Tag Archives: plants

Indoor Plants to Tide Me Over

Ah springtime… the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the snow is gradually melting away.  But it’s still going to be quite a while before anything starts coming back to life outside, and I’ve officially and unequivocally come down now with a very serious case of spring fever here.  I absolutely cannot wait to get out in my garden.

So I’m bringing a bit of the garden inside!

As I’ve mentioned before… I’m not always so good at tending to indoor plants, it’s sad really, because I do so love plants, and I’ve been an avid gardener for years.  I think maybe it’s just that when I’m indoors during the winter, I’m busy doing other things, and then when it’s gardening season, I’m, well, outdoors, so they get neglected.  I don’t really know what the deal is exactly, but I think it’s about high time I try and change it, because I’m in serious need of having some green and growing things to surround myself with.

After checking out a link on the 10 Best Plants to Grow Indoors for Air Purification that Peter from over at Ha!Tea’n’Danger shared in the comments of my Spring Fever Therapy post, I decided to go to the garden center to see if they had any of the plants on that list.  With my having asthma, doing anything to improve indoor air quality is always of interest to me, and what better way to do that than with plants!  Thanks again for passing that list along to me, Peter!

My favorite garden center went out of business last summer, I can’t even tell you how much that saddens me, so I had to go to a different one to look for my plants.  It was very nice there, but just not quite the same.  I did find some plants though, so mission accomplished!

How perfect (and hilarious) is this…

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“PLANTS OF STEEL” roar!  Haha love it!  This means I ought to be able to keep this one alive, even if it gets a bit neglected.  😉   It’s not the exact variety of Dracaena from the list, but it was in a section specifically called “Air Purifying Plants,” so I think it’ll basically be the same.

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I also got an English Ivy…

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I love this sweet little plant so much.  ♥  I think it’s my favorite, but shh… don’t tell the other plants, I don’t want their feelings to get hurt.  😉

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Here is a plant I can’t believe I didn’t already have for all of its wonderful healing benefits aside from also being an air purifier.  Aloe Vera…

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I did already have this silly fish pot though.  😀

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I also already had this Peace Lily…

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I’ve been struggling to keep this little thing alive since its main plant bit the dust last summer.  Was happy to see it on that air purifying list.  I re-potted it in some fresh soil and it seems much happier now.

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This Golden Pothos is quite happy in the golden yellow pot I put it in as well…

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I’ve grown these before in the past and have always managed to keep them alive, so even though it wasn’t one of the “Plants of Steel,” I’m feeling fairly confident about not killing it.  😀

It was looking a bit crowded in the tiny pot it came in when I bought it, s0 I divided it up and plunked a clump of it into the back of my little bunny pot…

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I’ve had this bunny pot for over 20 years and I’m pretty sure at one point it may have even had this same species of plant in it, so it should feel right at home in there.  You can’t really see much of it in this picture, but in the green pot next to the bunny, I planted a sprig of a Wandering Jew that I snipped from a dying plant last summer.  I’ve kept it rooting in a glass of water on the windowsill all winter and thought I’d finally plant that in some dirt too while I was at it.

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That made me think of my mint plants I brought in last fall that I’ve been barely keeping alive, so I snipped off some of its new growth and thought I’d see if I can get it to root…

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It has nothing to do with air purifying, but I absolutely adore mint!

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Also not having anything to do with air purifying… I bought a beautiful mini-Orchid.  It was intended to be for my daughter, but it ended up in my room because of the lighting I have in there.  It’s so delicate and lovely…

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I know nothing about growing Orchids, so hopefully I don’t kill it.  😉

Yeah, all this ought to help tide me over until spring…

~

~Gardening is my therapy~

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Spring Fever Therapy

With temperatures on the rise here recently, it definitely feels like spring is getting closer now, but a few weeks ago when it was still quite cold out, my daughter and I paid a visit to the Como Park Conservatory.  It was so very wonderful to be among all of the fragrant, lovely, growing things ~ the perfect therapy for spring fever.  It’s only a 15 minute drive from my home, and it’s free admission, so that’s a bonus!

Unfortunately, I only managed to snap a few photos before my camera battery died.  I really need to be paying more attention to things like that.  Oops!  But you know… as much as I enjoy taking photographs, sometimes it’s more important to just be in the moment and not trying to do anything else other than simply enjoying the experience.  And that I most certainly did.  😀

Here are a few photos from our visit…

It may be winter outside…

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But there’s bright, beautiful blooms inside…

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And this adorable little sculpture/fountain…

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It was around this point that I started getting the low battery warning on my camera and I panicked because we still had many more areas to explore, so I turned my camera off.  But here are a couple my daughter snapped with her camera of the Cyclamen and Narcissus…

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I can’t even tell you how gloriously fragrant it was in there, so unbelievably refreshing.  *Sigh*  Their Sunken Garden exhibit changes seasonally, with their Spring Flower Show beginning next week, so you know I’ll be making another trip there soon to check that out.  And I’ll be sure to also check that my camera batteries are all charged up.  😉

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Next we went to have a look at the Conservatory’s Bonsai Collection, where I still had enough juice left in my camera battery to snap a shot of this Bonsai specimen…

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I would love to try my hand at caring for a Bonsai someday, and I think it would be an especially therapeutic activity to do during the long winters here.

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Additionally, Como Park has a stunning Japanese Garden, but that area is outdoors so it’s currently buried under the winter snow.  It’s really quite impressive though, here is a video about it…

It would be really cool to go to their Japanese lantern lighting festival, as well as attend one of their tea ceremonies sometime.

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We also went inside the park’s Tropical Encounters exhibit, where I used the very last of my camera battery to snap this photo of a little yellow bird as it landed briefly to catch a snack…

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No idea what kind of bird it is, but its bright yellow color is so cheery!

And speaking of birds… I have been increasingly hearing the sweet chirping and tweets of various birds outside my window in the mornings (right now, in fact) and it’s such a welcome sound!

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Lastly, I’ll share a couple of the other photos my daughter snapped with her camera while we were there…

In the Fern Room

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It was all misty in there, so lush and green and alive.  I don’t have a lot of houseplants, because although I may have a green thumb outside in the garden, I tend to kill indoor plants.  But I think next winter I will look into getting myself some sort of fern to grow indoors to tend to ~ something about them reminds me of oxygen and I quite like breathing in fresh air, it’s especially appreciated when being cooped up indoors all winter.

And the Palm Dome

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You can’t tell it from the photo, but this palm is huge.  If you scroll back up and look at the first photo I took of the outside of the conservatory, this palm is as tall as the top part of that dome.   Magnificent!

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And I’ll leave you with this sneaky shot I took of my daughter with her camera (without her knowing it) while she admired the Koi Pond in the North Garden

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Her pose here reminds me so much of when she was a little girl.  ♥

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And I’ve been bringing her to Como ever since she was a little girl.  It really is a wonderful place ~ for spring fever, or whatever the weather…

~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

All Good Things Must Come to an End…

One of those “things” being my garden.

I’ve never really liked that saying, and I don’t even believe it to be true.  Although, I suppose I must concede that there is a beginning as well as an end to all things.  Did I basically just contradict myself there?  Haha!  Oh well, I can say whatever I want.  Okay, let me rephrase… I don’t want to believe that all good things must come to an end.  😉

The entire growing season has been so weird this year, and it’s been hard to plan anything.  It’s November 4th and I’ve still got things growing out there, but with the temps continually dropping and the threat of snow in the forecast for this week, I figured I better get out there and put all of my garden stuff to bed for the winter.

But it’s hard when there’s still life happening out there.  Mainly, it’s my herbs that are still thriving.  They’re so lovely and aromatic, I hate the thought of yanking them out before their time.  I’ve got most of them growing in pots and so I got to thinking maybe I would bring them inside and try to keep them alive over the winter.  I’ve never done that before so it will be an experiment.  I like experiments.  Mwahahaha!  Besides what is there to lose, they would have died out in the cold anyway, at least this way I’m giving them a fighting chance.

There aren’t a lot of suitable spaces inside the house for bringing in a bunch of plants, but I cleared off a ledge along the basement stairway that may work out.  There’s a south facing window that brings in a lot of light, though not direct sunlight, but I don’t think they need direct sunlight when wintering them over.  I actually have no clue about that really, because I must confess that I haven’t read up on it.  At all.  Guess I should do that.  😉

Anyway, yesterday I brought in several of my pots and set them along that ledge.  I may also put up some sort of temporary makeshift shelving too, if I’m feeling particularly industrious later on.  But doing this has got me thinking that if I am able to winter them over and they do happen to survive, I may want to set up something more permanent for this type of thing in the future.

It has also got me thinking that I may need to invest in some more houseplants to enjoy during the winter.  I have a few, but not enough of them to satisfy my need for being around the lush green and growing things.  Oddly, although I have a green thumb in gardening, when it comes to houseplants… not so much, I often inadvertently kill them.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe I won’t be able to keep my herbs alive after all…

But here’s hoping!  😀

I was outside for hours yesterday tending to things in and around my garden.  It was supposed to be nice out, but it got super windy as the day went on, and that wind was blustery and cold.  {{{brrrr}}}

I gave all the plants I was bringing inside a good shaving.  I really hope I didn’t over-do it, they all look so sad now.  😦

My lemon thyme…

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It’s such a sad looking little spud, but I’m going to use its fresh clippings to try out a recipe I found online for lemon thyme bars.  I love lemon!

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And here’s my sad looking chocolate mint…

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I’m going to dry the clippings from this and use them for tea.  I’m also going to dry the clippings I snipped from my peppermint and spearmint plants to use for tea as well.  I do love me some mint tea!  ♥

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Speaking of what I love… I also snipped two of my lavender plants to bring inside, the wonderful aroma was pure bliss!  I really hope they survive.  Gosh I wish lavender would grow as a perennial here…

If this project works out, I maybe consider growing all of my herbs in pots so that I can bring them inside over the winter.  Just look at how lovely the oregano that I planted inside my vegetable garden area still is…

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I considered digging this up yesterday and putting it into a pot so that I could bring it inside too, but I thought that would stress the poor thing out so much that it would be a lost cause anyway.  Besides that ledge in the basement will only fit so many pots as it is at the moment without any shelves.

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I also don’t have enough room to bring in this berries and cream mint that I planted in with my peas…

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But I may go out there and snip some of it so I can dry it out for yet more tea.  😉

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That is, if I can get out there before it snows.  I’m really not ready for snow…

And neither are the trees.  As of the other day when I snapped this photo, you can see that there’s still lots of colorful leaves on the trees…

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Although they may have blown off now with that wind we had yesterday.

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I guess all good things really must come to an end, whether I want to believe it or not.  But you know what?  Life is a endless circle, and so with every ending comes a new beginning.  And with that new beginning, there will most certainly be more “good things” to enjoy.   And I really do believe that.  😀

Peace & love…

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~Gardening is my therapy~

Garden Update

We’ve had a few pretty chilly days here recently, a clear indication that the green and growing things are coming to an end, but my tiny garden is still hanging in there.  Here’s a little update…

My peppers are doing fan-freaking-tastic and producing away like champs! Keeping life spicy.  😉

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  ~

And although my yellow bell peppers are not turning yellow, I’ve still been enjoying them green, and there are tons of them of them out there!

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I’m sure nothing will come from them at this point in the season, but my tomato plants are still flowering…

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I harvested one of my last two remaining celery bundles the other day, and even though they’re a bit spindly and a little more bitter than I’d like them to be, we chopped some up and put it in a salad and it tasted great!

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Oh, and my little red strawberry pot ~ still doing its thing! ♥

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Is it just me, or are strawberries one of the most delightful and cheerful little fruits?!  😀

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My herbs are all doing really well.  I’ve let most of them go to bloom now, and my pineapple sage is so pretty…

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  Other things are blooming out there too, like the hydrangea I bought for my mom this past spring.  I have yet to put it in the ground though, because it got too hot too quickly outside for planting, so I left it in its pot until fall.  Well, it’s most definitely fall now, so I better get it planted before it snows.  October is not unheard of for having snowfall here in Minnesota, and with the weird weather we’ve had this year, it could snow tomorrow.  But lets not go there just yet, lets stay in the moment and enjoy the beautiful blooming things at present.  Look at this gorgeous color…

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It will be interesting to see what the color does once I get it in the ground because this particular variety changes color depending on how acidic or alkaline the soil is.

Just look at how the spent blooms become a completely different color…

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Still quite lovely, in my opinion.

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The bees are still busy out there gathering nectar like their lives depend on it.  Which I suppose they actually do.  😉  I snapped this photo of our dog Teddy when he took some time to “stop and smell the roses” er um I mean marigolds, and we were afraid the bumble bee who was there might sting his little nose, but thankfully it didn’t.  So cute, looks like they’re saying hello…

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And not only the bees, but the tiny hoverflies are busy out there too, I captured this one visiting my Alyssum that I have in a pot on the patio…

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The squirrels are busy as well.  I’ve seen this little guy scurrying around all over the place, digging frantically in search of buried treasure.

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And then munching on his treasures amidst the branches of my tree…

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Aside from a few instances, I’m so glad the squirrels haven’t been a problem in my garden this year.  Although, they did completely obliterate my sunflowers as they began producing seeds, but for some reason I didn’t really mind.  Hey, as long as they leave my veggies alone.

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Speaking of leaving, let me leave you with this…

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Pumpkin!  ♥  I adore pumpkins!

  ~

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~Gardening is my therapy~

Peace and love…

And pumpkins!  😉

Worn

Spent and worn, tattered and torn

her beauty fades with the autumn morn

© Julie Rehnelt 2013

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~

In and Around the Garden

What a gorgeous day it is here!  It’s a bit cool, and there’s a definite chill of autumn in the air, but the sun is shining and the sky is a heavenly shade of blue, with puffy, peaceful clouds drifting by.  I’ve really enjoyed my time out on the patio this morning, just soaking it all in.

But with my coffee cup now drained, it’s time to get started on the day.  So now that I’ve opened up my laptop and am looking through some of the photos I’ve snapped this past week, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been seeing through my camera lens in and around the garden…

I know I have already shared more sunflower photos in my last few posts than anyone would probably ever want to see, but if you’ll indulge me, I have just one more… I absolutely love the intricate spiral design that’s in the center of sunflowers!  I’d been trying to snap a picture of it before it blooms and the design goes away, but the hungry bees were always photobombing me.  Except on this one…

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The amazing patterns seen in nature positively fascinate me!  ♥

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Speaking of photobombing bees, I’ve barely been able to take a photo of anything containing pollen or nectar without them bee-ing in the shot.  😉  Like on this mint…

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this Marigold…

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and this Sedum that is just starting to bloom…

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I don’t know what type of bee this one is, or if it’s really even a “bee” at all, but it had the body shape of a wasp so I didn’t want to get too close.  I was stung by a wasp recently (twice) and had a terrible reaction from it.   😦

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I prefer the less threatening visitors like this delicate dragonfly, who joined me for coffee earlier this morning…

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I’ve got a little squirrel who joins me some mornings too.  He’s a nervous, chatty little thing always sounding the alarm as he scampers around…

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I can’t help but wonder if he’s one of the babies from the litter that I had living in my tree this past spring, but he doesn’t look familiar.  Even though they all look pretty much the same, haha!  He’s a cute little rascal anyway, and hasn’t been much of a bother to my garden (I’ve only suffered a few squirrel casualties this year), so I’m thankful for that.  🙂

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The area where I snapped that picture of the squirrel is underneath the deck of the house next door, right next to my garden.  It’s a rental property that’s yard isn’t kept up very well, but it doesn’t bother me because I appreciate things growing wild and I love the bright, colorful Goldenrod that is growing wild there…

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Not to be confused with the despicable Ragweed that is also blooming right now, which I hate because I am highly allergic to it.  It’s simply not fair that my worst allergies come when it’s my favorite time of the year.

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The Goldenrod being in bloom is a sure sign of summer’s end, and I’m beginning to see little splashes of autumn color here and there.  Some of my Pineapple Sage’s leaves are turning purple…

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Ahhh so lovely!

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And the Crab Apple tree out on the boulevard is looking like autumn too, getting little tiny apples on it…

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Very pretty, but I wish they were edible, they’re only the ornamental type.

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In the vegetable garden…

 I’ve got tons of yellow bell peppers growing.  Although, I doubt they’ll have the chance to fully turn yellow before the frost comes.  But that’s okay, I’ll eat them green.  😀

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And speaking of green, there is just one small cluster of green tomatoes remaining on the vine…

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I’m not sure if these will have the chance to turn red before the cold weather comes either, but hopefully they will.

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I harvested my onions the other day and was a bit disappointed because they were so small.  I’m definitely going to have to find another way to grow onions for next year because growing them in a pot is not working out so well.

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I’m thankful for my little onions though, and I’m sure they’ll still taste good.

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Oh, but the strawberries in my little red pot… they’re getting a second wind and filled with oodles of blooms and tasty berries!

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Such a delight!  😀

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Also a delight is that my English Lavender is finally blooming!

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Better late than never!  Gosh, I love lavender soooo much, if only I could grow an entire field of it!    ♥

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Well, I guess that’s about it for now.  Thanks so much for stopping by to read about what’s going on in and around my tiny garden.

Peace and love to you…

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~Gardening is my therapy~

Summer Evening Nectar

I captured this lovely shot last evening while I was sitting out on the patio with my sister after a bike ride, and I really adore the way it turned out!  ♥

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This bumble was quite large, and right before I snapped that photo, it had just latched onto a grasshopper that was in its way and moved it around to the backside of the flower…

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It’s a one-legged grasshopper that I’ve been seeing hanging around the patio for the  past several days, and I just thought it was so amazing that the bee did that!

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While over on this other sunflower however, the big bumble wasn’t as pushy (probably because this particular sunflower is further developed and provided more feeding areas) and it was willing to share its summer evening meal of nectar with a honey bee…

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All sorts of different types of bees having been visiting my sunflowers (and I’ve really been enjoying watching them and trying to photograph them!)  Here is a shot I took a bit earlier in the day of an interesting looking bee with a green upper body and head…

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 How odd, I’ve never seen anything like it before!

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I have several more pictures that turned out quite nicely too, but I’ll spare you from looking at them all.  After all… how many photos of bees on sunflowers photos does one need to see?  😉

Well maybe just one more…

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😀

I used my mom’s camera to take these shots as my sunflowers are like 10 feet tall and her camera has a better zoom than mine.  I’m really delighted by the way they all turned out, so I may need to see about using it more often, hopefully she won’t mind…