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Saturday, November 7, 2015

November in the Garden

When I lived in England, I was always accustomed to seeing butterflies floating about the garden in June, July and August.

In fact I remember earlier this year, being rather despondent at the lack of butterflies in the garden.

I should have remembered that our prime butterfly month is October, and often in to November and beyond.

The garden was ready for them too -- the Vitex, which has bloomed only sporadically all summer, now has quite a few lovely sprays of booms on it.  Just in time to feed this hungry visitor.

We still have some blooms on the tropical milkweed too, but in most cases, the leaves have been eaten by voracious caterpillars.

This photo was actually taken several days ago.  When I went back out to see how he was doing, there was no sign of him.  Then later in the day, I sat down on the patio and noticed this underneath the small table on the patio.

Is it him?  I'll never know, but I'm looking forward to keeping a close eye on it while it goes through its transformation.

And elsewhere around the garden, the milkweed is making preparations for next year.

The brush pile in the utility corner was getting out of hand, so I knew I first needed to tackle the compost bin, which has been more or less ignored most of the year, with the exception of the occasional "stir".

I wasn't sure how much, if any, good compost we would have but was very pleasantly surprised to find the bottom half of the bin filled with dark, moist, rich compost.

I dug out several inches worth and added it to the vegetable beds, in readiness for next year.  Then I got out the "Yard Butler" and mixed up what remained in there and encouraged it to move down ground level to replace what I had just removed.

This provided a few inches of space at the top, so I was able to spend a happy afternoon using our chipper/shredder to shred spent annuals, shrub and tree trimmings and leaves.

There is still some work to be done on the brush pile (while still leaving some to shelter the local wildlife) but it's been steadily raining all day today, so I won't be shredding anything until it dries out.

Maybe next week....

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


Rock rose said...

How wonderful to find the crysalis under your table. She found a nice sheltered spot. How long before the new butterfly emerges? Tell me about your chipper shredder. We used to have a big one which was a brute and always getting clogged. D couldn't wait to get rid of it. Now I just dump everything in the bins and they take forever to make compost. You sad a happy time which makes me think it must be more easy to manage. let me know.

Jayne said...

I checked on the chrysalis this morning, and it's already started to get dark in color. The chipper/shredder is called Eco Shredder - it's not very heavy duty and I wouldn't want to tackle large branches with it. But for shredding a bunch of dried up zinnia plants, milkweed clippings etc. it's been perfect. I did have to ask my husband to unclog it at one point after I had been shredding some rather damp stuff that got clogged around the blades, but other than that it didn't give me a problem.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Hi Jayne, I love seeing the Monarch butterflies in the garden, they remind me of stained glass windows :)
We also have the Milkweed Pods breaking down....flying across on the autumn wind, in hope of attracting more Monarchs next year.
Lovely pictures !