Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Conscientious Weeding Is not a Good Thing

Buckeye Caterpillar

He who mows cut the grass. The front yard looks like a park with all green on the ground at one level. 
 I was pulling some chickweed and one of those weeds I leave until it's huge thinking it might be 'something' and they always turn out to be some undesirable.
Suddenly I was eye to eye with caterpillars on blue toadflax.

I leave most weeds with blue flowers, including blue toadflax, Nuttallanthus canadensis.
This is going to seed. It is the host plant for Buckeye butterflies, Junonia coenia .
I've been seeing Buckeyes. Here's proof they're been around.

The reason I was weeding is volunteer violas and emerging lantana foliage.
Buckeyes and others will nectar on the lantana.

New foliage on Crape Myrtles, new buds on Oakleaf Hydrangeas as earliest Spring blooms fade.

Pecans are finally budding out. They know Spring is here.
See the debris at lower right? That's how far up the water came
in the drainage ditch along the highway during the hard rains early this week.


  1. Nell - great point. The deeper I get into gardening, the more I appreciate the balance of nature (and the less OCD I am about 'the perfect lawn' - MUCH less OCD)

  2. Good thing you saw that caterpillar in time. It's an interesting policy to leave weeds with blue flowers. What beautiful-looking grounds you have!

  3. I knew there was a reason I let those weeds flower -- there's probably *something* that uses it as a food source. Great find!

  4. Never seen buckeye cats on toadflax, I do know it is a host for them. Really nice to have them raising young in the garden. That flood must have been really something.

  5. Glad I'm not the only one who waits. One time I was rewarded with a beautiful wild primrose. I love the photos. Nice to see some green and I never met a viola I didn't like. Have fun and thanks for the photos.

  6. I am fortunate that many wildflowers (weeds?) look just fine in my garden. They grow in natural areas and along paths through the garden. The wild violets are especially pretty. We gardeners are managing an eco-system, and you are doing a great job! Your gardens are lovely for people and wildlife both. I also loved you last post on whites in the garden. Gorgeous!

  7. I had lots of those cats last year and had to do some research to find what they were.

    I didn't realize water could come into your yard like that! I hope it doesn't get near the buildings.

    My weeding usually involves pulling something I have long larkspur!

  8. I am weeding out the violas that are so small as well.
    We planted two pecans this winter and are waiting to see if they will leaf out....slow going on them.

  9. In some cases avoidance or procrastination is the key to success. It's nice to be rewarded for not actually weeding. ;-)


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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