There’s been a delay in gratitude-list postings while I learned how to use a slideshow plugin for WordPress. I’ve still been going out to the garden every morning with my camera, however, and as usual the garden has more to give than I know what to do with. So here goes with the slideshow gratitude tour:
Portulaca blooming on perimeter of wildflower garden.
Small Sugar Baby watermelon, just discovered under the branches of an African marigold in the fifth terrace.
A Red Ruffled eggplant is blooming! This one is growing in a 10-inch pot along with a Clemson Spineless okra. Apparently, a good companion planting.
Pearly Crescentspot Fritillary which held still long enough to have its picture taken on the outskirts of the wildflower garden.
Autumn Beauty sunflower in row three of the wildflower garden.
Sweat bee on wild sunflower. The sunflower was transplanted into the fifth row of the wildflower garden last week.
Strawflower blooming in a pot on the back patio. The petals make a papery, rustling sound when stroked. Very cool.
Purple Hull pea seedling coming up in second row of the wildflower garden; the first two rows are doing double duty, growing both field peas and flowers.
Native bee on annual phlox. The phlox started blooming in April and some of them are still going strong three months later.
Is it possible to be grateful for kudzu? I believe it is, even though I won’t permit it to smother my trees and shrubs. The vine in this photo isn’t actually kudzu, but it is kudzu-like in its tenacity; I periodically have to yank it off my shrubs so they can breathe. (I wanted to have a rhyming title today, and “Et tu, ivy?” didn’t fit the bill.) What I like about this vine is that it can be used as natural twine; having pulled it off the shrubs, I strip it of leaves and wind it around various plants that need to be staked or trellised, like my sunflowers and tomatoes. I’m also grateful for the bloom next to the vine, which is (I think) a dayflower.
I find I’m particularly fond of native bees, although I despair of ever learning to identify them. I surfed around and found Join the Conversation about Native Bees, which may contain the answer. Maybe this one is an anthrophora centriformis? What I do know is that I love this bee’s pollen baskets, which are so full they look like woolly leg warmers!
And I’m thrilled with this sunflower, which was liberated last week during the Wild Sunflower Caper. I removed it from a construction site, where it was slated to be bulldozed for the building of yet another strip shopping center. I transplanted it into the fifth row of my wildflower garden; and not only has this plant survived, it is already thriving. Wild sunflowers are tough!
Today has been a tougher day to be grateful, as my allergies are tearing me up. But the garden still has gifts to offer, starting with a white crab spider. (I assume that’s what it is. Remember, I’m an amateur.) The spider is sitting on an okra leaf; and although I certainly felt grateful to have the opportunity to take this picture, the spider was looking none too pleased, threatening me with two sets of front legs. So I moved on, not wanting to cause this arachnid undue distress.
To my delight, I discovered that my Armenian cucumbers finally have some female blossoms! I’ve been waiting at least three weeks, with the plants covered in blooms but stubbornly producing only males. At long last! I may get to find out what an Armenian cucumber tastes like after all.
And the last item on our gratitude list today is a Texas Yellow Star. This plant has been blooming prolifically in the wildflower garden for a month; my gratitude comes from finally being able to identify it. It’s nice to be able to get a sense of accomplishment from such small things.
Today, this butterfly is our gratitude winner! It even managed to strike a pose on a bluebonnet, with a morning glory in the background. Awesome. And I’m amazed that I still have a small sprinkling of bluebonnets in the wildflower garden, even though it is the end of June.
Apparently, today is insect gratitude day, as a bee obligingly held still long enough for me to get a shot of it posing on a Flying Saucer morning glory. I do not know the species of my winged visitors, so I will surf for info and get back to you. (Update: looks like the butterfly is a Checkered White, Pontia protodice. But don’t quote me on that. I am no lepidopterist.)
And I’m grateful for the Flying Saucers, too; the blooms vary in color from almost white with pale blue streaks to royal blue with a few white streaks. I found this one blooming next to a stalk of horsemint.
Every morning, I grab my camera and go take pictures of the garden’s latest surprises. It’s like finding Easter eggs! The garden has several for us today–a purple petunia, a Mexican sunflower, a Dwarf Incredible sunflower, and the Mystery Flower. I’ll be researching the last one and posting about it later when the mystery has been solved.
Although the plant is only two and a half feet tall, Dwarf Incredible sunflower blooms are full size. This one is the first bloomer on the front row of the wildflower area, and I noticed it is being visited by a lot of bees. The local pollinators think the front yard is a pretty good restaurant.
This is the Mystery Flower! To the left is a marigold that hasn’t started blooming yet. (After Googling for images, looks like this is a Pink Catchfly. I scattered one pack of these seeds in with the wildflower seeds early this spring.)
…And this is the Mexican Sunflower. The plant is four feet tall.