Monday, September 28, 2015

Purple False Foxglove in the Meadows

One of my favorites in the fall meadow is Gerardia or Agalinis purpurea, native to the eastern US.

Host to Buckeye caterpillars. 

Wind blows the seeds to new places.

We mow paths through patches of wildflowers. Agalinis grows well in damp places.

It was a grey day and few butterflies were out. I watched a single Gulf Fritillary for the longest time and it never got into a good camera range.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Lespedeza and Blue Curls in Wildflower Meadows

Yesterday's meadow pictures yielded 125 views, narrowed to about 35 things you need to see. A dozen  plants and several fauna were too many for a single post, so I am starting at random.

Lespedeza virginica, a legume.

The seeds are eaten by game birds, particularly Bobwhite Quail.

 Last year I noticed Lespedeza in the meadow for the first time, a single plant. This year there is this single plant about 200 feet to the east of last year's plant as if the west wind blew a seed there.

Close up so you can see the pea-like blooms.

This is the spot where I flushed a single pair of Bobwhite Quail, who quickly went to ground among the grasses and disappeared from sight.

Blue curls (Trichostema dichotomum) a mint, is common in Florida and eastern North America. 

Blue Curls make a stunning show with yellow wildflowers.
Of course none of the pictures of them together turned out well.

You can see where the name Curls comes from.

Last year I paired Blue Curls and Bidens in the same post: Bidens and Blue Curls. This year I will not show Bidens again. We are spending much time picking Spanish Needles out of the dog's fur. 

A welcome cool wind arrived with the onset of fall. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Starting Over

Remember last spring when I put much effort into making a landing in front of the Mule Barn access door?

Came the intensive growing season midsummer, I got sick and couldn't help what went on out there and bermuda grass and nut grass took it over. A sorry sight.

When I got home from town today, He-Who-tears up things had loosened the front part of the bricks with machinery but stopped before he ran into the building which he couldn't see.

I helped get them into the front end loader, loosening the remainder of the concrete pieces with my handy spading fork.

Now there's another plan and all my rubble is behind the hedge in the secret garden. Happy Fall, Y'all.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bulbs that Bloom in Fall and Butterflies, too

We generally remember to order bulbs that are planted in fall and to order bulbs for forcing for Christmas and thereafter. How often do we remember in early summer that we may want fall blooming bulbs?

I was watching for Sternbergia, these from Barbara from Texas.

Blooming among Lantana foliage, typical of fall bulbs to bloom bare stemmed.

More and more Lycoris radiata pop up at edges of beds and in the lawn.

I read yesterday not to plant Red Spider Lilies and Oxblood Lilies together as they detract from each other. It doesn't require much thought to realize that. One follows the other, but they need room to multiply.

On to Fall Butterflies. Here's a gorgeous animated poster I found:

Butterflies of North America

It features 42 different butterflies, fluttering. When I looked  closely,  it does not show a Gulf Fritillary, one of our best orange butterflies. I counted a dozen that we do see here.

 One of those is Spicebush Swallowtail.

First there was one, then two, then three.

They do love Pentas.

Here's the only picture I was able to get of the Sulfur Butterfly that was
nectaring on a Geranium. Before I went for the camera, he spread his wings
and posed so pretty. Another came along. I went for the camera and you
know how that always turns out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Foliage Followup, Sort of

More or less foliage with some blooms and butterflies thrown in with random thoughts.

A Bloom Day blog from central Florida showed the last of Caesalpinia blooms with Senna plants, both legumes. I pair Pride of Barbados, lower right with Tecoma stans, upper left. This year I stuck in a plant of Stachtarpheta or Porterweed to add more red-orange to the mix. Foliage of the 3 plants look complimentary to me. Making a note to add Senna alata to the mix next year.

This is of interest for the bloom more so than the foliage. Something, either the dog, or deer seeking to drink where water drips into a depression in a large stone at the top of this slope or some other critter broke the only Dog Banana/Narrowleaf Pawpaw/Asimina augustifolia to the ground earlier in the summer. Since then, it put out new growth and bloomed. I've never seen blooms in late summer before.

I was eager for this plant to survive because it attracts Zebra Swallowtails as a host.

 We are near the end of the season for Pipevine Swallowtails and Tithonia is nearly gone. Gulf Fritillaries are still plentiful as are Yellow Sulfur butterflies, attracted to Lantana which is still flourishing. I'll show them another time. 

It was a good summer for Porterweed, too.

I thought that Duranta would never bloom. It's blooming well now.

We saw lots of Salvia leucantha on blogs farther south on Bloom Day. So far I've seen only one open bloom spike here. I always look forward to those velvety bracts.

He-Who-Mows made trails through the meadows this week so I can go look for fall wildflowers. I know that Elephant's foot has already bloomed. Silk Grass is about to open and there was lots of Eupatorium open when I took the dog for a ride. Buckeye butterflies are out, looking for Agalinis which has not yet bloomed.

Almost forgot, Rabbit Tobacco is blooming. It's small in the meadows. A clump that volunteered at the corner of the greenhouse is four feet tall. I had to stake it. I love it for its resinous fragrance when the leaves dry. I'm going to try making little pillows stuffed with Rabbit Tobacco.

Do visit Pam Penick's fantastic blog to see REAL Foliage Followups of all kinds.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Is a Sign of Impending Fall

Late summer bulbs send up blooms after good rains. Sumac, Sassafras and Virginia Creeper have red leaves showing up and falling to the ground.

Lycoris sends no warning -- buds just spike up. Spring foliage is long gone.

Magnolia seed pods open to reveal red seeds.

Geraniums/Pelargoniums are not a sign of fall, they're just pretty.
First time in years I've grown Geraniums.

The best fall reds show in with the purple haze of fall. Rhodophiala  and Setcreasea.

Red Spider Lilies and Persian Shield, together again.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Rest of the Night-blooming Story

Alison wanted to see the big morning glory that I think to be Ipomoea macrorhiza IN BLOOM. I braved the dark because I wanted to see it, too.

It has a sweet fragrance, nothing to compare with brugs and jungle cactus.

It was kind of spooky, 'way out there. Buffy stayed near the house. Even the cat didn't offer to go with me.
I see little purpose in novelty flowers that bloom in the night far from the house. 

I went back this morning in daylight. The sun was already up and the blossom had closed.

Back near the house entrance last night there were many fragrant and welcoming blooms. These are sweet.

These have a heavy, spicy scent. They were not yet open when I opted for an early bedtime.

By the time I was up and had coffee, the cactus blooms were already starting to droop and close.

Early sunlight caught the beauty of Brugs.  I cut some scrub oak limbs to use as props to get the leaning brug limbs off the driveway enough for the car to pass by without touching. 

There should be one last hurrah of night blooming cactus blooms after I bring the ungainly plants in for the winter. There are already blooms on Brug cuttings in the greenhouse.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Inmates Have Taken over the Asylum!

For more than 10 years, a Mandevilla vine climbed the center support of my grape arbor to bloom in late summer. This year I noticed a vine among the grapevines with different buds and leaves.

I have yet to catch a blossom open. They obviously bloom at night.

Mandevilla has a different leaf, a different bud color. This vine failed to return.

My best guess is Ipomoea macrorhiza.

No clue what critter brought a seed to this spot.

Last night I was occupied with watching Night Blooming Cactus open 

and forgot to go out in the darkness to look. Maybe tonight I'll remember now that I've addressed the plant.

Wrapping around the stems of grapevine, it is a vigorous climber.

If my ID is correct, Ipomoea macrorhiza is native to the southeastern states. It has a small tuber rather than the shallow roots of other morning glories. The bloom is much larger than a regular morning glory. My opinion of morning glories has always been that they are invasive field weeds.