Sunday, October 13, 2013

Butterflies - Giant Swallowtail

This Black Swallowtail showed up once this summer.  I didn't get many photos.

 He's very big.

And very beautiful.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Butterflies - The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

This beautiful butterfly graced my garden from July through August.

He is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

He didn't seem to mind my following him from flower to flower.

Nor did he mind me leaning in for real close shots of him.

At times he acted like a model; knowing just how to pose for the camera.

It's scientific name is Papilio glaucus Linnaeus 1758


   Look at the beautiful markings; the blue, the yellow crescents at the edge of the blue;

the little touches of orange

 I love this one.  He is so busy at work getting that little proboscis into the tiny pollen filled clusters.

Only thing left to say is "Simply beautiful" and I hope I see them next year.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Blooming

Firecracker plant

Gladiolas - since this photo was take the grasshoppers have really wreaked havoc on the greenery of these.  I took care of them though.  It was brutal.

Day lilies - These were given to me by my sister a couple of years ago.

 Texas Sage.  The honey bees are loving it in the morning!

Not out in the garden but just as important as it holds a special place in front of the kitchen sink. 
varia.ated African Violet

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Zinnia's From Seed

I gain a tremendous satisfaction from growing flowers and plants from seed.  My repertoire is not large but I have, over the years, chosen several that do very well with me.  One of those plants are Zinnias.

They are bright, you can select a rainbow of colors and sizes.  And they are easy.

I gather all of my seed starting paraphernalia which includes plant markers.  I made these from an old plastic milk carton that was going to the dump.  Sharpie permanent markers work great to list the seedlings you are planting.

This past Spring I collected all sorts of aluminum pans and trays that were left over from a big bake sale at work.

With an ice pick I poked holes all over the bottom of the pan for drainage.

Start with a good Seed Starting potting mix that is light and soiless.  Those delicate roots need room to move easily.

Fill the container with the seedling mixture and dampen thoroughly but not muddy wet

Work the water and seed planting mixture until everything is damp.

Once planting medium is ready, separate your seeds out onto a dark piece paper.

Twist the toilet/paper towel rolls (cut to about an inch and a half) down into the planting medium.  These will be your little pots that will hold the seeds.

Using a pair of tweezers, place about 3 seeds in each container. 

Using a spray bottle, spritz thoroughly.  over the top of the pan with Saran Wrap to create a small green house effect.  Once you have sprouts, remove the plastic wrap and start maintaining your seedlings.

When you have two sets of leaves, very carefully tear off one set of leaves.  This will help the plant grow bushier.

Once they have several leaves, plant them in a sunny location in your garden

I've to see the geometrics of the buds as they open

 I love to watch the formation of a bloom

Once they start blooming they keep going and going.  Deadheading is a good idea; you'll get so many more blooms by doing so

 Zinnias make me smile

 Water them regularly while they establish and then they can be quite drought tolerant.. You'll be able to tell when they need water because their leaves begin to curl in.  They love the sun and the heat.  Perfect for our Texas summers.

 One more treat they provide is that they bring in an abundance of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to the garden.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Tecoma stans.  Also known as Esperanza, Yellow Bells, Yellow Elder & Hardy Yellow Trumpet.  It dons large yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.  And how it blooms!  I got to enjoy three seasons of blooming this past year; spring, summer and autumn.

This shrub was a delight in the garden.  It thrived through the heat and drought and tripled in size from the time I planted it.

The flowers have a pleasing fragrance although a little different.  The Indians made bows from its wood, and in Mexico a beer was prepared from its roots; it has also been used for a variety of medicines.

The flowers also provide nectar for bees.

There are several bumble bees who have claimed this as their eating establishment.  I think this is his happy hour.

This was supposed to have been winter hardy here in Fort Worth but, alas, it never came back this past Spring.  I have truly missed it in the garden this summer.

Surprisingly Lovey didn't care for it.  I don't understand why but I'm going to plant another one next year anyway; perhaps in a different spot where he won't have to look at it.