Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wonderful - if tiny - Wildlife

Over the last couple of days I had two wildlife encounters in the garden that brought smiles to my face. The first was with two happy, fat swallowtail caterpillars, probably of the black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) feeding on a stand of last year's parsley gone to seed.

The slightly smaller of two black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars

This morning, then, I came across a young praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) guarding one of my eggplants. 

 Darling praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) keeping the eggplants safe

Last year I watched a number of these growing up in the garden over the course of the summer but after not seeing any this year until now I had already given up on them. Consequently I was all the more happy to come across this one.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Starry Strawflowers

I had not grown strawflowers (Xerochrysum bracteatum) in a decade but boy am I glad that on whim late in the winter I ordered some seed and raised a batch of seedlings, because now that they are beginning to bloom and the different colors are appearing I am just in love with them.

Purple-pink was the first color to begin blooming...

...followed by orange-red...

...and now yellow

Now if only all my annual flowers where as tough and self-reliant as these darlings have been so far...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2016

I am finally managing to post for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day again, and lots of blooms there are! Strangely, compared to last July, quite a few things are almost a month behind while others are weeks ahead - testament, perhaps, to the strange winter and spring we had. In any case, let us delve in!

Volunteer feverfew seedlings (Tanacetum parthenium) are continuing the show now that the big mother plant overwintered from last summer is fading

A white musk mallow (Malva moschata) that has been blooming for a while

'Old-Fashioned Vining' petunias perfuming the front steps

The lovely Nicotiana mutabilis - the batch I sowed intentionally did not work out, but luckily quite a few self-sown seedlings of this wonderful species have come up around the garden

The first flower of the long beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis)

The double stocks are still holding on despite the heat, while all the single ones have gone to seed

Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

The heirloom dahlia 'Mrs. I. de Ver Warner', which happily overwintered in the ground

The purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)

One of the big hybrid gladioli...

... and another one that came from the same mix

Tassel flower (Emilia javanica)

Double orange daylilies (Hemerocallis 'Kwanso')

The African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) are just beginning to bloom; I grew a whole range of different varieties this year, looking to see which will be the tallest and most free-flowering

Klip dagga (Leonotis nepetifolia), grown from seed planted inside at the end of February, the plants are now about as tall as me and have already been blooming for close to a month

Just a few of the zinnia colors we have in bloom

Petunia exserta contrasting nicely with the front door

Also explore what is blooming right now in other people's gardens at May Dreams Gardens!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Oh So Satisfactory

Today I finally got around to a few garden tasks that have been overdue for a while. I planted out wallflowers (Erysimum cheiri) and I finally dumped the dormant freesia corms out of their pots and packed them away.

Fat Freesia corms ready to be stored dark and dry until it is time to replant them in the fall

There is something very satisfying about digging up plump corms, bulbs, or tubers, especially if they have grown or multiplied noticeably since the plant was first set in the ground or potted up. For one thing, there is the success of growing the plant well in the first place, but then there is also the promise of even more and greater growth the next season.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Orange... So Much Orange!

I seem to really like orange flowers because a disproportionate number of the things that have begun blooming recently are orange. Not that I am complaining.

 California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Horned poppy (Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum)

Tassel flower (Emilia javanica)

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

African marigold (Tagetes erecta cv.)

More orange might be forthcoming. Other colors too, though.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Eid Mubarak!

A very happy holiday to all those who are celebrating!

I made ma'mūl!

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Bayramınız mübarek olsun

عيد مبارك

Monday, July 4, 2016