Saturday, September 15, 2012

What's Blooming: September 2012

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Here's a look at what's growing and blooming in my garden this month.

The buds on the Montauk Daisies (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) are starting to show. I've pruned this down twice throughout the summer to help keep its shape and can't wait to see the blossoms in a few weeks!

I love the pink hue of the Sedum 'Autumn Joy' against its lush green foliage. I still have a few Black Eyed Susans too which are a lovely contrast to the pink.

To my delight, the Lychnis coronaria decided to bloom again (left) and the potted geranium continues to put on a good show. I recently planted some new mums in the front of the garden and to the back, more will soon be blooming.

 This just started blooming too and I believe it is Salvia farinacea (Victoria White)

The blooms on the panicle hydrangea (possibly Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva'??) are turning a light pink which is so pretty. The shrub I inherited is completely overgrown and needs to be pruned. It blooms on new wood, but I'm wondering if I should trim it down after the blooms fade and again in the early spring or just wait until March? Any advice would be appreciated!

After I had to rip out the impatiens due to downy mildew (see my post here) I planted these begonias. They are doing quite well in this shady spot. As you can see, a few rogue impatiens are still trying to grow!

We are hopefully starting the backyard renovation project in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for photos of the transformation!

As always, any thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the monthly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Big Brown Spider - the Orb Weaver

For the past few weeks, I've noticed a big, brown spider outside my front door resting on an equally big circular web. The web itself was about 2 feet wide and I certainly couldn't walk out the door without stepping right into it. It seemed to appear and begin spinning the web around 9pm and by 6am the following morning, the web and the spider were gone - only to appear in the same spot the following evening. 

I did a little research and found out that the spider is actually called a Nocturnal Orb Weaver.

The Nocturnal Orb Weaver is a garden spider that comes out at night, creates a big "orb" shaped web and waits for an unsuspecting insect to land in the sticky web (most likely attracted to the lights by the door to the house). They are most noticeable in the late summer and fall because that's when the spiders and their webs are the largest. It's usually the female sitting in the web and soon she will lay her last batch of eggs and die before the first frost.

They are non aggressive and not harmful to humans or animals. In fact, at the first sign of threat, they usually flee the scene. During the day, the spider will either sit motionless on the web or take cover in a nearby leaf or corner.

Fun fact: Charlotte, the spider in E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web," was an orb weaver. She was an Araneus cavaticus, sometimes called a "Barn Spider."

All orb weavers spin some sort of web consisting of smaller circles within larger circles and the "spokes" going out diagonally from the center outwards toward the outer circle.

So if you see one outside your front door or on your lawn over the next few weeks, don't be alarmed and let them just do their job catching and eating common insect pests.