Good Morning


The Swamp Sunflower begins blooming in the Fall and greets each morning with even more sunny flowers.  A perfect way to start the day.

Another Moth Visitor


The Year of the Moth continues in the Automatic Garden.  This interesting little guy or gal is not a baby hummingbird as many mistake it for, but a Mournful Sphinx Moth (Enyo lugbris).  It hovers over the same flowers that hummingbirds like, but has a long proboscis instead of a beak to feed with.


The wonderful people at the Houston Museum of Natural Science helped again to identify this moth.  It was a little tricky and they reached out to two other specialists to get the identification correct.

These photos are actually the best I could get.  I followed the Mournful Moth around for quite awhile and took about 30 shots.

I have added this moth to my post All Together that shows off all the moth visitors in the Automatic Garden.

And Now I Know


I found a couple of frogs in the yard that I could not identify.  The internet doesn’t always provide the information you are seeking, so the next best source is an actual person.  I found one at the Houston Museum of Natural Science that was able to identify my frogs.


This cutie is a Gray Tree Frog .  It will spend most of its time in trees and doesn’t move around much during the day.  It also has a distinctive call and I do remember hearing a louder peeper at night.


This frog is a Southern Leopard Frog.  I am told they are mostly aquatic, but they seem to be in my yard quite often and there are no ponds nearby.  Maybe they enjoy the sprinkler system.  I recently saw a rather large one hopping in one of the beds.  So, now I know the names of my backyard visitors.

Note:  I wrote this about 9 months ago and never posted it.

Eat Away…


little caterpillars.  For once I don’t mind the destruction of my plants.  The garden has been lacking butterflies for the last several years and I am delighted to see the return of a few.  A Monarch has been floating around, probably on its way to Mexico.


These caterpillars are on the Passion Flower and they are Gulf Fritillarry Caterpillars.  The butterfly is also attracted to the wild Maypops that grow in the area.

One More Snake

Rough Earth Snake

One day after my snake post, I came across another snake in the garden. This is a Rough Earth Snake and helps out by eating snails, larvae and bugs.

Rough Earth Snake

The  Rough Earth Snake is nonvenomous and only grows 7 to 10 inches long.  This one was lounging on top of a potted Air Potato Vine.

Snakes in Gardens


For some reason I am seeing Copperhead Snakes everywhere.  Usually, they are around mostly in the Spring, but there seems to be a new brood of snakelets this Fall.  The first photo, taken on September 10th, is a medium sized one, probably a juvenile.  I was cleaning out a bed when I spotted it.


While volunteering at our botanical garden on the 13th, I was pulling weeds around this baby Copperhead that was molting.


On September 19th, this big snake was exploring outside my kitchen window.


It caught my eye because the rabbit was also in the same bed and was acting strangely.  The only predators for Copperheads are the occasional hawk and  humans.  But I swear I saw a rabbit kill a Copperhead once, the rabbit had blood on it and the snake was dead.


This was an interesting situation and I watched it play out while safely inside taking  photos through the window. The rabbit took a non aggressive stance and kept an eye on the snake until it moved on.  When all was clear, the rabbit went back to its favorite napping spot under the Camellias.


Two days later, I spotted a little head from the other side of a flower pot, but it turned out to be a rather large Five-lined Skink.

Flashback Friday

Today’s flashback is to “Dirt Balls”.  Dirt Balls are made by mixing seeds with clay and compost and then rolling the mixture into balls.  This is an ancient technique used to plant without tilling.  It has also been used to seed bomb empty lots in cities.

Dirt  Balls are a great way to share your seeds.  Take a look at Dirt Balls.