The buddleia alternifolia in the courtyard is attracting all manner of bees and butterflies. The plant is absolutely alive with activity. I got a nice photograph of a monarch feeding on it late in the afternoon.
Another sure sign of spring is the annual Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour, which is coming up on April 23, 2011. Ron went on the tour last year so we could get ideas for our first chicken coop and to collect information from local experts about what types of chickens do well here. Now, less than a year later, we have our first coop and a nice little family of chickens, two hens and one rooster.
Every summer for the past ten or so I have said to myself, surely this summer won’t be as hot and dry as last summer, but unfortunately that just hasn’t turned out to be the case. According to Jim Spencer at KXAN, the summer of 2009 has already been the hottest summer on record so far, with more than 30 days over 100 degrees F. Add to that the fact that we have also had almost no rain for the past six weeks (see the drought map below), we remain in the worst drought that we have seen here for years. All in all, this makes for some terribly challenging growing and gardening conditions.
Trellis construction has been slow, but steady. With every additional element the structure looks better and better. The header boards are completed and the posts have been cut to length, and the structure balances well with the size and scale of the retaining wall below.
Our valley is more colorful this year than I can ever remember it. I don’t know what determines the level of color in our native trees, but we have had very little rain here since last May, very hot summer temperatures, and a very mild fall so far. The red oaks seem to get more [...]
The Copper Canyon daisies in the front courtyard are blooming profusely now. I planted them last spring and was surprised when they started blooming about a month after I planted them. I thought they only bloomed in the fall, but perhaps I was mistaken. There are only three plants, but they have gotten quite large [...]
The gardens are alive with butterflies, bees, birds, and caterpillars. Yellow and white skippers are abundant, and swallowtails, monarchs, painted ladies, and fritillaries are frequent visitors as well. The front courtyard, which is visible from most rooms in the house, provides a picture window view to all of the activity.
November is the month that the Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico, and I have been anticipating their arrival this year since we have more flowers this year than in past years. I saw my first Monarch of the year several days ago. Yesterday there were quite a few of them here feeding on our marigolds and mealy sage. I got several nice photos of them with their wings closed, but wasn’t able to capture one with their wings spread. They are very skittish. With some luck I will have more opportunities to get the full dorsal shots I am after.
Once again I have been graced by the visit of another beautiful swallowtail butterfly. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, we haven’t had many butterflies this year, but the few that we have had have been large swallowtails.
Although the wind was blowing steadily at about 25 mph when I was shooting these pictures, I couldn’t resist trying to get some photos of this beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. I had been bemoaning the fact that we haven’t had many butterflies in the garden yet this year, and then this guy showed up this morning.
These pictures show a bit more detail of the features that were installed at the condo project. All of the plant material is native or well adapted to this area. Much of it is deer resistant. Lantana with Monarch Bamboo Muhly and Crepe Myrtle on Side Yard Path Front Steps Variegated Ginger Variegated Miscanthus Desert [...]
We were adopted by a very cute kitten a couple of weeks ago. We call him Button. Kitten Up Close Our fennel and parsley plants were literally covered with swallowtail and monarch caterpillars this spring, and I have already begun seeing many butterflies in the gardens. Swallowtails on Fennel More Swallowtails on Fennel There are [...]
I took these pictures last week before the cold snap arrived. It is hard to believe that it was snowing just two days ago. All of my plants seem to have weathered the cold with little damage. I did cover the tomato plants with thermal row cover fabric, so they should be fine. We planted [...]
We planted carolina jessamine next to the dog pen fence outside our office window several years ago, and I continue to be pleased with how it is spreading on the fence. It is evergreen, and blooms from February through November (on and off). It thrives in the shade, and attracts many butterflies. When I saw [...]
These are the last of my fall photos. I finally got a shot of a monarch (last of the photos). I am not sure what type of caterpillar the first photo is – I am still researching it. I thought the caterpillar in the third photo was a monarch, but after doing a little research, [...]