That’s how it felt last Wednesday morning, as the sewer repair crew arrived with their much-larger-than-expected excavator. (Though the excavator’s color did nicely echo the orange of the Mexican Sunflowers.)

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Aster means “star”, and so the days of autumn hereabouts are full of stars.

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The ‘Honorine Jobert’ Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybridus) is doing in the shady Back Garden. I’m a sucker for those gleaming ivory flowers with golden centers.

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Phantom of the Mexican Sunflower

Butterflies are gradually becoming more scarce as we slide into the last week of September. However, this weekend I got a lucky capture of a Black Swallowtail on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia).

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This guy’s stance and coloring made me think of Phantom of the Opera, plus it kind of looks like he is wearing a mask. Oh, and look – this photo is a pollinator twofer. There’s a hoverfly at the base of the central disk.

Currently we don’t have any of the tall goldenrods in the garden, except for a few volunteer wildlings scattered in corners here and there. We do have a lot of Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), however.

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The number of Monarch butterflies out in the Front Garden seems to have peaked. For a while there were 6 or 7 at any typical moment, just recently it’s dropped to 3 or 4. I take this to mean that the core of the southern Monarch migration has passed through our area. Within a week or two they will be gone altogether.

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Monarch spreading its wings on Joe Pye Weed

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Many people think of Goldenrod as a plant that lives in sunny fields and flowers in wands or plumes at the top of tall stems. There are a number of Goldenrods that do not fit this description, however.

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Oh, Shenandoah

This is the time of year when the ‘Shenandoah’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) really starts to shine. The leaves take on more burgundy color and the airy flower panicles take on a purplish hue.

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Free Compost For Chicago-area Gardeners

Did you know that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is giving away high-quality compost? Maybe you did, but I sure didn’t. The compost is made from wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, and biosolids derived from water reclamation.

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This past Saturday, Judy and I picked up Beckee and Daniel to go see the trolls at the Morton Arboretum. The trolls, up to 30′ tall, are creations of the Danish artist Thomas Dambo.

However, when we got off at our exit, we discovered a long line of cars stretching down the road waiting to get in. We sat in the line for 15 minutes or so, then decided that the trolls would have to wait for another day.

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An impressively large patch of Blue Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) outside the visitor center.

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