Walking Iris (Neomarica gracilis) looks like a white chocolate kiss in the early morning.
The flowers form on long stems that eventually make their way to the ground to start a new plant.
Those who are patient can watch the flowers bloom, as one petal pops open at a time.
These beautiful Irises last just one day, but the plant blooms about five times during the spring.
Jasmin fills the humid Southern evenings with thick scent.
The plant has left its bounds and climbed high into the trees, dispersing the Jasmin’s perfume across the entire garden.
The cool winter months brought some northern visitors to the Automatic Garden. They were attracted by the flowering plants, but the supplemental sugar really kept them happy. From dawn to dusk the sugar birds could not leave the sweet nectar. It is not unusual for a Rufous Hummingbird to enjoy the liquid sugar, even a Ruby-crowned Kinglet will indulge, but I really think it might have been a new experience for the Yellow-rumped Warbler, who could not leave the feeder and spent a lot of energy chasing the rest away.
I was afraid that the birds may not be able to break their sugar addiction, but the weather changed and nature called them back to their northern homes.
And as the seasons always return, so did the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds taking their place at the feeders and flowers.
Frick and Frack, the resident Carolina Wrens, have changed their plans for nest location. No activity has taken place on the porch or in the vine. It was a good decision as two cats appeared on the porch and the nest in the pot was easy prey. Apparently, it is not unusual for Carolina Wrens to build several nests. They are still hanging out in the garden, but I have not found their new nest, which is probably a good thing.
Mr. Greenjeans just popped up to say hello. As he is always around the garden, he deserved a name.
He can easily glide across the top of this camellia.
Mr. Greenjeans has a sly smile as he slithers towards the sun.
This green Ribbon Snake can easily climb up last year’s Texas Star Hibiscus stems. He is a graceful and amazing creature.
Somehow plants know when you are about to give up on them. This Gerbera Daisy has not put out anything but sickly, half formed flowers. It was surprising to see a huge perfectly formed daisy.
The Gulf Coast is not a happy place for Hellebores. This plant is close to 15 years old and only puts out a leaf or two each year. It has not bloomed in a very long time. This year it managed to make three flowers. These plants have earned one more chance for their efforts.
PS In the Automatic Garden, most plants get to stay until they disappear on their own. But, big efforts are appreciated.
The Monarch Butterfly is on the decline and may to added to the endangered species list. Some of the reasons for their decline is deforestation of their winter home in Mexico, increased crop production and pesticide use throughout the continent. But, there is also a lack of weeds, Milkweed that is.
These beautiful winged creatures make an amazing 3,000 mile trip from Canada to Mexico. One individual will make the entire trip from Canada, but it takes up to four generations to return from Mexico. They need Milkweed to lay their eggs on, as it is the Monarch caterpillars’ food. Wild flowers are also an important nectar source for the trip.
You can easily help the butterfly by planting more Milkweed, also called Butterfly Weed. Some areas are even giving out free seed or plants. Milkweed is easy to grow (it is not called weed for nothing). Different varieties grow in different parts of the continent. Find out what works for you area and also add some wildflowers. Don’t give up if the Monarch don’t show up immediately or even this year, eventually they will find it.
A great documentary on the Monarch migration can be found online from the PBS show, Journey of the Butterflies.