Jul 182017

Bombus ternarius (AKA orange-belted bumblebee, or red-banded bumblebee) are bees common in Cheyenne, despite our harsh weather. They are single season (colony) bees, so a colony thrives in our hot summer and the new queen(s) hibernates through the winter. They are ground dwellers, so I’m sure that helps here.
Bombus Ternarius on echinacea.
This worker was on my single echinacea plant shortly after I found the other plants eaten. Should I say that? I mean, the remains of the asters told the tale, but the seedlings were gone, so I couldn’t have found them. They were conspicuous in their absence and I concluded what had happened to them. I could be wrong. They could have been abducted my aliens.


Some success has been had! One bee, one flower – good start.

Jul 082007

Perhaps too much zen and not enough gardening.

If you’ve been wondering what my initial WY gardening has looked like lately:

The tragedy that is my garlic.

Yeah, that’s my garlic up there. Totally flopped over, laying on the ground, yellowed and husky, begging me to end their torture and just GrassHog them to death and be done with it. No! I refuse! I will not give up. I will make this garlic live again! I watered it before leaving for work. Maybe tomorrow I can get up early and dig the plants up, move them to a bin with nice gentle soil in it and put them in less sun. I still suspect the 16 hours of full sunlight is too much for them. I have hope still. I am determined to have garlic as well.

On the other hand, the sunflowers MetalWork gave me are doing well.

The tragedy that is my garlic.

He gave me two sunflowers and two horseradish plants. The horseradish plants were a bit melodramatic when first transplanted; sprawling along the ground in the most grandiose fashion, appearing wilted whenever I checked on them. When they realized they were getting nothing more from me but a bit of water, they straightened up and began to grow as is becoming of horseradish – despite their pouting. The sunflowers however, those delicious sunflowers behaved exactly as one would expect a sunflower to behave. These sunflowers, ever prosaic, only took a day to readjust to the new sunlight and took to growing their small, green hearts out. I like that spirit!

I didn’t take a picture of Cleopatra since she looks mostly the same. Her blooms are nearly done now and bright petals litter our porch the way leaves do in the autumn. Also, now that I’ve had some time to observe the blooms, I have figured out the difference between the initial red and later pink. It is because of the sun! The more sun the blooms get, the pinker they are. The very first three or four blooms were undeniably red and all the later ones were bold pink. As time went on, all the top and outer pink blooms that got the most sun turned a lighter shade of pink. So neat.

I never did make it over to diva llama’s house for the sumac and daisy plants. I hope she is still willing to share. If you’re out there DL, we have to set up a time once and for all or we’ll just keep not doing it the rest of the year!

Jun 162007

I’m sure every one of you have been sorely missing the plant update (hah) so here you go:

Rose buds last week

As of last week, Cleopatra developed loads of buds. The buds appeared almost deep pink in color, but as they grew larger their red came out. We keep meaning to lattice Cleopatra, but she seems so content to bounce around in the breeze freely instead of being bound, helpless to a grid. Her long, prickly arms are arched over the front of the porch as though she were trying to grow to the door.


Rose blooms today.

The buds nearest the full sun and in the hottest areas have burst into full blooms. They are distinctly red and velvety. If all the buds bloom on the same schedule, we’ll have explosive roses all through the end of June. Lovely. I never considered myself a rose person and I dislike rose-based scents, but I am enjoying these flowers. Plus, no maintenance!

Metal Work gave me some vegetable plants to try my hand at. After spending an hour carving out four tiny holes in my backyard, I’m convinced I’ll need to create some raised beds for successful plant life on our lot. Wade did mention the whole neighborhood is gravel a bit down, but I thought he meant something more like several yards down. It could still be coincidence, but I swear I only have enough compacted soil to hold together all the rocks! No wonder the garlic plants aren’t getting any bigger. They’ve probably grown through all the soil I set up for them and have now encountered the rock barrier.

Also in the front yard, I found this bloom today:

Pink bloom today.

I don’t know what this plant is, but it has had three or four tightly wound, spherical buds growing at the top for weeks now. Every time I’ve looked, except once when it was raining, I’ve found ants congregating on the buds, so it must be tasty. Today, thick layers of this single flower showed themselves.

The pretty plants are doing well, but the grass is toast. As in toasted. Dead. Hay. I suppose we’ll have to water the damn stuff until we have enough time and money to dig it all up and properly xeriscape the area. [Pronounced zer ee scape, BTW, not zeroscape!] And we need trees, dammit. This full sun on the front of the house thing is not cool, literally.

May 242007

I know you’re all just dying to know the status of the plants at our house. So here you go:

Another garlic update.

The garlic is going strong. It is looking a tad droopy, possibly due to the last three days of chill we’ve had, but the color is good and they still seem to be growing. That one in the near middle of the first row (about plant number seven or eight) is the one squirrels dug up, which I replanted. It is growing fine, it’s just behind schedule compared to its neighbors.

Another garlic update.

We still haven’t latticed Cleopatra. We’ve been using the house improvement budget on the upcoming bedroom. She doesn’t seem to mind, she is busy growing new, lush leaves and tiny, fresh thorns. She is probably laying in plans to bite off bits of flesh from us when we’re not paying attention. Slick keeps mentioning that we should fertilize her with human blood, but I tend to think we shouldn’t encourage her when we have so many delivery people coming by so often.

May 072007
The garlic continues to grow.

I am eagerly watching the garlic’s progress. One row is the hard necked variety, the other row is the soft neck. I don’t remember which row is which. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out in a few months when they are more than stalks. I think this weekend I will get some more planty things. We’re close enough with the weather now that it is worth the gamble. I’m thinking of a pizza garden. I hear tomatoes grow well here.

Cleopatra, the man-eating rosebush.

Cleopatra is growing lots of greenery. This makes her thorns less of a danger, but we’re still going to lattice her. She only had one bloom left when we moved in and I believe it was pink. At some point this year I’m hoping to figure out how to splice off new plants from the big one.

Apr 022007

Remember the garlic bulbs I put in the ground last fall as the weather chilled me thoroughly?

Garlic coming to life.

Yea! Here comes garlic. One was dug up by sneaky squirrels, but they didn’t take it so I put it back in the ground and maybe it will continue growing. It does have a small sprout coming out, so it may eventually catch up with the other plants. I’m making garlic!! I put stuff in the ground and it is growing!! Woot!

Cleopatra the biting rosebush coming to life.

Cleopatra, the aggressive rosebush at our front porch, is also sprouting new leaves. We have plans to lattice her so that she does not bite us quite so often.

Yea spring! It is lovely.

Oct 302006

Okay, I know this doesn’t count as a real post since it doesn’t have a combination of pictures and words, but it is going up anyway. You guys know how much I like to learn from the mistakes of others as well as share my many mishaps so that you, you dear readers, can avoid my silly fates.

So, here goes. If you’re going to order heirloom garlic from an awesome organic and heirloom company which is delivered in early fall (hard to judge since Wyoming has exactly 2.5 weeks of autumn), then you should really plant it when it arrives. If you don’t because you are, oh I don’t know, buying a house, losing a house, buying another house and moving over the period that encloses autumn while taking classes and having no spare time, then you’re just going to have to plant it at the end of fall. Like today. The good news is that garlic likes the cold. Further good news is that when you’re out working in your hard, rocky, but rich soil and your legs go numb from the cold, they will stop hurting. Cool, huh?

Also, you may want to separate the cloves out in the comfort and warmth of your home, inside, instead of sitting on the nearly frozen ground trying to do it with gloved, numb fingers and a garden tool. Maybe.

It has been 15 minutes and I’m just starting to feel the flesh on my thighs. And tomorrow, I’m going to try to put in the iris bulbs.

Now, I’m off to buy a copius amount of Halloween decorations and put them all up tomorrow. Yes, on Halloween. It still counts, dammit!

Ymabean, I need a drink. Are you off work yet?!?

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