A Kansas Country Garden - Fourth Week of May

Big news in our yard! The eggs have hatched and we have keets (baby guineas).
Throughout the week, when I head for the garden, I bring my camera, too and snap a few photos for this blog. Its not until the weekend that I sit down at the computer to download the photographs and see what I really have. Sometimes I am astounded what my simple camera has captured. This week, not so much. Still, I place them here to show what is blooming in my garden as spring fast-forwards into summer.
Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa, lives up to its name and attracts quite a few butterflies.
If the army worms had had their way, there would be no lily blooms. Read here about what it took to save them.
Though not completely damage free, these white lilies are still lovely.
Pink Missouri Primrose, Oenothera speciosa, blooms beside a blue larkspur. The primrose are not as profuse this year as they have been in the past.

 Stella de Oro Daylily, Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’, are the first and perhaps the last daylily to bloom. You often see this flower in commercial landscaping.

Yellow yarrow, Achillea, glows at dusk. It is a long lasting flower that dries well. 
I call these baby hollyhocks, but I believe the proper name is Malva Zebrina. They are a cheerful plant that tends to reseed.

The foamy beauty of German Statice, Limonium tataricum, adds grace to the garden. Wonderful filler in bouquets, it also dries well.

Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia Uvaria, is an interesting flower. Their bloom time is relatively short.
Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, is a medicinal herb, but I love it for its little happy flowers.

And from the vegetable garden . . .

We are enjoying new potatoes with their delicate flavor and skins. They are getting a quick rinse in the kitchen sink.

A Kansas Country Garden - Third Week of May

Many years ago I transplanted a few larkspur from my mother's garden. In her garden they were always blue and in the beginning they were always blue in my garden, too. A few years ago, they began to mutate and now some are a pinkish color or white in addition to the blue. At first, I pulled up the new colors, but soon gave up. I'll take them all, but I will still think of mom when I see the blue ones.
I love the cheerful "baby daisy" look of  Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium.
Pink "Fairy" roses contrast with these purple/blue bell-like flowers.
You never know just where larkspur might decide to bloom.
Yellow yarrow has begun its bloom and in the distance you can see the pink Missouri Primrose, one of my favorite flowers, also just beginning its bloom time.
A Heritage David Austin rose is last of the first flush of rose blooms.
 Blue Love-in-a-mist, nigella damascena is a nice companion to the feverfew.
A beautiful "true blue" shade, love-in-a-mist, nigella damascena, also has an attractive seed pod and self sows.
Sweet scented honeysuckle blooms by the mailbox.


Verbena bonariensis is a tall, leggy, swaying flower. It often overwinters and self seeds, a great country garden addition.
In the Vegetable Garden
Nothing quite compares with new potatoes, fresh out of the garden and eaten on the same day that they were dug. We had our first this week.

A Kansas Country Garden-Second Week of May

After the frenzy of flowers passes--poppies, iris, peonies and iris with their blooms abbreviated in the unseasonably warm spring temperatures, the garden takes a collective breath and rests for a bit before summer brings new blooms. Its been a tough week in the garden. The army worms have done definite damage. We did some selective spraying to save a few choice plants, but will accept some losses. Something has damaged the some of the iris, with leaves gnawed off at the base. Army worms? Or something else? I'm not sure. Its a bit of a mystery why certain plants were attacked while others of the same variety in other locations were not. We'll see what the next weeks bring. 


Flower in bloom now seem peaceful and calm.

These lovely purple flowers with bell shaped petals have spread over the years.
This miniature rose is called "The Fairy".
A pocket of color.
Purple and pink makes a pretty combination.
The Star Onion, Allium christophii, adds interest to the garden even after it finishes blooming.
Coriander or Cilantro in bloom has a lovely scent and attracts butterflies and bees.

Sedum is grown mostly for its foliage as a ground cover, but it does have a pretty bloom.
Blue larkspur reminds me of my mother who gave me my first plants. You only need to plant them once as they reseed prolifically.
Something edible in the Garden
The mulberries have begun to ripen.
Birds in the Garden
Edna, our guinea has been faithfully sitting on her nest for several weeks. She rarely leaves it now and is not eating much so we think the eggs may be close to hatching. Good luck, Edna!

Mother to Mother

For my mother, Lillian Epp
Written for Mother's Day in 1999


Mama and me


Now I know just what you gave me
when your body ached with weariness
and you longed to go to bed,
but you heard your baby crying
and came to comfort me instead.


Mom and me in the garden


Now I know just what you gave me,
how you worked to make a home
when you fixed a thousand meals a year,
washed, sewed, cleaned and taught us, too.
And words of thanks were seldom heard.


Our little family in front of the original Crestview Bible Church building.


Now I know just what you gave me
when you made sure I was in church,
taught me all about Jesus; lived your faith in every way.
You never let me doubt, I knew it must be true
because your life reflected everything you used to say.

On my wedding day.


Now I know just what you gave,
and I know I can't return it all, no matter how I try.
But you know your precious grandsons - -
the ones who call me "Mom"?
I've taken what you gave me and I'm giving it to them.
Mom with her first grandchildren, Jesse and Sheree.


Still missed! Mom has been in heaven since 2000. 

A Kansas Country Garden - First Week of May

The peony bushes were not full, but the individual flowers are beautiful
When I showed a student some photographs of iris, she asked, "Are those the flowers that wear dresses?". Iris and peonies make a lovely combination.
Note to self: Do NOT drink caffeinated tea after 1 p.m. again. Ever. You know why. But, if I had followed my own good advice on Friday, well, I might have not been quite so alert for some nocturnal garden adventures.  
We've had an invasion of "miller moths".  Annoying? Yes.  But miller moths lay eggs that hatch into army worms and they are much more than annoying. They may be evil.
Temperatures in the 90's meant fleeting bloom for peonies.
I discovered the army worms as I was watering at dusk. Some plants didn't look so good.  By the time I'd gone inside and googled them, it was dark. The news was not good. Army worms come out at night to do their damage. They were just beginning. Wait until morning to do something? Would there be anything left?


A perfect rose. It is a David Austin Rose, but I am not certain which variety.
This is also a David Austin rose. The bush is quite short.
Flashlight in hand, I returned to the garden. It was even worse than anticipated. The lilies! Worms, lots of them, were munching on the leaves and the buds that were just beginning to swell. NO! Not the lilies. You shall not eat the lilies! (think Gandalf's "You shall not pass.") And do you know what I did? (Stop reading now if you're squeamish.) I squished them. Yes, I did. Mild mannered, nature loving me. Wearing plastic coated gloves,  I grabbed them between the left hand thumb and forefinger and applied just a little pressure. No more lily eating for them.
We interrupt the photos of roses for this not-so-pretty photo of an army worm on the lilies. You can see that the worms caused quite a bit of damage to the foliage, but I am hopeful that I will still have some blooms.




This bush blooms only once, draping over the fence.

Hours latter, lying in bed, wide awake, but trying to sleep, I heard a chicken. Oh, surely not.  Then I heard it again. It didn't sound unhappy. However, a few months ago, dogs got through a fence into our barn and chicken pen and killed  almost all our chickens. Mike has been slowly rebuilding the flock. We often comment that if we had been able to hear what was happening in the chicken pen, perhaps disaster could have been averted. And now I was hearing a chicken. Probably that should be checked out. Beside me my husband slumbered. Thoughts of waking him were dismissed. I slipped on my garden clogs and went out to investigate. A full moon lit the way, but I had also grabbed a flashlight. 

Fragrant Sweet Briar Rose, Rosa eglanteria, wanders like the wild rose it is.

There wasn't much to see. All was quiet except for two chickens strolling around in their pen. Banished to the outside pen because of behavior or lack of egg laying, they couldn't go into the barn. Evidently the full moon had deceived them and they were just enjoying the weather. No danger as far as I could tell. 

Before returning to the house, I thought again of the lilies. Had I saved them? Not entirely. There were a few more army worms on them. I returned to the house for my plastic coated garden gloves and took care to them, too. 
This is a David Austin Heritage Rose.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an exciting night in a Kansas Country Garden. One I might miss next time if I stay away from that caffeinated iced tea!




This old-fashioned rose has a brief bloom.
A pink rose.
Rose bushes on the east side of the house do quite well.


Blue salvia has a long bloom time.
Allium Christophii, Star Onion, have multiplied over the years. After blooming, the seed head still adds interest to the garden.

Not invited, but who wouldn't welcome a flower called the Prairie Wine-cup or Buffalo Rose (callirhoe ivolucrata)? This wildflower can be purchased from mail-order catalogs now.
A butterfly visits a blooming shrub.