A Calendar of Gardening Blog Memes

When I began preparing to host a garden blogging meme, I only knew of a couple of memes and didn’t realize how many active garden blogging memes there are.   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Memes are fun!  Memes promote a sense of community and nurture the artistic and scientific aspects of gardening and related interests.  Garden memes are educational.

I guess I must have said something about how many gardening memes exist in the blogosphere to The Husband and Tech Support guy and, well, he developed a widget, (ahem, with my help), that I can now add to my blog as a link to a list of currently active garden blogging memes.

The debut of the Calendar of Garden Blogging memes is today!  If you look to the right, you’ll see a the lovely native Texan Goldeneye which, when you click on it, will bring you to this page.

There may be other active blogging memes that I missed and that are not on this list: no slight is intended–I’ve included the memes I know about and that are currently active. If you know of other active memes, please don’t hesitate to contact me with the pertinent information, either through the handy-dandy little blue envelope (the one that says, contact me), or through the comments section.

Happy meme-ing!

Below is a list of current garden blog memes and their dates, the hosts, and their websites :

 

Date Nam e Description URL Sponsor
Mondays In a Vase on Monday Showcasing flowers from gardeners’ gardens http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/ Cathy
Wednesdays Wordless Wednesday Showcasing photos, no text None
Weekly Nature Notes Showcasing the natural world http://ramblingwoods.com/ Michelle
1st of Month Wide Shot Meme Wide view garden shots, showcasing change http://xericstyle.wordpress.com/ Heather Ginsburg
7th of the Month Tree Following Showcasing a chosen tree, monthly http://looseandleafy.blogspot.com/ Lucy Corrander
15th of Month Bloom Day Showcasing current blooming plants http://www.maydreamsgardens.com Carol Michel
16th of Month Foliage Follow-Up Showcasing foliage in the garden http://www.penick.net/digging Pam Penick
22nd of Month Garden Bloggers Foliage Day Showcasing foliage in the garden http://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/ Christina
First Wednesday Wildlife Wednesday Showcasing garden wildlife http://www.mygardenersays.com Tina Huckabee
Fourth Wednesday Wildflower Wednesday Showcasing wildflowers & native plants http://www.clayandlimestone.com Gail Eichelberger
Quarterly Lessons Learned Showcasing lessons learned in the garden http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/ Beth Stetenfeld
Quarterly Seasonal Celebrations Showcasing seasonal change in the garden http://gardenseyeview.com/ Donna

If you would like to add this widget,

to your blog, follow these directions:

Copy and paste the following html in the appropriate admin section of your blog :

<a href="http://mygardenersays.com/2014/10/30/a-calendar-of-gardening-blog-memes/" target="_blank">
<img src="http://mygardenersays.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/calendarofgardenblogmemes175.jpg"/></a>

Blue Mistflower(s)

This is Blue MistflowerConoclinium coelestinum.  

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This is also a blue mistflower,

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…except that it’s Gregg’s MistflowerConoclinium greggii.  From the shared Latin name, Conoclinium, it’s obvious that these two lovelies are related.

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Both Blue Mistflower and Gregg Mistflower are in the Asteraceae, or Aster, family of plants and both are native Texas groundcovers.  Blooming in August until the first light freeze, these mistflowers are desirable pollinator plants, easy to grow, and downright pretty.

I planted the Blue Mistflower many years ago in a different spot from this,IMGP1851.new

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…and loved it.  About five years ago, as spring arrived, only about ten “sprigs” emerged from winter dormancy.  I was in major garden redo mode, so I pulled those few surviving sprigs up and replanted them.

IMGP1508.new The leaves are dark green and slightly serrated, with fuzzy, rich blue-violet flowers atop the branches.

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The color of the photos doesn’t translate well, but Blue Mistflower is quite striking in full bloom.

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The Gregg’s Mistflower is a newer addition in my gardens, though it’s more commonly planted in Austin gardens than the Blue.

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I’ve only grown the Gregg’s for about three years.  It’s an excellent attractor of pollinators–bees, butterflies, and moths are constantly working these flowers.

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The flowers are similar to the Blue, though a lighter blue with a hint of lavender,

IMGP1486.new …and the leaves bright green and deeply lobed.  Another common name for Gregg’s is Palmleaf Mistflower, because of this lobed characteristic.

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These two mistflower species are members of the autumn cast of garden performers here in Texas.  They provide nectar for pollinators,

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and visual pleasure for gardeners.

 

Caterpillar Happenings

This is one of my fennel plants.
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These are the cause of why my fennel plant looks like it looks.

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And these,

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…and these.

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Actually, they’re all the same caterpillars. They ate fennel and they grew; caterpillars are like that. There were ten Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, butterfly larvae dining on this fennel over the past week or so.

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Eating and eating, until there’s nothing left,

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…except defoliated stems and hiding caterpillars,

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…ready for metamorphosis in their cozy chrysalides. I guess I should make that singular,

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…because from all those caterpillars, this is the only chrysalis that I’ve found.

I’m sure the others are nearby, safe from munching predators. I’ll keep an open eye for the emerging butterflies during this next week.

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Texas Native Plant Week-Garden Vignettes

As Texas Native Plant Week concludes, I’ll share one last look at my use of native plants. The great thing about gardening (well, one of the great things about gardening), is that it’s a venture in which education is continual.  There’s always an unknown plant to learn about or a new way of viewing gardening space.   In designing gardens, there are endless combinations to experiment with.  And as the home landscape evolves and requires change, those challenges present opportunities for further learning and experimenting.  One isn’t required to use natives exclusively, but once you invite native plants to your garden party, you experience the aha moment of understanding: native plants work.

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Define your plot of the Earth as Texan–use as many native Texas plants in your home landscape as possible and encourage your neighbors to do the same.  If you live elsewhere, use your native plants to express the beauty of your unique place.

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Save  money and time by planting natives which conserve water and don’t require pesticides or herbicides.  Rid yourself of the expense and hassle of chemicals and products that you don’t need when working in the garden.

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Plant natives to attract wildlife–you’ll enjoy the many wild visitors you receive when you nurture them by planting appropriately.  There’s no reason we can’t share our space with the plants and critters who are native, who belong here, and whose survival we want to ensure.

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Within the parameters of our personal properties, we make compromises: maybe we have such blasting sun that all we want are the meanest and toughest cacti and agave–and that’s okay.  Perhaps we live in shade and dappled shade and must content ourselves with a more limited garden palette.  Whatever the space, native plants can and should play the starring role in any garden.

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A total transformation from a “traditional” landscape of turf and shrubs to a “regionally
appropriate” blooming garden doesn’t happen during a weekend warrior marathon of work; the process can take years. You will make mistakes; I’ve certainly made lots of mistakes in my gardens–that’s how I’ve learned. Start small: for example, ridding your hellstrip grass between the sidewalk and street and planting tough perennials instead. Or, install a wildlife garden at the corner of your lot with native and seasonally interesting plants that attract pollinators and replacing the water-guzzling turf which feeds nothing. By adding a garden or two, once or twice a year, eventually you’ll  increase the biological diversity of your space and conserve water too. Then as time permits, you change and augment those gardens.  Before you know it, you’re mowing, watering, and tending less and enjoying the beauty and bounty of your native gardens more.

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And you helped to heal the Earth,  just a little.

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Gardening is about personal expression as much as food production or providing for wildlife. A garden should to tell your particular story, reflecting who you are–your interests, values, and aesthetics.  Perhaps my gardening style isn’t to your taste or right for your garden, but I hope the results of my journey transforming a high-maintenance, water-hogging turf “yard” to a wildlife-friendly, water-wise, and Texan garden will encourage you to do something similar.

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Texas Native Plant Week-Autumn Stuff

For this weeklong recognition and appreciation of native Texas plants, I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with using favorite perennial bloomers, trees and shrubs.  Because it’s October and not March or April, I’ve focused on plants which are doing something now.  Like other places, we in Texas enjoy our beautiful spring blooming plants, but we also admire those plants that take over the blooming work in the long, hot summer, and we glory in  our “second spring,” also known as autumn.  Many Texas native shrubs and perennials blossom throughout our long growing season, with resting periods between bloom cycles. Plus, our Texas plants take a well-deserved hiatus during the height and heat of summer–late July through August.  Hunkering down is often the phrase used to describe that 8-10 week period of relentless heat and little, if any, rainfall.

And that’s during a “normal” year.

As we’re now enjoying our autumn blooms, today’s post is about the plants that are known specifically as fall performers.  These plants are attractive during the other times of the year, but it’s in the autumn, September through November, that they are the stars, the divas, the lead actors on the garden stage.  So enjoy the photo tour and remember–you too can plant and successfully grow these and many others in your gardens!  All of these plants are carefree and low maintenance.

Check out your local nursery, online native seed sources like Wildseed Farms and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for more information.

 

Frostweed, Verbesina virginicaIMGP0842_cropped_3461x2848..new

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Fall Aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

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Big Muhly, Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

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Gregg’s MistflowerConoclinium greggii

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Blue MistflowerConoclinium coelestinum

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Texas CraglilyEcheandia texensis

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White MistflowerAgeratina havanensis

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GoldeneyeViguiera dentata

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Cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens

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Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria

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Possumhaw HollyIlex decidua 

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American BeautyberryCallicarpa americanaP1070184.new

These are the “fall” plants in my garden.  By no means is this a complete invoice of plants whose performance peaks in the autumn months–it’s simply what I grow and have room for in my gardens.  As with the rest of the calendar year in Texas, there are many more beauties for the gardener to choose from.

Go forth, Texas gardeners–plant natives!