Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! A look back at 2013

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014.

Here is a look back at some of my favorite photos from 2013.


Little bee with heart shaped wings on Broccoli. 

Pipevine Butterfly on Vinca

Ground Orchids in bloom

Bee on Pincushion flower

Passionflower with Bumble Bee

Artichoke Bloom

Lily of the Nile, Penta and Potato Vine

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Print available at http://besmallstudios.com/

Image via http://inspirationlane.tumblr.com/

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall into Place

The Fall garden is starting to take shape. We have planted most of our veggies and herbs. Luckily, the early freeze did not do any damage. Thank goodness for Frost cloth! 
Here is a look at our  lettuce bed. I try to choose a variety of green and red leaf lettuce, however my favorite is Arugula. Just makes me crave a salad every time I look at this bed.

Variety of Lettuce

This is the first year that I decided to plant Strawberries. We will see how it goes since the local squirrels love to eat fruit. 

Sequoia Strawberry plants

There have been a ton of butterflies when the sun comes out and the temperature warms up. 

We have some new additions to the garden including this bottle tree. I'm sure it will be full of bottles after the holidays are over;-) 

Some of the new plants recently planted include a variegated Abutilon or Flowering maple. I believe this variety is "Thompsonii".

Also new to the garden is this Heartleaf Skullcap. 

The Beautyberry was planted this past Spring. The gorgeous purple berries disappeared fast thanks to the Mockingbirds.

The Agastache was added this past summer and it pairs nicely with the White  and Blue mist flowers in bloom.

The Pentas were planted last year. They behave more like perennials than annuals.

Bees just adore the Fall blooming Coral Vine.

 I just don't have the heart to pull up my Cherry tomato plants yet. They are huge and blooming again!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my garden. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hummingbirds - Fall Migration 2013

Fall migration is here! I've spotted several migrating hummingbirds this past week, including a male Rufous and a Red Ruby-Throated male. Both of these birds dominated the feeder while they were visiting to the point the little female hummers could not get a drink.
I've also seen Hawks and Warblers moving through the area. Seems a bit early for hummingbirds to migrate, but they are here. Get those feeders ready! 

Twas the Day before Migration

Twas the day before migration, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a titmouse. 
The feeders were hung in the trees with care,
In hopes that the migrating hummingbirds soon would be there.

The birders were searching for tripods lodged in the shed,
While visions of Orioles danced in their heads.
And mamma with her binoculars, and I in my cap,
Had just settled in for a migration nap.

When out in the lawn arouse such a clatter,
I sprang from my birding chair to what was the matter.
Away to the window, I like a flash,
It tore around the yard and made quite a dash.

The sun on the breast of a Red Throated Ruby
Gave the lustre that rivaled royal jewels beauty.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a territorial male and a female who decided to disappear.

  A little odd bird, so lively and quick,
I knew it in a moment, from its music and frolic.

Now Rufous! now Black Chin! now Ruby Throated and Allen!
On Buff Bellied! On, Anna! On Costa, drinking my sugar water by the gallon!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now fly away! Fly away! Fly away all. © 2012

~ A Rambling Wren Original Poem

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Old-Fashioned Balsam Flowers

This Spring, I planted some Balsam seeds under a large Oak tree in the backyard. I like to think of these flowers as the original or heirloom variety of the hybrid impatiens we have today.  The flowers are vibrant in color and grow vertically up on a single stem.They also produce seedpods and I have had several reseed and come up again in one season. One word of warning though, the seeds are very difficult to find. I called all over town searching for the seeds before I gave up and ordered them online. They do brighten up a shady spot!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Garden in June

There has been an explosion in the number of caterpillars in the garden. So far, I have Eastern Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillaries, Giant Swallowtails and Buckeye caterpillars. On one Parsley plant I counted up to twelve cats. This is the first year for the Giant Swallowtail caterpillars to make their appearance in the garden. They are currently feasting on the leaves of my Meyer Lemon Tree. I also have a Mexican Lime Tree, but no cats were spotted on it. I planted a White Veined Pipevine, so I'm just waiting for the Pipevine Swallowtail cats to show up. Maybe I need more of the Pipevine plant? 

Swallowtail Caterpillar

 Swallowtail Caterpillars

The Artichoke that was planted last Spring has finally bloomed out. I tried to leave some blooms on the plant for the bees. I ate three Artichokes, which I steamed and dipped in a lemon butter sauce. They were delish! Of course, anything dipped in butter taste good. I'm mesmerized by the gorgeous thistle like blooms. They also smell like perfume. Here are a series of Artichoke pictures:

Foliage and flowers around the garden....

Coral Vine
Mona Lavender
Kent's Oregano
Firebush (Hamelia patens)
Autumn Fern
Agapanthus, Potato Vine and Red Penta

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my garden.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cocoon Craziness and Peace out

We have a total of five Passionflower Vines growing in our yard at the moment. I say, "at the moment" because of course I'm planning on planting more. The Passionflower vines serve as a host plant for the beautiful Gulf Fritillary butterflies. The first year I planted the vines I was so disappointed that there were not any caterpillars on them. Whoa! This year they have completely made up for it. We are finding cocoons everywhere! Seriously.... I've found them on the deck, by the back window,  the fence, the eaves of the house, the patio furniture, the back door, the kitchen window, the BBQ pit and the garage door. You get the picture. They are EVERYWHERE! You really have to watch were you step so you don't step on caterpillar searching for its perfect spot to transform into a cocoon.

One of the many cocoons I have found in the garden.

Several years ago I purchased a Peace Lily or Spathiphyllum. I've never been great at growing houseplants so I was hopeful this plant would last a couple of months. I was shocked that it has lasted this long.  This has definitely been the best $25 dollars I've spent on a houseplant. I'm always amazed when it sends up those beautiful white blooms. I also like the fact NASA named it as one of the top houseplants plants for cleaning indoor air.

Peace Lily

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

It has been a wet and rainy Memorial Day weekend. We were in need of some rain, however we just happened to get it all at the same time. Five inches within a 24 hour period is what registered on our rain gage. The rain helped us pinpoint the drainage issues in our garden. Some of our newly planted plants were uprooted. Even though we have long stretches of dry weather, we need to make accommodations for the flash floods. 

Today I went out to the garden to see how it was holding up.  I'm so grateful for the rain, even if it did cause some damage to our garden.

White Spiderwort, Shrimp plants and Crinum Lilies

 Redbud Tree

Red Penta

Purple Pentas

Lily of the Nile

Peter's Purple Bee Balm

Giant Coneflower - Rudbeckia

Gregg's Mist and Blackfoot Daisy

Red Pentas are dominating the garden right now.

Cosmo Flower

Serrano Peppers

Artichoke getting ready to bloom.

Sweet 100 Tomatoes

Hope you have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend!