What in the heck is growing in my flower beds?

Ok gang, we need to hop in the Mystery Machine and help me figure out what these plants are that are taking up a considerable chunk of my flower beds.

(By the way, I didn’t just date myself. Scooby Doo was on the second round of re-runs by the time I entered the world. Now I just made some of you feel old!)

Below are three photos of plants that I’ve never been able to identify. I’m still a flower growing novice, and these plants were long established before I moved to my home, so I need your help. They’re all perennials, and for as much as know, some of them could just be weeds.

First, we have the “stripe-y leaf shrub.” It grows to be about three feet tall every spring/summer, and toward the autumn shoots out small branches with little red buds:

Next, is the “frosted, Julie thinks you’re ugly plants of no purpose.” They’ve never produced flowers, spread like weeds and grow about two feet tall by mid-summer. They choke out my columbines every year.

Finally, the “I realize you’re a ground cover but I don’t know your name” vine. Early spring, it has tiny yellow flowers that sort of resemble snap dragons if you stood five feet away and squinted:

If you can identify any of these plants, you’ll win my love and admiration!

A trip around the ol’ backyard

Come take a photo walk with me. I’ve found some interesting things in my backyard lately.

Last night, I found some persimmons that have fallen off of the tree too early and have started to rot. Normally they’re green on the tree, turn yellow, and then after the first hard frost turn a fantastic shade of red to signal they’re ready. The frost part I’m told is nothing but an old-wive’s tale, but my tree’s fruit is bitter as heck until a hard frost turns them. In this purple stage, they’re kind of a rotten-sweet. Either way, I let the birds have them.

A persimmon.

The persimmon tree shelters my zinnias, which I grew from seed and are taking the heat like champs.

Zinnas

Near the zinnias a few weeks ago, perched in a shrub, were a pair of cecropia moths. This is the male moth in the photo and the first one I’ve ever seen. They’re the largest species of moth in North America and have a wingspan of 5 to 6 inches. I think they’re beautiful creatures.

They only spend about a week in the moth stage before dying. They don’t have mouths in this stage, so they don’t eat. Their final stage is only for mating and laying eggs. Since I found a pair of them, you can guess what they’re doing. I guess that means I just posted moth porn. Bow chicka wow wow…

Ahem.

Crecropia moth

I often find bumblebees that like to chill in my sunflowers. I plant sunflowers and marigolds around the garden to attract the pollinators for my plants.

Just chillin' like a villian.

And then, on rare nights when the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, the elusive Cougar will appear:

She's so pathetic, she's adorable.

Yep. She looks ferocious, doesn’t she? The pink and brown collar really adds to her street cred.

~Julie

A rabbit’s Christmas in July

Do you remember making paper snowflakes in grade school? You know, the kind where you fold a sheet of paper a few times, start cutting out tiny shapes and then unfold the paper to reveal the creation?

This must be the rabbit version:

A Petunia "snowflake." I'm guessing a rabbit nibbled on the bud before it blossomed. The holes are identical.

By the way, for the holiday crafters out there like myself, there’s only five months left until Christmas. Start panicking!

~Julie