I thoroughly enjoy having coneflowers in the garden. They are extremely easy to grow and you don't have to do anything with them. They come up good and strong in the spring and attract hundreds of butterflies all day long!
The Japanese Beetles are smothering the Anise Hyssop, but they are easy targets to just knock off into a mason jar with a bit of dishwashing liquid and water. They made lace work out of the leaves on the plum tree, ate all the rose buds and are attempting to eat the Crape Myrtle, but the plum tree was the only thing we couldn't knock them out of. Thankfully they haven't been as bad as last year, however, we do spend quite some time each morning collecting them so they don't disturb the blossoms which we work hard to reserve for our bees.
This is the newest addition to the homestead......meet 'Firecracker' who was born on the 4th of July!
In previous years, we have lamented that all of the bees at our blossoms weren't our own working to make honey for us. Well this year, they are! It is funny how addicting having your own bees can get. I found myself planting all sorts of things strictly for our bees to enjoy!
Four baby wren eggs in the greenhouse Begonia.
Four baby wrens in the greenhouse Begonia!
Here is what I have named our Purple Herb Bed, lol. Without meaning too, I have somehow managed to plant several purple things together. It began with the Blue Hyssop and the Anise Hyssop. Since the sun was so good there, I replanted our purple Butterfly Bush behind the herb bed and later planted the lavender on the end of the bed. There is sage and oregano in there too, but other than that.....its all purple.
The bell peppers are getting close to being ready for picking!
The grape tomatoes ARE ready for picking!
The Millionaire heirlooms are sure liking their new bed. We are trying a new way of stringing them up this year by running clothes line between two trees over the bed. We then strung hay twine from the clothes line down and attached them to a heavy fencepost that is laying at the base of the tomato plants. To cut down on chances of the plants getting the dreaded blight, we always bury a soaker hose around the plants and then cover everything up with hay. It keeps the water and dirt off the plants which really helps get them through the season.
This is 'Big Nate'. He is quickly becoming my favorite rooster on the homestead. Something so "farmy" about having a Barred Rock on the place! Plus he loves his wattles to be rubbed and he coos to you when you hold him. He came with the batch of chickens we got to put in the freezer for the year, but I think he will escape that fate.
Its surprising how quickly life changes, but seems to stay the same on a homestead. The rhythm of life rises and it falls, its a steady flow of seasons and of learning!