July 28, 2011

Laura Pedlum Is Back and Still Lovely

One of the most frequent searches that finds my blog is for Laura Pedlum. My Loropetalum pictures in full bloom are sometimes downloaded. I noticed today that one is already putting on the little fringes that we usually begin to see in August, a rebloom of the spring show but with fewer flowers.

Hot pink fringes of Loropetalum against lilac pink blooms of Crape Myrtle. A few Loropetalum leaves are already turning red.

Around the pump house I have a border of shrubs with white blossoms which includes a white Loropetalum. It isn't blooming now.  Reblooming is a white Crape Myrtle.

Janie had mentioned the scent of white Crape Myrtle. This morning before the sun was hot and everything was still damp from dew, the fragrance was wonderful in the shade.

White Crape Myrtle and a bottle tree in the pumphouse bed.

White Crape on the right in the front garden.

Loropetalum blooms before the Azalea show starts in Spring and lasts past the last Azaleas. As years pass, Loropetalum tends to grow into trees unless pruned hard.

Loropetalum in bloom in the early spring.

Laura Pedlum is a welcome visitor. She has come to stay.

Butterflies are welcome visitors, too. Here's a Spicebush Swallowtail happily working Pride of Barbados. He is momentarily joined by another butterfly who soon flies off to a greener vista.

July 21, 2011

Butterfly Pizzaria Video and Butterfly Poll

On recent butterfly videos, I've spoken. This one muted me, but you may listen for the buzz of an insect and a bird's call. Then watch the reaction of the butterflies when an auto speeds by on the paved road.

Butterflies here continue to nectar on Tithonia almost exclusively while Lantana montevidensis, Verbena bonariensis, Duranta, Pentas and Crocosmia in the same vicinity are mostly ignored.

Gulf Fritiallaries on Tithonia -- a Butterfly Pizzaria
I think they like Tithonia because they can just sit on the blossom and get plenty of nectar.

The primary butterflies seen are Gulf Fritillaries and Pipevine Swallowtails. Spicebush Swallowtails are increasing. Skippers abound. Little Dogface Sulphurs are around and I see a rare Tiger and Zebra.

Passionflower fruit about the size of a lime at woods edge.
Somebody has been chewing on the leaves.
Curiously, when I went to check on the butterfly population in the wild areas
I saw only one Gulf Frit, on Ironweed.

Buckeyes and American Painted Ladies have all but disappeared since the weather got so hot but they were here ahead of Swallowtails earlier in the summer. They should return when new broods hatch. Some of their host plants disappeared in the recent drought. I hope the zealous mowing by He-who-mows did not destroy some habitat. He gets anxious about rattlesnakes when the meadows get tall and mows a little further out.

What butterflies are you seeing in your garden during such hot weather? There's a poll on the sidebar for your input. If you leave a comment as well, we'll know where the butterflies are showing up.

Thank you for your interest and participation. It's never too hot to go outside and look at butterflies. Wear a hat, don't stay too long and drink plenty of iced tea when you come inside.


July 20, 2011

Fig Cookies

I wasted several minutes looking up the phrase, "... don't give a fig," and traced its heritage back to Shakespeare and beyond before I decided not discuss all that but just to tell you about my fig cookies.

I adapted a recipe for Italian fig cookies that I found online. Very simple to make, unlike the fig newtons which want a rolled and cut dough and cooked fig filling. Just cream a stick of  butter and a cup of Splenda, add an egg, dump in two cups of self rising flour and a teaspoon of ground cloves -- if you have cloves. I used Apple Pie spice. Fold in a cup of chopped figs and a half cup of walnuts. The first time, I used too many figs and chopped them first instead of last: disaster. This time I used barely ripe figs and cut them in quarters just before I added them.  They held their shape.

We've given away figs until the neighbors are avoiding us. I cooked some in light syrup and put in the freezer for DH's winter breakfasts. Pears are beginning to ripen and he's in favor of pear preserves now. I found a recipe for figs stuffed with parmesan cheese wrapped in bacon and baked until the bacon is crisp from a fancy restaurant in I think it was Houston. Sounds tasty.

A second crop is coming on. During the recent rain, ripe
figs swelled and burst, to the delight of the birds.
They get the ones I can't reach that are not hidden among the leaves down low.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

July 17, 2011

Ike and Julia and a Backup Plan

Ike the Cat followed me around the garden. I heard Mockingbirds scolding. I couldn't see Ike, but I saw Black eyed Susans waving. Ike was hiding while he chewed a bit of Lemon Grass. Cymbopogon is a fav of both the cat and dog. I pot up a clump for the greenhouse and they chew it all winter.

Lemon Grass is a fav of mine, too. I've had a hard time
taking to grasses. Cymbopogon makes a pretty bluish clump.

Julia Child is my fav Floribunda.

Another look at Julia

I moved two Mariesii Hydrangeas at the beginning of summer. What I thought was a shady spot got middday and early afternoon sun. Despite copious watering, they dried up and died. I had a backup plan. I've killed these before when I moved the first cuttings that had rooted so well when I stuck them in the ground. I took cuttings again. These have put on new growth. Now to make a plan for keeping them alive through the winter. When they reach blooming size, they have blue lacecap blossoms.

Mariesii in a previous year, cutting grown 

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

July 15, 2011

Bloom Day Butterflies' Favorite Flowers

When I went out this morning it was starting to rain and my hoped-for Butterfly post was not to be on Seedscatterer. I showed Okra blossoms instead.

This afternoon when the rain stopped, butterflies came back out with the sun.

Swallowtail and Bee on Pride of Barbados, Tecoma stans behind.

Swallowtail on Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Sulphur on Lantana

Dusky Wing on Lantana

Gulf Frit on Tithonia

A Skipper on a Zinnia

The very favorite nectar plant right now is Tithonia.
I made two short butterfly videos so you can see.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Visit Carol to show your Bloom Day blossoms and find many other Bloom Day posts.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

July 14, 2011

Workaround for a Rose Grower

A workaround is a bypass of a recognized problem in a system. A workaround is typically a temporary fix that implies that a genuine solution to the problem is needed. Frequently workarounds are as creative as true solutions, involving outside the box thinking in their creation. -- definition from Wikipedia.

I discovered a blog and blogger, new to Blotanical. Well, the blogger is new. Somehow the blog didn't have a feed that was picked up so the blog isn't listed. RevRoses is one of our new members and is in the New Member list but his blog:

Red Dirt Roses

isn't listed in New Blogs or the Alpha List.

Somehow his Blot Sprout listing put his own name as his Mentor. He didn't know he was supposed to have a Mentor. I sent him to Feedburner to look at feeds info. That is as much help as I can give when it comes to feeds. Wait, I've discovered an important fact. Blogs waiting for approval from a Mentor get listed as a new blogger, but their feed isn't added until they're given that approval. I don't know a workaround for that if you are your own Mentor.

Please visit and give Scott a welcome and look at his posts of Roses and more Roses in Oklahoma.

Greggo, Grouchy, HolleyGarden, Masha and Redneck Rosarian, among others, found him before I did. Thanks to everybody who is paying attention.

July 10, 2011

What Do Butterflies Want? A Big Orange?

A new flock of butterflies are showing up. As the seasons change and new  broods hatch -- I saw a Spicebush Swallowtail drying his wings this afternoon -- tastes change. Pentas are blooming well now but have few visitors. Tecoma stans and Pride of Barbados have fewer visitors than usual. I don't have Porterweed this year, so cannot compare there.

Crocosmia is not as popular as it sometimes is.

Swallowtails are voting for orange Tithonia.

Once in a while, petunias get a visit.
Melampodium, never.
Lantana, usually.

Coneflower popularity has waned.

Tithonia, yes.
Notice the Muhly Grass is getting ready to bloom!

Gulf Frits and Bees agree. Tithonia.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

July 02, 2011

Have Your Garden and Eat It Too

Rosalind Creasy's book, Edible Landscaping was awarded to a lucky reader of Simply Susans' blog
  --ME! It came in yesterday's mail. There was no requirement that I have to review the book, or even mention it. I must tell you about it.

The cover has photos of red cabbages, eggplants and apples and a picture of a patio  garden with bowls of red tomatoes in a setting of both edibles and ornamental plants, inviting a look inside.

Cabbages from my neighbor's garden.
Real cabbages are as beautiful as ornamental ones for a late winter garden.

I'm already planning to plant red mustard with foxtail fern and alyssum as
illustrated in the book. All I need are the mustard seeds before autumn.

This is not a small book. Four hundred large pages of information and photos inspire. I'm already planning how I can reconstruct my herb garden, enlarge my okra bed into a potager and landscape around my pear trees.

My herb garden with calendula, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
It can be so much more with some additions and renovation.

Red Onions
The second half of the book is an Encyclopedia of Edibles
followed by a Big List of Edible Plants.

Recent pic of pears in my garden.
Ms. Creasy's book not only discusses varieties of pears and how to grow them
she tells how to use them in the kitchen and how to place them in the landscape.

Okra was included in the book.
She did not rave about it the way I would have.
We had fried okra for dinner last evening, and baked zuchinni.
My plants need a more decorative setting besides
the makeshift fence for keeping out the cat and dog.

Hidden Ginger, Shell Ginger, variegated Alpinia and Cardamon Ginger at lower edge.
My gingers do not include Zingiber. The Ginger Garden will definitely need updating 

Pineapple Pear

I've been reading Rosalind Creasy's work for years. I still treasure her article from Country Living Gardens of 16 years ago, A Storybook Garden, visited by Alice in Wonderland and her friends. The Alice Garden featured vegetables and herbs as well as the expected maze and teahouse. The nearest I came to an Alice Garden was red roses, white roses and a cement rabbit. This latest book holds the same enchantment. 

Red Cascade

Thank you, Susan, for this wonderful book.
I wish everybody could have one.
It would definitely be an investment that will
return a good dividend in Landscape Edibles.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

I Blog Here & Here too