Second Spring in the Garden

I came across this baby Copperhead that seems to be going through a difficult molt. This photo was taken in the morning.

I checked on the snake late in afternoon and it was still on the same rock.  Its tail is in a new position, so I knew it was alive.  No, I did not poke it to check.  Molting or the preferred description, shedding or the scientific word ecdysis, seems to be hard work.  I did some research and it said a snake in captivity can be helped by its owner.  With a Copperhead, I decided to let nature take its course.  It seems late in the year for babies, but…

there are lots of baby lizards, anoles and geckos, around.  This green anole greets me every morning from its home on a potted plant by my door.

The garden has been full of these yellow Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.  There were at least 7 flying around. They were not very interested in posing for photos, so this is the best shot I was able to get.

Quite a few Gulf Fritillary butterflies have been visiting. They had been gone from the garden for a few years and just started coming back last Fall. The Bottle Brush decided to put out a few flowers attracting the butterflies and bees.

My Japanese Anemone has been struggling all year, but has finally bloomed.

My Confederate Rose is still blooming and giving me joy every day.  With the cooler weather, it is skipping the light pink color and going directly to dark rose.  Here in the Gulf Coast area, this time of year is often called our second Spring and it certainly seems that way with baby animals and newly blooming flowers.

 


The Wait is Over

The Confederate Roses (Hibiscus mutabilis) are finally blooming and the wait is over.  I have been obsessively checking them to see if buds were forming.  These rose shaped flowers start the day pure white, turn pink and end in dark rose.

If you have been reading my blog, you can see that I am smitten with these flowers.

I was concerned this year after a hard freeze last winter and flooding rains, but the tough Confederate Rose made it through and does not even have bugs in the buds this year.

The color changes draw me out to the yard many times a day to admire the full cabbage rose type flowers.

Our days have cooled off some, so the flowers are lasting longer and all three colors will stay on the bush at once.

Each stem produces about five buds in a cluster.  The bush itself is gangling and not very attractive. When I first got it, I was told it should not be pruned.

The Confederate Rose is a passalong plant and the care instructions come from the previous owner.  I really can’t remember where I got mine.  I have started several cuttings and decided to experiment on one of them.  I planted it in the ground and pruned it down to about 4 feet.  It has shot up to around 6 feet and …

produced these beautiful flowers.


A Confederate Rose Cutting

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The Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is one of my favorite Fall bloomers.

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I was trimming my Confederate Rose and decided to stick some of the cuttings into my rooting pot.  They rooted in no time, which is why in the South, they  are great Passalong plants.  It is nice to imagine friends and family sharing their plants with each other as the population moved west.

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As I already had a large Confederate Rose, I was not that interested in another one, so I stuck the cutting in a broken plastic pot filled with old dirt. Basically, it looked like a big stick in a pot.

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It grew well and rewarded me with its gorgeous flowers.  If you follow my blog, you know I can’t get enough of them.

Here are some photos of the Confederate Rose as it turned from morning white to dark pink in the evening.


Out of Sync

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One lonely Confederate Rose flower is completely out of sync with its usual blooming time.  The plant normally blooms in the Fall and is one of my favorites.  The Confederate Rose went through its usual life cycle and lost all of its leaves in the winter. I have no idea what stimulated the plant to make one flower.  I guess I will just enjoy the preview of what’s to come.

 


After the Rains

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While away, the remnants of Hurricane Patricia blew through and dropped over 8 inches of rain on the garden.  It was surprising to see the Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) had retained its buds and was still blooming.

I was able to document the flowers’ color changes.  The Confederate Rose begins the morning white and goes through shades of pink until finally turning to a rosy color. (click to enlarge)

Other bloomers that survived the rain are Japanese Anemone and Camellia Sasanqua.  The Anemone grows on long graceful stems and this type of Camellia has a wonderful scent.

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And surprisingly, the Hedychium thyrsiforme “x maximum” Ginger was not knocked over and had a full bloom on it.

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Of course, not all went well with the high winds and rain.  A large branch came down and a bed of flowers were flatten (too ugly to show). But all in all, the garden held up well.


This and That

DSC_0540Here are a snapshots taken with my cell phone while working in the garden this Autumn. The Green Rose (Rosa chinensis viridiflora)  is blooming.  The bush was suffering, but is now having a comeback.  The flowers smell like pepper.

DSC_0557A couple of Monarch caterpillars were spotted on the Butterfly Weed and a few Monarch butterflies have been floating through the garden.

IMG_3122Spider webs are everywhere in the garden, making it impossible to walk around without getting tangled in one.  I try to remind myself that it is just silk and hope the spider did not get in my hair.

IMG_3141The Sweet Olive’s scent has been almost overwhelming this year.  The sweet smell poured through the garden and over the house to the front yard.

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Big bees are everywhere.  Here is one on a Confederate Rose.  They are so busy that it is easy to photograph and watch them.

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I was finishing another chore, when I glanced down and saw all the seeds scattered from the wild ageratum.  Those were only the seeds that fell outside of the bed!  I guess that is why wildflowers/weeds do so well.  At least this blue ageratum is pretty.


The Last Confederate Rose

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Yes, I have bee obsessed with the Confederate Rose.  This has been its best year and the photo shows it at its peak.  It has been a pleasure to open the blinds every morning and be greeted with its blooms.

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The last Confederate Rose of the season.  Click, enlarge, enjoy.