Tag Archives: Swamp Sunflower

Company In The Garden

Among the bees and many other insects enjoying Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) today were many beautiful Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). I think these are female but am not sure.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Swamp Sunflower is a native plant but spreads too easily and is difficult to control. I did manage to dig up one new section of this plant that had begun to grow. It is hard to deal ruthlessly with this or any plant that is blooming with such sunshine and cheer.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Bees on Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

It was nice to have such interesting company in the garden today as I continued digging out errant mounds of common daylilies. I keep hoping I am not also mistakenly taking out irises that I thought were growing in this area as well.

Hemerocallis fulva) (Tawny Daylily)

Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper) waiting to be planted

I am trying to clear out enough room to plant some new evergreen trees, additions that should provide much needed verticality and year-round structure to the northern border.

The trees, Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper), were purchased on a whim more than a few weeks ago.

I know well that I should never buy anything without having a place already prepared where I can plant them right away. Being such an undisciplined gardener it is a lesson I learn and apparently ignore over and over.

Early October Garden

Days of cool rain marked the year’s transition from September to October. The harvest moon remained hidden behind deep clouds.

Yesterday, temperatures and humidity rose dramatically. This afternoon the sun broke through the clouds lifting the temperature to 86F, quite a change from highs in the mid-sixties at the weekend.

Certain signs of autumn belie today’s warm weather. Berries now adorn the Flowering Dogwood, whose leaves had already browned in July’s extended dry spell.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

A windblown spire of Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) rests against of Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop). The Salvia’s pink calyx reflects the ruddy, rusty hue of the flowering Stonecrop.

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A multicolored flower petal of ‘Blue Sky’ Salvia sits suspended in a spider’s complex world.

‘Blue Sky’ Flower In Spider’s Web

The burgundy Chrysanthemum in the background has bloomed most of the summer and now complements the rose-colored wisps of fall-blooming Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In the foreground stands a spent stalk of Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage).

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Chrysanthemum, Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Blue-violet Ageratum brightens a dark corner of the garden.

Ageratum

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), became very aggressive and was theoretically removed from the garden a few years ago. Unaware of its banished status, it displays brilliant yellow blossoms annually.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The annual, Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon), has bloomed throughout the summer among the stepping stones of the meditation circle.

Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon)

The meditation circle itself is soggy this week and needs attention.

Pine-bark mulch now sits in drifts, having been swept across the stone paths during the recent heavy rainfalls.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) still performs satisfactorily, while generous green mounds of Thyme surpass expectations.

Unfortunately other evergreen perennials that were chosen specifically for their drought-tolerance, Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) and ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemon (Beardtongue), are brown and may not recover. ‘Purity’ was beautiful all winter and spring and ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ was lovely in spring, but both choices will need to be reevaluated for long-term performance.

Swamp Sunflower

Near where the Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ performed so poorly this year, I spotted a pretty bit of yellow in the garden.

Thinking I had overlooked a rudbeckia stalk or two when cleaning up that area a few weeks ago, I optimistically went out to investigate. To my dismay I immediately recognized the beautiful golden yellow flower was not ‘Irish Eyes’ at all.

Swamp Sunflower. It was swamp sunflower again.  A tall perennial that grows along roadsides, I innocently accepted one from a friend at a plant exchange possibly eight years ago.

Soon I learned that under the right conditions, swamp sunflower can spread by underground rhizomes and be potentially invasive. This perennial sunflower quickly became much too happy in the garden, so I have been pulling it out for years.

It does have a pretty flower though. A few days. I will give it just a few days.