Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Butterfly Garden Notes- Catching up August 27-December 27, 2016

It's been a few months since I've had time to update my garden blog.  During the past several months, I'd been letting the garden maintain itself.  I'd planted enough butterfly and hummingbird plants so that the garden could flourish without my interference and nature could do its thing.  I didn't take many photos over the last few months, but here are a few with notes.

August 27, 2016
The front porch was filled with butterfly plants.  Some of the top hits were:  Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed), Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed), and I also found Asclepias fascicularis (Narrow Leaf Milkweed).  Although this is native, I found the monarchs seemed to prefer the other two varieties for egg laying.  Verbena bonariensis was also a huge hit with all types of butterflies, so I was sure to have plenty of that on hand.  Lastly, Profusion orange zinnia was also top favorite.
 Profusion orange zinnia
September 4, 2016
The patio with profusion orange zinnia and verbena bonariensis and coreopsis
October 17, 2016
Female monarch laying eggs
October 31, 2016
Gulf Fritillaries were abundant during the month of October and laid their eggs on a passion flower vine that sprung up out of the ground from some seeds that had spread last year.  Here they are enjoying the coneflowers.
 Gulf Fritillary caterpillar on passionflower vine
 Monarch caterpillars on the patio
November 5, 2016
More monarch caterpillars on the milkweed in front of the house.  I hope they changed into butterflies.  I didn't keep track of them this time.
December 26, 2016
And here we are the day after Christmas.  I spent Christmas day pruning the rose garden.  Unfortunately, I decided at the end of the day to retire all of them and start anew in the spring.  I'd had my roses in pots since 2013 and sadly, they had outgrown the pots and were so root bound that neither I nor my husband could get them out.  We tried as best we could but eventually, the clay pot gave way on the first one we tried and it broke.  I made the decision it was time to say goodbye and rethink the new garden for 2017.

I pruned down the milkweed and verbena bonariensis and cleared out the rest of the spent summer flowers.  Instead of a rose garden this year, I've decided to use the space for a larger butterfly garden.  As beautiful as roses are to look at and smell, I'd rather create a garden with purpose for the wildlife.  However, I will admit that earlier today as I walked around the rose garden at Descanso Gardens and and smelled the wonderful fragrance, I was already missing my roses.  There is a possibility I may get at least one fragrant rose to mix into the butterfly garden.  It's still winter, so there's plenty of time to decided.  

As a start for the new garden in 2017, I've purchased three more Buddleja or Butterfly Bushes for the front of the house; two on the porch and two where the roses used to be.  The photos below show the garden in it's current state.  Most of the pots are filled with the milkweed and the verbena bonariensis that I pruned.  There is time now to think and plan what it will look like in the new year.

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