Friday, May 4, 2007

Butterflies, Hummers and Baskets

First of all, a big congratulations to Pam at Digging for her excellent article in the Austin American-Statesman. You're a talented writer and gardener, Pam. Thanks for letting everyone know about the Austin Garden Bloggers. It was a privilege to meet all of you. I'm honored I was included, despite my newby status.

The plants in my garden continue to grow. The front porch basket of petunias and vinca minor is finally starting to fill out.

My next project will be to make this bare front porch more inviting. I'm considering a rail basket and a planter topped with a trellis to add some color and structure to the porch.

Last week I laid a set of 4 stepping tiles under my back garden faucet. There's not much in that shady, damp space besides mud and tiny weeds at this point, but the tiles at least keep my toes clean.

I'd love to plant some moss around the tiles if I thought it would live. I saw some for sale at a nursery, so might just try a little as an experiment. If it doesn't work out, I may plant ajuga there instead.

Re-evaluation seems to be my gardening M.O. lately. For example, I was going to replace the crepe myrtle (lagerstroemia) in my front garden with a native Texas orchid tree. But this week I noticed dozens of butterflies on the crepe myrtle blossoms. I still want the orchid tree, but the crepe myrtle has won a reprieve.

Here you can see a Red Admiral sharing a blossom with a honey bee.

They don't keep their wings open for long. So this was a lucky shot.

I love watching the Banded Hairstreaks (Satyrium calanus) flutter about.

This little fellow seemed to stare at the camera defiantly as if to say, "What are you lookin' at?"

When the Banded Hairstreak lands he moves the false 'antenna' on the back of his wings with his legs. This fools an attacking bird into pecking his tail instead of his head so the butterfly is more likely to escape.

My hummingbird feeder was such a high traffic area with so many hummer 'wars' I decided to buy a second feeder. The Black-Chinned Hummingbird male cannot guard both feeders as well, so more hummers are able to drink in peace. Though peace is a relative term when it comes to hummingbirds. They seem to love bickering and chasing each other. Here's the Black-Chinned Hummer drinking sugar water at his favorite feeder.

Below you can see him coming in for a landing.

Made it!

I've noticed the hummingbirds seem attracted to the solar fountain when it's running. I keep trying to take a photo of them buzzing the spray, but they are so fast the shot has eluded me thus far.


Pam/Digging said...

Nice shots of the hummer, Dawn. You have a knack for capturing wildlife in your garden.

I tried ajuga in my last garden, but it didn't do well for me. I think it needed more moisture than I was prepared to give it. Have you thought about trying a native sedge as a ground cover?

Jess Riley said...

Fantastic pictures! I can't wait until more plants are blooming here in Wisconsin. Only a few lonely cabbage whites in the neighborhood so far, but I did notice about half a dozen red admirals inside a flower-filled greenhouse at my favorite nursery.

Dawn said...

Thanks Pam,

I hadn't thought of sedge there, but would certainly be willing to try it. Do you think it would grow in a shady, moist area? That corner is fairly damp most of the time due to shade & the faucet.

I planted two ajuga on the east side of my house, under the cannas. I wonder if they will live or die. Eeep! ;-)

BTW, congrats on your excellent article published today in the Austin American Statesman, Pam. I just bought a copy this afternoon. You did a terrific job & should be very proud!

Thanks Jess Riley!

Cabbage whites are cute. I recall seeing them in Missouri, but am not sure if they are in Texas or not.

I'm glad you stopped by. I just visited your blog and really enjoyed the read. I look forward to catching your book when it's published. Very cool!


Sanni said...

I love the tiles!! I´m really not expecting to find that kind of tiles here. But maybe it`s possible to make some of my own. I need to find or make somekind of mould.
Happy gardening to you!

Dawn said...

Hi Sanni,

It would be so special for you to make your own tiles. I'm not artistic at all, so just bought these resins tiles at an outlet store.

I looked online and found some similar tiles that you can order from Smith & Hawken as well:

Happy Gardening! :-)

Carol said...

I love that basket and hanger on your front porch! When that basket fills out it will be stunning!

Dawn said...

Thanks Carol!

I'm still looking for some kind of railing planter that will complement the basket.


Wild Flora said...

Hi Dawn,
I love your blog, especially the visit (with all the great pictures) to the legendary Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. You've collected such a good list of resources, too. Thanks,
Wild Flora

Dawn said...

Thanks Wild Flora!

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a wonderful online resource and an excellent place to visit. I learn something useful each time I visit their gardens.

BTW, I really enjoyed your entry about the chickadee. Gardens and birds go together so well.


ladyluz said...

Love the humming birds, which I've never seen for real. Also love the tiles (and how do you keep your beautifully pedicured toes - mine are like a peasant's!)

Dawn said...

Thanks Ladyluz,

I love your Spanish Garden!

The hummingbirds are fun to watch. We don't have as many as one man does in Arizona...

Happy Gardening!


Hi Dawn, WOW!!!! what a lovely site. I love it and all those exotics, I am into all tree ferns palms grasses and bamboo. I spend a fortune on plants.

We too are having a very wet season just the opposite of last year. We are either going to sink or swim in it so much rain and more on the way.

Philomena Ellis

Dawn said...

Many Thanks, Philomena!

I love the way bamboo looks in a garden. I'll be sure to keep reading your blog so I can learn more about tree ferns, palms, grasses & especially bamboo.

Here's hoping your wet weather is helping your garden.