Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wildflower Plantings

I didn't get a chance to visit the health club today, so I took my 2-mile walk up the road instead. Along the way I noticed there was some Stiff Goldenrod growing in the roadside ditch. I've been wanting to get some of this for my backyard for quite a while -- the flowers are an excellent source of nectar and very attractive to butterflies and bees. I dug up at least 8 plants from the ditch. I also dug up some sunflowers -- Woodland Sunflowers, I think. My plan was to put all of these plants out in that wild, unmowed acre of my backyard.

I also found and dug up several of these interesting looking plants. The seed pod on them led me to believe they were some sort of milkweed. When I cracked open one of the seed pods, they definitely looked like milkweed seeds inside. What do you think?
After I got everything planted and came back in to my computer, I went to the MonarchWatch website because they have photos of all the different varieties of milkweeds. To me this plant looked exactly like Plains Milkweed, which supposedly is not found in Minnesota. OK, now I was really curious, so I googled "Plains Milkweed" and here's what I found on the USDA Plants Database website for Plains Milkweed. Check out the range map on this website -- it also shows this plant is not found in Minnesota! I got all 4 plants in the ground and marked so I'll be able to check and see if they make it through the winter. I hope they do because I want to see if it grows and spreads on its own and how attractive it will be for the monarch caterpillars and other butterflies and insects next spring.

Most of the wildflowers I've planted previously in this wild acre haven't survived (the soil is really crappy), but I was happy to see that this plant and another just like it had survived and were thriving. It's one of the hyssops and the leaves have a wonderful sweet minty-licorice scent when you rub them between your fingers.

While I walking through the tall grass searching for spots to plant my new wildflowers, I noticed there were lots of spider webs created and populated by these beautiful Banded Garden Spiders.
The webs were hard to spot in the bright afternoon sunshine and I hope I didn't accidentally destroy any of them.

It was a beautiful afternoon to be outdoors, a light breeze, and about 65 degrees. The only negative thing was the swarms of hungry mosquitoes just waiting for me to walk through the tall grass. Where are those dragonflies when you need them?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

What a cool collection of plants you found! I hope they like your yard. The mosquitos have been TERRIBLE this week!

Gaelyn said...

I like this exercise idea a whole lot better than a health club.

Here we collect wildflower seeds for re-vegetating. I'd like to plant some at my winter home. Even thinking of trying to transplant a couple Aspens.

Already feels like fall. Down to 33F tomorrow night. So the Aspen should start to turn gold soon.

Jayne said...

Sounds like a pretty good workout to me Ruthie! My wild goldenrod is just starting to come into bloom. Looking forward to seeing what will visit.

Danielle said...

thank you for identifying one of my plants! i have hyssop volunteering everywhere (the interwebs say this version is Anise Hyssop), and I've always thought it was just a weedy version of catmint.... but now I know. And gold finches ADORE the stuff; I've counted up to 10 little finches in a patch of no bigger than 2'x2'!

Guinifer said...

I don't know if you get the Star Tribune, but there was an article today about the Monarch migration and putting the little stickers on the butterfly's wings.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lynne. I hope they like the yard too. I wanted to get them planted in advance of the predicted rainfall and was happy we had nice showers for most of the morning (at least now I won't have to haul watering cans all the way down there!)

Hi Gaelyn,
The health club is about 5 minutes away from work and I usually stop there before I go home. It was especially nice this summer when it was so darn hot and I think it will be nice this winter too, but I ended up working late yesterday and needed to get right home.
I've had better luck with transplants than wildflower seeds, but I think my poor soil is part of the problem too. I've had great luck transplanting aspens. From the original 10 or so I planted many years ago, I now have a dense grove that all the wildlife and birds love. I mowed a few paths through it and it's one of my favorite places to visit in the backyard.
Hope you're staying warm!

I'll look forward to seeing photos of butterflies on your goldenrod flowers Jayne!

You're welcome Danielle! Glad I could help! My plants are still pretty short and I didn't see any finches around them, but it's nice to know they will spread and I'm looking forward to that.

Hi Guinifer,
No I don't get the Star-Tribune, but have the link to their website, so I'm going to check out that article. Thanks for the heads-up!

Meggie said...

Hey Ruthie! I heard the Ditch Police were looking for the crazy lady who was digging up weeds in the nearby ditch. Do you know anything about that?