Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today's post is about treats: for the eyes and the tummy.

First are the treats for the eyes: my wildflower garden

There are lots of purple coneflowers and brown-eyed Susans, but I also have some Queen Anne's Lace, green-headed coneflowers, alyssum, ox-eye daisies (earlier in spring), Joe-Pye weed, rough blazing star, and lots of pink and purple asters (blooming later in August and September). It's a bird and butterfly paradise.

I love what this wildflower garden has turned into and every year I let it spread a little further out into the yard.
This garden is a wonderful reminder of what I have to look forward to after winter has left us.

Second, are the treats for the tummy: mulberries!

For the first time ever, I have more mulberries than the cedar waxwings, robins, and gray catbirds can eat. I picked a little dishful this afternoon and I think they're going to taste just yummy on some sugar-free vanilla or tapioca pudding. They are so sweet right off the tree and some of them are just huge. A pretty good yield from what's supposed to be a Zone 5 tree.


I found this notice in my e-mail In-Box when I got home today:

"We are pleased to inform you that your Monarch Waystation application
is currently being processed. The milkweed and nectar flower habitat
you have created for monarch butterflies will be registered and
certified as a Monarch Waystation - congratulations!
You will receive your certificate and site ID via mail soon."

Official recognition for all my efforts. How cool is that?


MOM said...

The wildflower garden is just breathtaking, it really has erupted in flowers. As for those mulberries,I think they would taste good on plain old vanilla ice cream. I'll come and bring a big spoon, what a treat!!!

ABQ-B-Fly Guy said...

Congrats Ruthie on the Monarch Watch Waystation approval!!! GREAT JOB! Joe Pye Weed! I love joe pye weed. I wish I lived on some acreage so that I could plant fields of it. I have 4 planted around the house. Easily my favorite plant!

Are mulberries different then blackberries?

Keep us updated on the Monarchs!


Lynne said...

Ruthie- the monarch waystation certification is SO COOL!! Congratulations!!
Love your wildflower garden- wish I had room for one. The photos in summer and winter of the same landscape with the dog is really neat!
I have a few mulberry trees in my yard but as soon as the berries are barely pink, the squirrels get them! I hope to pick a few ripe ones some day.

Body Soul Spirit said...

I love your garden and the summer/ winter pictures. My coneflowers are very stunted this year due to lack of rain. I can't say I ever seen or eaten a mulberry.

Jayne said...

What a spectacular wildflower garden Ruthie! Congrats on the Waystation designation too!

MOM said...

Congrats on being a Monarch waystation. We're glad this happened to you, isn't it fun to be chosen. We'll be watching as this ranch continues to grow.

Mary said...

Congratulations on the Monarch waystation designation, Ruth! I wouldn't say it's a result of your hard work - more like a result of your love of nature and know-how!

Those mulberries look good to top off a dish of ice cream...

I don't have much space for a field of wildflowers but if I did, it would be a pleasure.

Mary C said...

Congrats, Ruthie, on getting certified as a Monarch Way Station! That is so cool. Great wildflowers growing, too. Isn't that prettier than just plain ol' grass? I wish more folks would learn that it's good to have wildflowers growing in their yards.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Ruthie - The waystation thing is so very cool. I had no idea there was an official program. I want to know more!!!

And I am in love with your wildflower garden. I always thought those types of fields actually took work. Do you have a description of how you did it somewhere I can find it?

I just returned from Chicago where I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. I'm posting photos, so I hope you'll come visit.

Glad to be back!

--Robin (Bumblebee)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I ended up having them on vanilla ice cream that we got for FREE with our Kwik Trip coupon. They were delicious and there are still enough left for you!

Hi Ron,
When I visited the butterfly house at the MN Zoo, they had some Joe Pye weed that was almost 10 feet tall! WOW! My plants are not quite 5 feet (they have to start over every spring.)

The mulberries taste different than raspberries (milder) and are more grape-like in shape.

Hi Lynne,
Squirrels like mulberries too? I guess mine haven't discovered the treat yet.

If my yard was a little smaller, I would plant the whole thing in prairie flowers and grasses.

Hi Ruth,
I thought the winter one would be fun to throw in when it's so hot these days. Now that you mention it, my coneflowers are a little shorter than previous summers also.

Hi Jayne,
Thank you. I started this garden over 10 years ago, so it's taken a while to get to this point, but it was so worth it (monarchs love it too!)

Hi Mary,
I was so anxious to eat the ice cream and berries that I never took the time to take a picture. You'll have to take my word for it...very Yummy!

Hi Mary C,
I know of some people in Rochester that planted their front yards in wildflowers and then got citations from the city for not mowing their lawn! It's hard to get people to change their thinking sometimes. Thankfully, we're all enlightened people in this blogosphere!

Hi Robin,
Yea, you're back from Chicago. I hope you had a good trip. I look forward to seeing your pictures.

Please go to for more information on the Monarch Waystation program (lots of other good monarch information too).

My backyard is a National Wildlife Federation certified backyard wildlife habitat. I hope to do a couple blog posts about this in the not too distant future.

Larry said...

Those Mulberries look great!-Do they taste like rasberries?-Always wanted to try a wildflower garden but haven't done it yet-I have a package of seeds never opened in my garage.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
The mulberries taste a little milder than raspberries. They have a tough little stem that's kinda hard to get out and they really STAIN your fingers. The darker they are, the yummier and sweeter they are.

There are two ways to do wildflowers and I did it the easy way. I will try to do a post on wildflower gardening within the next couple weeks. My neighbor has a prairie garden and I'll go see him to get some pictures so my post can show the differences.

Jennifer said...

I got a hearty chuckle out of the two seasons of dog photos.

Congratulations on the Monarch Waystation designation. Your yard is gorgeous! I wish I could see it in person.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jennifer,
The dog and pheasant statues are my snow gauges in winter. That wintry photo was taken on 3/10/07 and only a few months later I had all these flowers!

Anytime you're in the Rochester, MN area, please feel free to stop by! :-)

Larry said...

Thanks for the info-I'll be looking for your post.