Well, I finally got around to tackling some of that to-do list I was talking about last week. I won't re-hash everything here, but I did make some notable discoveries once I finally got back in the garden.
First, I have a golden alexander blooming about five months late! This is Zizia aurea, which normally blooms in May and June, and here it is blossoming when the first frost is lurking only days away.
This plant is obviously very confused, but I won't hold it against the plant since it's a newbie this year. I'm happy that it's so comfortable as to bloom at all in its first year! Hopefully the onset of winter won't do any lasting damage to this bewildered little member of my rain garden.
Just in case I needed another reminder that I am not actually the one in control around here, my Baby Joe-Pye seedling was mercilessly eaten by some critter.
(The scene of the crime.)
After all my coddling and fussing and worrying, this plant, which I nearly nurtured through its critical first year, is now part of the fat reserves of some squirrel or chipmunk preparing for the winter. To be honest, I'm not even that upset; I feel like this is plant karma for all of my fretting over one little seedling. Needless to say, I'm not collecting seeds from my mature Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum) this year. Maybe the poor germination rate was because the seeds weren't viable when I gathered them. Maybe it's not them, it's me. Either way, I need to take a break from growing these seedlings.
Apparently that same critter (or some of his accomplices) has been eating my columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) seedlings as well. Now this aggravated me when I found them. These seedlings have been growing beautifully all year, and I am confident that some might actually flower next spring (this is not counting the ones that shriveled upon being planted in too much sun).
So I was outraged by this destruction, until I realized that the critters might have helped me in the long run. I was too wimpy to thin these columbine seedlings or even divide them before planting them in the garden. Eventually, they would have struggled because of root competition and I would have had a chore waiting for me next year or the one after that. The seedling-eaters, however, performed a little natural selection and now I can focus on protecting the survivors and not having to divide an overgrown clump of columbine roots!
So the local rodents devour my seedlings yet don't touch my lettuces; what to make of that? The mysteries of nature, I suppose!