Kansas sunsets

Kansas has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I've ever seen, but they are so difficult to capture on film that we are rarely able to share them via photos. These pictures come as close as any I've ever shot to capturing the breathtaking colors and the sense of calm a Kansas sunset inspires.

[As always, click on any photo for a larger image.]

Butterfly Milkweed is blooming

The Butterfly Milkweed has popped open, leaving bright orange spots in three places along the fence. It looks especially nice nestled between the False Sunflower and white Yarrow.

Coral Bells (upon a slender stalk)

My sisters and I used to sing a beautiful round with these lyrics:

White coral bells upon a slender stalk.
Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.
Oh, don't you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only when the fairies sing.
Well, we don't have lilies of the valley, but there are coral bells decking our garden walk. The one in bloom is Heuchera Peach Flambe, and you can see from this photo where the coral bells name comes from.

UPDATE: You can hear the melody to White Coral Bells here. (Click on the small player arrow.)

Smoky Hills Success

This is the Smoky Hills plant we moved from Rock Garden Hill. It seems to love its new home in the entry garden where it receives nice morning sun, but shade in the late afternoon.






Garden failures

For a couple of beginners, we've been fortunate that our plants have done so well, but we'd be less than honest not to tell you about some of our failures:

Smoky Hills. This pretty purple-bloomed plant (along the base of Rock Hill Garden) captured our hearts when we saw it at the arboretum plant sale. Ken grew up in the Smoky Hills of Kansas, so of course we had to have some! But something about this spot didn't agree with our Smoky Hills (too much afternoon sun?) and it died. Fortunately, we were able to transplant one plant to the flowerbed at the entryway, and it is thriving.
Moonlight Broom. For reasons unknown, this beautiful, unique plant only lasted three years in our garden before giving up the ghost this spring. We held out hope, until early June when we finally dug out the shriveled root. Blue Dune Lyme Grass. Its blue hue contrasted beautifully with the lawn. The first year it was mild mannered, but after that, it tried to take over our world (the label warned us, but we turned a blind eye.) Finally this year we got aggressive and fought back with Roundup. It would be a great plant to fill in a large, contained area, but not here, where we prefer to see Catmint and Rose of Sharon thrive.
We've had some other wildflowers that bloomed beautifully one year and didn't come back (Cornflower, Coneflower and Coreopsis...hmmm...all the "C" plants?) and others that we planted that never showed up (New England Aster, Lupine and Stiff Goldenrod). But Cupflower, Butterfly Milkweed, Wooly Verbena, Yarrow, Columbine, Spiked Gayfeather (Liatris) and a host of others return faithfully each year.

Coleus: a good decision

We're so happy with the way the coleus pots are turning out! Every bit as colorful as any flowers we could have planted, and always in bloom, much easier to care for and we can bring some of them inside this fall for cheery color throughout most of the winter. And to fill all these pots, we spent under $14! To see these pots when we first planted them, click here.

June garden

Early June and the garden is on the verge of peaking. The flower pots are filling out, the Carefree Delight roses are a riot of pink against the back of the garage, and the wildflowers along the fence are beginning to bloom. It's a joy to spend mornings and evenings out here, but the hot afternoon sun makes the backyard off limits to everyone but the cats.