Things are going pretty well in the Firefly Cottage gardens overall. The flowers and ornamentals I sowed and planted are really doing quite well – I’m so happy that so many of the Dollar Store clearance bin seeds from last year germinated.
I haven’t grown Zinnias before and I love them! Pollinators seem to love them, too, and I’m hoping to be able to save seeds for next year.
So many of them remind me of ladies’ hats from yore.
The Cosmos have also been growing really exuberantly – some of these are almost as tall as I am!
This is Celosia, which I haven’t grown before:
I actually think I weeded some of this when it was young because it looked weedy and I couldn’t identify it! D’oh! At this stage, you can so tell it’s related to Amaranth, can’t you?
I also planted a bunch of seeds around the house and the Petunias have been really going to town:
I am usually not a huge fan of these annuals – I like perennials since they just keep on going and require so much less from me – BUT I am seeing so many pollinators that I think I may change my attitude.
In the raised bed, I have had a powdery mildew issue. I have been almost entirely ignoring this garden except to pick the occasional cucumber, though, so I guess I can’t complain.
I do have two sizeable pumpkins growing, though, so maybe the powdery mildew isn’t such a big deal?
I wonder if they’ll turn out okay!
I sowed marigold seeds all around the perimeter of this bed and some of them are huge!
This one is easily over four feet tall! Most of the rest are somewhere between one and two feet tall.
Lastly for now, I also threw down some dill seeds on the north side of the garage and there are a few sprouts:
I just love the smell of dill, don’t you?
This book promises to help you “design an abundant, flower-filled yard that nurtures bees and supports biodiversity.” That sounds pretty good to me! The book lives up to its promise. Filled with easy-to-digest information and lovely photos of flourishing gardens, The Bee-Friendly Garden provides a wonderful start for a new gardener as well as inspiration and ideas for someone more experienced. As I am embarking on the design of the gardens at Firefly Cottage, I am sort of both – experienced but starting a brand new project pretty much from scratch. Throughout the book, the authors emphasize that a bee-friendly garden is a healthy garden and offers info on all the types of bees that we depend on and all the many things that we depend on them to do. I often think that the best plants for bees are perennial native plants, but there is also information here about annuals and using flowering bee-friendly plants in the vegetable garden. Reading through this, I can’t wait to work more on my garden plan. I am really excited about establishing a healthy, pollinator-attracting space!
Allium are one of my favorite things to grow. The seeds are super easy to save and they bloom reliably without much attention. Because of these things, I have quite a lot of Allium in the gardens!
One of their not-quite-as-awesome features is that they attract a lot of flies, because – did you know? – flies pollinate Allium! So when I go to take pictures I have to shoo them away every few minutes. As much as I appreciate the pollination and that every creature plays a part in the garden ecosystem, they aren’t very cute!
One of my favorite weird-ish things about Allium are that they will often send up one extra-long shoot, like the one pictured below. This gives them a little bit of Seussiness to my eye. Makes for a neat bokeh shot, too.
Has anyone heard of mason bees before? I just came across this Mason Bee Nest in the Gardens Alive catalog, which claims that mason bees are non-stinging, very efficient pollinators. Knowing as little as I do about insects, I could have them already in my garden, but I’m wondering if a bee house like this would be worthwhile. If anyone knows more, please share.