Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall weather comes to the garden as Cards win

The boys in the gnome garden were complaining about the cold nights and wanted to come into the garage for the winter.


One gnome , however,  told us last week that he had to stay outside until he had helped to win the World Series. I told him that it was highly improbable but he stayed outside and the Cardinals did come through with a win. Sometimes it is not all 
bad to be wrong.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cardinals Win 11TH World Series

All I can say is that it is exhilarating and exhausting! I need to take off a couple of weeks to recover!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mexican Hat

Longhead Prairie Coneflower which has begun to bloom again because of favorable weather. Ratibida culumnifera.
Also mexican hat. This flower has strikingly rich color. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet Alyssum

  Lobularia maratima.  This is an annual whose seeds  got mixed in with some cosmos that I planted.
They have been growing underneath the cosmos for months. I didn't know what they were so I had to look them up. It is a member of the mustard family.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aster III

These are the last of my asters. They grow tall in the wildflower garden and 
have a different flower head and color altogether,



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Russell Kraus House

The Russell Kraus House - To the south and west of our gardens lies the house of our deceased neighbor and friend Russell
Kraus. Russell and his soon to be wife Ruth commissioned this house to be designed and built by the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Russell bought a four acre plot on the western edge of the old railroad town of Kirkwood from the descendants of Frederick Clamors. It had been a farm and at the time it was purchased a  peach orchard was still producing. Russell contacted "Mr. Wright" (Russell always spoke of him as Mr. Wright) who agreed to design the house.
The design was done in 1951 and the house was constructed over the next seven years. It took another three years to complete the inside furnishings. The house materials are tidewater red cypress, local brick, and concrete. Built in Wright's Usonian style the 1900 square structure is designed on a series of 60 degree-120 degree parallelograms and the triangles and hexagons that come from subdividing them. There are only two right angles in the entire design.
One day Russell planted a series of holly trees near our boundary line and announced that unfortunately there would soon be 15 houses surrounding his treasured house. But instead with perseverance and commitment,   Russell was able to sell the house and grounds to a newly created foundation which has lovingly cared for and rehabilitated for this landmark estate.
The grounds are owned and maintained beautifully by St. Louis County Parks and the house is under the management of the foundation which is named The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park.
Built into the hillside, the house is famously difficult to photograph. Recently the late afternoon fall lighting allowed me to take these images. The house has always been hard to grasp or take in as there are so many angular focal points.The foundation has done a remarkably professional and loving job of recreating this architectural masterpiece.

For us Russell's pervasive spirit is always present as we look down the hill through the holly trees at our neighbors "house".
For although he thought he was going to have to sell to a builder for a new subdivision one of his first thoughts was that by planting the holly trees he could help maintain some of our sacred privacy. I still remember him carrying buckets up the hill to hand water his holly seedlings.


Aster II

These asters are in a field circle. They are tall and feathery and a light lavender.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Aster I

This is aster week. These dark purple asters are on a path in the gnome garden.
They are perennial and did well out in a field circle except they turned out to
be like candy to the deer.  I went out to check the buds one day and all had 
been leveled as if done by a careful weed whacker.  I have transplanted the
remnants to the front garden.


Friday, October 21, 2011

White Heath Aster

 Aster ericoides.  These aster bushes fill the lower wildflower
garden every Fall and are striking from afar and up close.


Thursday, October 20, 2011


 These purple/pink beauties are thriving on the edge of the field.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011


 In the Aster Family. This is an old flower - it was first cultivated 
by the Chinese in the 15 TH century BC. Linnaeus named it from the Greek 
for "golden flower". I have found it difficult to find truly "hardy" mums that 
return perennially. This rust brown three year old mum is my only current
perennial survivor.


Monday, October 17, 2011


 The sedum blooms in the autumn every year. Because it is not in direct 
sunlight its stems are not strong enough to hold up the blooms but I like where 
it lives so there it will stay. Close up, its blossoms are muted and sweet to the 
honey bee. 


Friday, October 14, 2011


Also blanket flower. It is not surprising that these flowers showed up
in the front garden since they are in the Aster Family and this is the aster time 
of the year.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Russian Sage

 This plant has beautiful purple flowers and delicate feathery 
leaves. It is fragrant to the touch and is very hardy. It is heat and drought
tolerant and deer resistant. It lives up front by the mailbox.  



Wednesday, October 12, 2011


 In addition to the brilliant color of the flower, the leaves of this plant are edible, 
reportedly tasting like spinach.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The dahlias are approaching "plate" size which is the reason that I obtained them.
The buds are continuing to bloom.  

Monday, October 10, 2011


 Bidens cernua  Also smooth beggar tick, bur marigold, and black
jack. It is in the Aster Family and the Coreopsis Tribe. Bidens refers to the
archene burrs in the seeds which stick to your clothes. I have been pulling
these burrs off for several weeks now. 


Friday, October 7, 2011


 Solidago. The fields are full of goldenrod currently. Thomas Edison 
used goldenrod leaves as a source of rubber which he hoped could be used for
Henry Ford's tires but it was not economically feasible. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Persimmon  In the ebony tree genus Diaspyros which comes from the ancient
Greek word  for fruit of the gods. Persimmon comes from Powhatan, an Algonquin
word for dried fruit.  This tree is just outside my bedroom window. Immature persimmons are unpalatable because of a high
level of tannins. Very cold weather hastens a bletting process of cell wall breakdown
so they are more tasty after the first frost when they are soft. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


 Helianthus giganticus. This very tall
sunflower grows in one of the field circles and thrives
on the cooling weather. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


  Also lilyturf and monkey grass. This grass
lines a path in the back and has beautiful little purple
flowers this time of year


Monday, October 3, 2011


 I was walking back from the wildflower garden with my hat on and my
head down and the rising sun in my eyes when BAP! I was bopped in the head.
When I looked around I was surprised to find it was "low hanging fruit" from
a walnut tree. 
The eastern black walnut  (Juglans nigra) is a flowering deciduous tree. The
wood is used for furniture and the nuts are valuable commercially. The nuts are 
picked by hand. About 65% of the annual wild walnut harvest occurs in Missouri 
where it is the state tree nut (1990). The nuts are used in ice cream, baked 
goods, and candies. The hard shell is used as a soft grit abrasive in metal cleaning
and polishing and in oil drilling. It is also used as a filler for dynamite. The dark
husk oils cause a pesky stain on your hands.