As a “person of curiosity,” I’m easily thrown off course when little garden events prompt questions. On summer evenings in my youth, I was sometimes encouraged to sit on the porch with grownups, to be mesmerized on rare occasions as my great-grandmother’s treasured heirloom “night blooming Cereus” unfurled its large, exotic, fragrant evening flowers. Now […]The Dance of Night Flowers
I spent money on an annual in July. Why would I?
Because it had variegated leaves and a promise.
‘Monarch Promise’ is its hybrid name. Asclepias curassavica is its scientific name.
I wait patiently for Monarch butterflies every summer.
I am lucky if I see one.
I have other types of milkweed, but this one is special. The bloom colors are also two-toned.
My big surprise was that the pods were also striped.
I will be saving these seeds BUT NOT bringing the plant’s pot inside over the winter.
Sometimes it is okay to buy an annual in July.
Now you know why.
UPDATE: One of my knowledgeable readers,Eliza Waters, sent me this link about THIS lovely plant causing problems for our precious Monarchs.
I am in ZONE 7, the plant can overwinter in Zone 10. I will be tossing the plant and saving the seeds instead.
It only takes one glance at them to know how I am doing.
The statues, Lily and Moss, are an accurate indicator of my well-being.
They are concrete canaries in the coal mine.
If the creeping fig gets ahead , it means I am behind.
It’s a cute little vine, but don’t turn your back on it.
I am still in a sling awaiting surgery, so Mr. Flower must do all the heavy lifting.
His chores now include picking the large produce.
I told him it was time to pick some of the butternut squash.
He asked how he would know which ones needed the picking and which the leaving.
I had never been asked such a question. I knew the answer but how to tell someone else was the puzzle.
I had to walk myself through the garden to get an answer.
When a butternut is ripe it looks pale-skin-pink like a rubber baby doll under the leaves.
Only the pale skin colored are ripe.
Mercy! I am glad Mr. Flower is picking these. That whopper might blow out my other shoulder.
Much of my garden looks withered and tired in this heat, so I appreciate any plant that stands up and blooms mid-July. That’s when the Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ plants burst into bloom.
These blooms are visited by many insects. They are especially loved by bumble bees and Hummingbird moths.
This group has slowly spread over the years to form a lovely display. The plants have lost some of their color because they are not in full sun. I will eventually move the perimeter plants to a sunnier location to regain the burgundy spots.
A tiny version of Eucomis stays in pots. Its name is ‘Aloha.’ The blooms are the size of a thumbprint.
Eucomis plants originated in Africa, so they can take our North Carolina heat.
The bulbs are poisonous which means they are not eaten by my little friends.
I love my deer friends. I do not mind sharing a bit of my flower smorgasbord. But some things are off limits.
I have fence rings and mesh to gently signal that certain special plants should be avoided.
These deterrents do not stop the most determined eaters. Most of the time the eaten parts grow back.
But what does one do with a headless sunflower?
The poor little juicy buds were removed overnight.
Now I have topless, leafless stalks surrounding an obelisk. This is not the look I was going for!
Well at least I have one bloom. I hope this isn’t removed by a raccoon!
I should have known better than to order seeds on the internet,
but I had my heart set on Flying Saucers entwining on my new circles trellis.
The seeds came in a plain sealed envelope. There was a little paper about morning glories included.
These seeds have been carefully planted and pampered.
I was excited to see the first buds. I was looking forward to those giant blue and white blooms mixing with the red blooms of the Red Cypress vine. But instead of Lovely blue blooms, purple appeared.
The purple bloom came over like a lead balloon. Maybe a stray wild seed got mixed in?
More and more purple flowers have appeared. Just that small common variety that grows by the side of the road.
I fear the Flower has imported an expensive weed!
Now that I’m thinking about it, the Lablab purpureus I ordered does look a little like Kudzu.
Another flower that goes over the top showing off is the Stargazer lily.
Its colors demand attention.
Its fragrance lures you over to it.
The plant is poisonous if ingested.
Its pollen stains you with it’s deep rust if you touch it.
The faces are head high and look up bravely into yours.
This lily is a diva.