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Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Garden in July

While June was an exciting month, with all the Monarch caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly action going on, I'm rather disappointed with the garden in July.

Looking back through photos from this time last year, it does seem I had more blooming in the garden then, in spite of the drought.

This year, the Vitex already bloomed and is now a mass of seedpods that need trimming off.  Trouble is, since the tree is about 18 feet tall now, I can't get to most of it.  It will have to do it's own thing and hopefully bloom again later in the year.

I've been worrying about the Rose of Sharon, that was star of the garden last summer.  The one that bloomed so prolifically last year has put out about two blooms so far.  However, when I took a peek at it yesterday, I noticed it has a lot of buds on it, so hopefully we'll see some flowers soon and out little hummingbird visitor will have some natural nectar to drink.

There *are* some things blooming in the garden - you just have to look for them.

This Cat's Whiskers plant, Orthosiphon aristatus, is a new addition. I planted it in the island bed this spring and it seems to like it there.

I adore the blooms, which really do look like cat's whiskers (and I should know!) Apparently butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to it, but I haven't noticed much activity on it yet.

We have three crepe myrtles - two in the back garden and one in the front.  The two in the back are in full bloom with (thankfully) no evidence of that sooty mildew that young crepe myrtles are plagued by.  The one in the front, that the builder put in, looks pathetic and I'm considering ripping it out in the fall and planting another.

The veggie garden is doing okay.  This basil smells wonderful and is covered in blooms.  The tomato plants have given us quite a few cherry tomatoes and we've had a few tiny carrots as well.

We had thought the pepper plant wasn't doing anything, but finally it's getting some buds.  The cucumbers had us puzzled for a while.  They had lots of blooms but no fruit.  We assumed we weren't getting any pollinators for some reason and determined to help them along by pollinating ourselves.  That's when we noticed there are actually very few female flowers on them.  Hmmmm.

Once again this year, the "Midnight Lace" sweet potato vine is blooming. I've never seen blooms on the light green variety though.

Another plant covered in buds is the white Texas Star Hibiscus (no action on the red one yet).

The bud was opening yesterday and when I looked out after this morning's rain storm, I saw it was fully open. It got beaten around a bit by the wind and the rain, but I think it still looks beautiful.

Before I go, I thought I'd share a couple more Monarch photos with you.  The first one, I didn't even realize what I was taking a photo of last week.  It wasn't until I downloaded the pics to my computer today that I realized I had photographed a Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

We counted 8 hatched chrysalises around the house.  There's one more still to come, on the fence in the back garden.

Here's one of "our girls", resting on the front window sill before taking off to parts unknown.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Birdwoman said...

Your garden looks lovely. I think we just have to lower our expectations a little and take July for what it is. It will be gone soon enough.

Bernie H said...

The garden sure does run to its own peculiar timetable doesn't it? There's still a lot happening though. I adore that white Hibiscus and it certainly looks like the Rose of Sharon is just a little late in blooming this year. The Crepe Myrtles look fantastic, and it was terrific to see that shot of the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

Kathleen Scott said...

Jane, how wonderful to have had so much monarch action! I don't see many in my garden, probably because tropical milkweed hasn't done well in it.

I remember the early pictures of your yard, how bare it was, and now you have lovely profusion.

Thought you might like my article on hummingbird gardening in Saturday's SA Express-News, I quoted Dorothy Borders in it:

Jayne said...

Great article, Kathleen. We've had one little hummer around for the past couple of weeks.

Thanks Bernie. Yes, the crepe myrtles in the back are doing very well this year.

Yes Dorothy - I should just take joy in what we have, instead of moaning that it's not more :-)