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Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the Storm

As most people are aware, Texas got a lot of wind and rain last weekend, courtesy of Hurricane Patricia.

The predictions were pretty grim, and we were expecting the worst, but luckily, the storm downgraded and we didn't get hit as badly as we feared.  We didn't get flooded (although some roads were closed) and we didn't lose power.
Still, that didn't stop folks having a little fun on the internet at our expense!  (I can't talk, I shared this one myself on Facebook :-)

So after the storm, I took a stroll round the garden to see how everything had fared and was happy to see that other than some drooping Milkweed stalks, everything was fine.

I also got a pleasant surprise when I saw that the rainfall had encouraged my Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia) to bloom.

It has been in a container in that same spot for at least three years and this is the first time it has bloomed for me.

There was also speculation on the internet about how Hurricane Patricia would adversely affect the Monarch migration as they would be passing directly through the area.

Well it seems that our local Monarchs found somewhere safe to hunker down during the storm and have been seen the past couple of days, fueling up on the Vitex and laying eggs on the Milkweed before they head south.

I also read an interesting article on, Hurricane Patricia: How Monarch butterflies faced down the storm and it seems that butterflies flying through Arizona, in the direct line of the storm were pretty darned smart.

"But those butterflies shifted their flight east, away from the hurricane’s track, according to the Mexican national agency tasked with tracking them.

The butterflies “changed their route from west to east and have taken refuge in the ravines” of the country’s eastern mountain range, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) reported."

Isn't nature wonderful?

I've linked this post to Today's Flowers, hosted by Denise at An English Girl Rambles.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Winged Beauty

I was sitting on the patio in the shade, browsing through the Native American Seed catalog, trying to decide what I want to plant next year, when a flutter of color caught my eye.

I looked up to see this lovely Giant Swallowtail,  Papilio cresphontes, enjoying the Profusion zinnia.  

 I have to tell you, whatever I decide to add next year, I'll be sure to include this zinnia! It shrugs off our heat and humidity and the bees, butterflies and even the hummingbirds love it.

And once it goes to seed, I suspect that the sparrows and other birds will enjoy pecking at the seed heads.

This beauty floated around for several minutes, allowing me to go indoors and get the camera to take these shots, and even take a short video.

Now *this*, is why I garden :-)

I'm linking this post to Camera Critters, do take a peek and visit some of the other Camera Critters participants this week.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bring on the Butterflies and Planning for Next Year

 Ahhh, my favorite time of year.  I know I say that a lot, but it's true!  We get a little respite from the blistering heat of summer and it seems like the garden sighs with relief too.

Much of the zinnia that self-seeded throughout the islands beds is on its way out now, but this patch is still vibrant, and getting lots of attention from butterflies and bees.  I've been busy collecting seeds for next year :-)

It took me a while to get this photo of a gulf fritillary nectaring on the zinnia.  He seemed to be overwhelmed by choice and kept flitting from bloom to bloom before I could focus on him.  Finally he settled down and I was able to get some good shots.

This is the first Buckeye I have seen this year, so I was pleased to be able to watch him for a while and get some photos.  I don't know if it's just my imagination, but it seems like we've had more of them, and earlier in the year in previous years.

I had planted native milkweed roots earlier in the year and some of them came up quite quickly.  But for some reason, they didn't thrive.  Not sure if it was because of too much competition from the zinnias, not enough water, too much water, or what, but only one of them made it, and I wouldn't exactly say that one is thriving.  Luckily, we still have lots of tropical milkweed, as this Monarch butterfly discovered.

Sorry about the bad quality of this photo of what I think is a Pipevine Swallowtail, but the photo was taken through the blinds and a rather grubby bedroom window, zoomed in across the garden to the Vitex tree. This is the first of these I have seen this year.

I haven't seen a hummingbird here at the house since last weekend, but was thrilled to be able to capture this photo of a female ruby-throat at Kleb Woods before they all head south.   

I suppose it won't be too much longer before I will be cleaning up in the garden, pulling out the spent plants and prepping the beds for next year.

I've looked back on the successes (and failures) from this year and am making plans for next year.

Our garden always seems to be dominated by orange, red and yellow, so I definitely want to add some more variety next year - more whites, blues, purples and pinks to offset all the orange.

I made a start the other week by ordering some seeds from Park -- Achillea Summer Berries, Cleome Queen (mix) and Agastache. And just this morning I spent a pleasant hour browsing through the Native American Seed catalog and trying to narrow down my list!

What plans do you have for your garden next year?

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