I can’t believe the growing season is drawing to a close. It seems like just yesterday that I was planting my tiny tomato plants and hoping for the best.
I got a bumper crop beyond anything I’d dreamed of. In fact, the entire garden grew like a jungle this year. All the rain made the perennials thrive, and my lush yard looked like it was in Seattle instead of Minneapolis.
Every growing season is odd in some way. This summer I saw bugs I hadn’t seen before, like the beautiful and impressive-looking grapevine beetle, which I spotted on a potted ornamental grass in June. Check it out at :http://bugguide.net/node/view/3139.

This beetle was new to me (I have no grapevines near me) but this year I saw them not only in my yard but on walks around the neighborhood.
Mushrooms loved all the rain, but the strangest plant to pop up this year was one I had never heard of. In August, a master gardener who lives north of the Twin Cities posted a mystery picture online, asking other master gardeners in the state to ID this odd white plant. It was Monotropa uniflora, known as ghost pipe. While it looks like a fungus, it’s actually a member of the blueberry family! The plant is white because it has no chlorophyll.
My brother Joel sent me this picture earlier this month, asking what it was. The picture was taken under pine trees on his lake property north of Duluth. What a cool thing. This is one plant I really wish I’d seen in person.
You can read more about ghost pipe at: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/monotropa_uniflora.shtml
Did you see any oddities growing — or crawling about — in your yard this year?