowerbed installation that I have planned for this fall. (Hopefully by then, I will finally have finished re-painting the living room…)