If You Plant It, They Will Come

I mentioned on a previous post, that I was trying to grow the correct Passion Flower to attract the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly.  I finally got it right.  Several have arrived.

The Butterflies got to work and laid eggs which have already hatched into a new generation.

Even more exciting, I found five Pipe-vine Swallow Tail caterpillars on my Aristolochia fimbriata.

The nurseryman was correct with his advice that the butterflies would come.  The plant is nearly gone, but that was the plan.  I collected some of the seeds for next year’s plants and butterflies.


Unexpected Blooms

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I have only seen this Dutchman’s Pipe bloom in the spring, but it decided put on some unexpected flowers at the end of this summer.    The vine wasn’t doing well and I have been giving it some extra attention which definitely worked.

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Torenias are great little plants that grow really well in our hot summers.  Unfortunately, the rabbits also love them.  Somehow this one reseeded in the cobble rock between a sprinkler head and the corner of the garage.  The rabbits don’t seem to travel in this area and the Torenia kept its flowers.

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In this part of the country the Torenia is often called summer pansy.  I guess it is the closest plant to a colorful pansy that will grow in our heat.


Dutchman’s Pipe

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Dutchman’s Pipe is a visually interesting flower.

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This plant has had its ups and downs.  It is in a large pot and was almost dead, but suddenly started growing again.  I moved it closer to the back door where it could get plenty of TLC.

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I was rewarded with a flowers.  This Dutchman’s Pipe is a tropical and the flower is nearly 7 inches long.  It puts out its scent in the morning and smells lemony.

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There are about 500 varieties of Dutchman’s and  some natives grow in Eastern United States.  I pinned its smaller cousin next to it.

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The design on the flower is mesmerizing.


Field of Dreams

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OK, maybe just a bed of dreams.  Dreams of the spring and summer to come. All the plants have been cut back to prepare for new growth.  In the Automatic Garden, most of the plants are re-emerging from their roots and their seeds, that were dropped in Autumn, are beginning to germinate.  It is hard to believe that in a short time, the bed will be so full that the stepping stones will be covered.  And best of all, the weeds won’t be seen!

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Cone Flowers that got a head start from the warm rocks.

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The Mexican Hat will completely fill in and cover the cut stems.

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A mixture of self-sowing and collected seeds.  There is sure to be some “surprises” in the mix.

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Butterfly Weed will be ready for the spring migration of the Monarch butterfly.

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Dutchman Pipe Vine  will soon cover the support.

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Nasturtium from new and collected seeds.

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Mealy Blue Sage comes up from roots and self-sows.

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Shrimp plant easily roots from a stem touching the ground.

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Black Eyed Susan that is a prolific reseeder.


Fall Blooms

Dutchman’s Pipe is a host for butterfly caterpillars.

Blue Salvia is a favorite of bees and hummingbirds.

White Rain Lilies are delightful in this time of year.

Wild Trailing Bean (Strophostyles helvula) attracts bees.

Clerodendrum a beautiful blue fall bloomer.

Torenia  reseeded from the spring and provided fall blooms that  brightened up the garden.

Camellias are a wonderful fall and winter flowers that hummingbirds  feed on in the winter.

Philippine Violet is a perennial that also reseeds.

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One advantage of living on the Gulf Coast is that the garden  doesn’t stop at the changing of the seasons.  Planning is essential to the Automatic Garden.  Choose perennials or reseeding annuals that begin their blooming times when the summer plants are coming to the end of their season.