Critters in the Garden

I always enjoy finding wildlife in the garden.  This has been the year of the  Copperhead.  They always seem to appear just where I want to work.

I found these Rosy Wolf snails intertwined on a flower stem.  I hope that means many more snails are on the way.

This Tree Frog blended in perfectly with a Moses leaf. I haven’t seen as many of those this year.

I almost stepped on the small turtle as it was trying to hide under leaves.

Another baby Copperhead ended up in my work space. Thankfully, I usually see them as I am reaching my hand into the bed. I wonder how many I miss. The Copperheads are pretty chill and will hang around to watch unlike the green garden snake I saw earlier that slithered away as soon as I came upon it.

OK…I thought I was done with this post and sure enough, I came across another Copperhead. I was dumping a load of gingers I had just cut down and there it was. As usual the snake was fine with a little photo shoot.

Bee Pandemonium

It is pandemonium at the hummingbird feeder. Just days ago there were a few bees and a butterfly.

A signal must have gone out to stimulate the need to get ready for the winter. The feeder was emptied in a manner of hours.

I used my long lens to capture the photos from a distance. I do not know if these are honey bees or wild bees, but maybe someone could help identify them.

The air is so crowded with bees, that I cannot get close enough to change the nearly empty feeder.

Sweet Treat for Pollinators

It was a busy day at the hummingbird feeder, but not for the hummers. A Monarch Butterfly had been visiting for a few days and I finally got a photo.

Bees are also interested in getting the sugar water. Every time they got close to the butterfly, it flapped its wings to shoo them away. The hummingbirds are currently feeding from autumn blooms.

In Bloom

We have no colorful leaves yet, but as my fellow Texans have been posting, we do have colorful flowers blooming. Above is a Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia. It pops up all over the yard and grows up to five feet tall. The flowers can be dried.

I am not ever sure what this plant is. It planted itself in one of my beds and thrived. From what I researched it is some kind of a wild Mist Flower or wild ageratum. Eupatorium coelestinum grows in this area and that is my best guess. All the pollinators love it, so the plant will stay.

Swamp Sunflower is another plant that waits out the summer before setting its bloom. It is a prolific reseeder and I had to pull up many of them. I left enough to enjoy their sunny flowers in the fall.

The Shampoo ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) prefers to make its red cones in the autumn.

I can never let this time of year pass without photos of my beloved Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis). It starts white and turns to deep rose at the end of the day.

Last year I had to cut the gangling shrub severely and was concerned whether it would come back as robust this year. I am not disappointed. Yes, we do not have the glorious colored leaves of the northeast, but we can have flowers all year, including the luxury to grow winter annuals.

A Perfect Day

It was a blue sky day. The humidity was gone and the sun ray’s felt just the way they should. A Gulf Fritillary Butterfly was enjoying the warm rays as well. I reached out my hand and the butterfly landed. It was a perfect day.

Pumpkin Custard, Naturally GF

And here is what to do with the leftover pumpkin puree. This is a quick and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free. As always, check all your ingredients for gluten.

The custard tastes great slightly cooled from the oven and is just as good after being refrigerated. The pumpkin custard could be dressed up with whip cream, a drizzle of the caramel sauce,and graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top.


3/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups of evaporated skim milk (one 12-ounce can)

3/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract


1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 4 wet ingredients

In another bowl stir together the remaining dry ingredients and sift into the pumpkin mixture. Stir well and pour into four 3/4 cup custard cups.

Place the cups in a 9×11 inch baking pan and add enough warm water to come half way up the sides of the cups. Bake for 50 minutes until the custard is lightly browned. Cool on a rack.

A Sign of Fall

The change of seasons can be very subtle here on the Gulf Coast. Days are still hot and the leaves don’t change color until much later.  But, one sign of fall I notice is the disappearing leaf litter in my wooded area. The leaves have done their job keeping the soil moist and breaking down into compost to feed the trees.  Just as the old ones disintegrate, the trees will drop this year’s leaves to start the process all over again.

Can’t Be Stopped

I am always fascinated with plants trying to grow no matter what situation they find themselves in.

I had thrown some Fire Spike cuttings into the composter and they managed to stretch their way to the light and find a slit to come through.

The Fire Spike has continued to grow throughout the summer.  Somehow there is enough moisture in the composter to keep it going.

All summer I have been collecting weeds in an empty fertilizer bag and threw an Air Potato Vine tuber in with the weeds.  Even the lack of soil could not stop that vine from growing.

All Dressed Up

Could these two be heading out on a date?  It was just too cute when I saw some that Crepe Myrtle flowers had fallen in just the right place to make her look all dressed up.

Orb Weaver

Orb Weaver sounds like a very mystic name for this giant spider.  As usual, I stuck my arm into plants without looking around first and was startled by this very large spider on a very large web.  I did some research and found that the nearly 4-inch spiders are nonvenomous and not aggressive.  Like all wild creatures, it will bite if provoked.

The Orb Weaver is most active at night.  In this photo the spider was preening itself, carefully cleaning each foot.

Enlarge for a better look.