Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I got my newly expanded front beds planted.  Finally.  Whew - I have to say I am relieved to be at this stage with this project.  It was a doozy.  I'm pleased with the end results though. 

Here is the right side:

The plants are small now, but they will fill in.  I've learned the hard way to let them look sparse at first to allow for growth.  Some of the plants I bought at the semi-annual butterfly plant sale, and some are transplants from the backyard. 

I know that you can't distinguish plants in this photo, but on this side I planted a Butterfly Bush, two Horsemint for a blooming groundcover, 2 types of milkweed, and pentas.  Pentas is an annual, and I am a perennial girl; but the butterflies love it so much that I relented.  It's also pink - which I do not do - but again, to draw butterflies... 

 Already in the bed were Lamb's Ear and Turk's Cap.  Lamb's Ear - I can take it or leave it.  It is a variation in texture, and that's always good to have - but it doesn't really offer anything else.  But it is well established so I left it there.  And then the Turk's Cap; that's the tall green on the far right.  It gets covered in little red blossoms that are loved by hummingbirds.  It was also well established before I moved in, and I'll allow it to thrive.

And here is the left side:

In this front peninsula, my yellow echinacia is finally blooming.  I added two milkweek in the right hand corner, and a type of daisy in the front left corner.  The daisy is dead - but I'm leaving it there for now in hopes that it drops seeds.  Along the front edge I have planted poppy seeds that a friend collected for me.  I have tried to grow poppies before with dismal results, so I am hoping this time I have better luck.  The bright green large plant that you see is a Flame Acanthus and it will have a ton of red blossoms for the hummingbirds.  You can see the frosty Artesmisia poking out on the right hand side.  Hidden from view entirely are fennel, Butterfly Weed, Cosmos, Calendula and a yellow daisy whose name escapes me...

Moving up the edge of the bed, just a red pentas there that is new.  It's alongside Russian Sage

And then turning the corner...

Left to right I have another Horsemint groundcover (it's cut off in the photo).  Then an agave plant.  This was in a pot but I knew the pot was too small.  There was no way to get it out of the pot and leave the pot intact, so I hit the pot with a hammer and split it in half.  The agave had started a few new plants in the pot and I separated those out.  I planted the larger 3 in this bed, and planted several tiny shoots in the backyard beds.

Next are some onion chives from a neighbor (planted those this morning!) 3 Goldenrod, one Pacific Daisy (fall blooming) another agave, two Rattlesnack Masters (a succulent that blooms) and a purple blooming Lemon Bee Balm (Monarda Citriodora) that  blooms purple.  It's blooming, but it's hard to see in this photo.

So what remains on this project?  I have some seeds to put out on the left side - marigolds, for the remaining portion of my marigold seed trial that I am participating in; Dill, and .... others, but I can't remember sitting here now what they are.

For the right hand side, I need to switch out the mulch around the tree to match the rest of the bed.  I need to re-do the fountain* reservoir  dig up and repair some sprinkler heads, and did up the spigot to repair the leak.  None of those sound like much fun, but all of them need to happen...

* Long post, coming soon...

Honeysuckle for Privacy

Did I tell you the honeysuckle plant on my first privacy trellis bit the dust?  And that I had a bit of a "dust up" with the nursery from whom I bought it?  It's too long of an uninteresting story of frustration that I prefer to leave behind, so suffice it to say that I had to go buy another honeysuckle.  I did not return to the same nursery...

So the new one looks like it is going to have both yellow and coral blossoms on it - I swear I saw both on it when I bought it.  That would be really cool.  I planted it on Sunday, and re-strung the lines that I had to cut to pull out the old honeysuckle.

Here it is in place:

It's sort of hard to distinguish it from the shrub behind it...

And here it is, between the poles.  The wires (fishline) are blissfully invisible.  Blissful, that is, until you forget they are there, and you almost walk into them.  Not that that has happened to me, but it could be cautionary tale.

It's gotten a late start compared to the passion flower vine, but I have high hopes.  It gets great morning sun.  I looked at it this morning, and it looks like its getting ready to put out a bunch of new blossoms.  Happy.


Gulf Fritillary

On my morning garden walk today I went to check on my privacy trellises.  Every few days I like to check the vines and encourage the little tendrils to reach up to the next row of wire.  This morning on my passion flower vine I spotted two caterpillars!

I looked them up in my butterfly reference book* and found out they are the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar, which dines on the passion flower blossoms. (I think that even though the shades of orange are a little different, they are both the same type, just at different maturities. I "think.")   I also found a photo in the book of what the butterfly egg looks like, and went back outside to see if I could see any one the vine.  Yes!  I snapped a few photos, but they are too tiny to photograph.

Here's what it will look like as a butterfly:

I love that the butterflies have found this plant already - they were one of the the reasons I chose that plant.  Happy.

* Here's the book I have:


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Privacy Trellis - It's Growing!

Hi!  I just wanted to show you how the privacy trellis vine growth is coming along.... the passion vine is really happy!

The vines are already almost as high up the wires as I am tall!  I do love it when a plan comes together.

How did we get here? Read the four prior posts on this project:

April 2nd

April 2nd:

April 24th:

April 17th:

I had to replant the honeysuckle, and re-string the lines for it - I got that done on Sunday.  Another post...