A Kansas Country Garden - First Week of May

The peony bushes were not full, but the individual flowers are beautiful
When I showed a student some photographs of iris, she asked, "Are those the flowers that wear dresses?". Iris and peonies make a lovely combination.
Note to self: Do NOT drink caffeinated tea after 1 p.m. again. Ever. You know why. But, if I had followed my own good advice on Friday, well, I might have not been quite so alert for some nocturnal garden adventures.  
We've had an invasion of "miller moths".  Annoying? Yes.  But miller moths lay eggs that hatch into army worms and they are much more than annoying. They may be evil.
Temperatures in the 90's meant fleeting bloom for peonies.
I discovered the army worms as I was watering at dusk. Some plants didn't look so good.  By the time I'd gone inside and googled them, it was dark. The news was not good. Army worms come out at night to do their damage. They were just beginning. Wait until morning to do something? Would there be anything left?

A perfect rose. It is a David Austin Rose, but I am not certain which variety.
This is also a David Austin rose. The bush is quite short.
Flashlight in hand, I returned to the garden. It was even worse than anticipated. The lilies! Worms, lots of them, were munching on the leaves and the buds that were just beginning to swell. NO! Not the lilies. You shall not eat the lilies! (think Gandalf's "You shall not pass.") And do you know what I did? (Stop reading now if you're squeamish.) I squished them. Yes, I did. Mild mannered, nature loving me. Wearing plastic coated gloves,  I grabbed them between the left hand thumb and forefinger and applied just a little pressure. No more lily eating for them.
We interrupt the photos of roses for this not-so-pretty photo of an army worm on the lilies. You can see that the worms caused quite a bit of damage to the foliage, but I am hopeful that I will still have some blooms.

This bush blooms only once, draping over the fence.

Hours latter, lying in bed, wide awake, but trying to sleep, I heard a chicken. Oh, surely not.  Then I heard it again. It didn't sound unhappy. However, a few months ago, dogs got through a fence into our barn and chicken pen and killed  almost all our chickens. Mike has been slowly rebuilding the flock. We often comment that if we had been able to hear what was happening in the chicken pen, perhaps disaster could have been averted. And now I was hearing a chicken. Probably that should be checked out. Beside me my husband slumbered. Thoughts of waking him were dismissed. I slipped on my garden clogs and went out to investigate. A full moon lit the way, but I had also grabbed a flashlight. 

Fragrant Sweet Briar Rose, Rosa eglanteria, wanders like the wild rose it is.

There wasn't much to see. All was quiet except for two chickens strolling around in their pen. Banished to the outside pen because of behavior or lack of egg laying, they couldn't go into the barn. Evidently the full moon had deceived them and they were just enjoying the weather. No danger as far as I could tell. 

Before returning to the house, I thought again of the lilies. Had I saved them? Not entirely. There were a few more army worms on them. I returned to the house for my plastic coated garden gloves and took care to them, too. 
This is a David Austin Heritage Rose.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an exciting night in a Kansas Country Garden. One I might miss next time if I stay away from that caffeinated iced tea!

This old-fashioned rose has a brief bloom.
A pink rose.
Rose bushes on the east side of the house do quite well.

Blue salvia has a long bloom time.
Allium Christophii, Star Onion, have multiplied over the years. After blooming, the seed head still adds interest to the garden.

Not invited, but who wouldn't welcome a flower called the Prairie Wine-cup or Buffalo Rose (callirhoe ivolucrata)? This wildflower can be purchased from mail-order catalogs now.
A butterfly visits a blooming shrub.


  1. Bev, the peonies are gorgeous!!

  2. Bev...so beautiful! I can almost smell those perfect roses. I have always wanted to have chickens but your stories and pictures will do for now. Thank you!


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