Morning Scents

I was in the garden earlier than usual one morning and was pleasantly greeted by the strong scents of my blooming gingers. This one is Hedychium hybred “Pink V.

My most reliable ginger that has been with me for many years is Butterfly Ginger, Hedychium coronarium, which I believe has the strongest scent and can be detected from across the backyard.  I had a neighbor that told me she could smell it as she walked by the front of my house. The plants bloom in the Spring and Autumn.

Because it was early morning, I was able to catch the scent of the Four O’Clocks, which bloom in the early evening.  These flowers have a wonderful fragrance and are great to plant near a porch or patio. Oddly, I have never seen hummingbirds or bees on them.  Maybe some night I will stay up and see what pollinates them.

Another night bloomer, is Evening Primrose, Oenothera grandiflora, and was collected by William Bartram.   It has an usual scent that is an acquired taste.  I never really saw any pollinators on this Primrose, until I spotted what I believe to be a green bee, which I hope my reader that is a bee expert will let me know.  Anyway, the bee was really working on the flowers and when I passed by later, it was still gathering nectar.

I look forward to my morning garden tour and being greeted by a scent, new bloom or a backyard critter.


Angel Trumpet

My Angel Trumpet finally decided to bloom after many years.  I remembered it being a different color, but the bud was yellow.

It finally matured some more and my memory proved to be correct.

Angel Trumpet or Brugmanis is part of the Nightshade family.  All parts of it is toxic and is also call the Trumpet of Death.  It is a plant that shouldn’t be grown in a garden with children or pets.  I waited many years before planting mine.

I thought that was that and was happy with just two blooms.  Days later more buds appeared for a beautiful display.

 

 


There’s Always One

There is always one hummingbird that decides it will be the bully and guard of the food source. Hummingbirds seem like such cute little birds, but they can be very vicious to each other and even to large birds.  This little bird is spending its days chasing away any creature that comes near the feeders or flowers.

Right now there are 3 to 4 hummers in the garden.  That works out well when the dominate bird chases another away, the third one can grab some nectar.

My garden is filled with hummingbird friendly flowers, such as this Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea)…

and a Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens). Plus beds filled with nectar producing flowers in the back and front yards.  Yet, it is an endless fight all day long with the bully attacking and knocking the other hummers away.

And does the bully feel bad about this at all?  Ppptttthhh, the hummingbird  just sticks out its tongue and continues its reign of terror.


Patch is Back

My favorite wild rabbit, Patch is back.  I haven’t seen her for months and there are two reasons I know it is her.  First, the patches of missing fur on her back.

And she chased me into the garage when I came outside to give her sunflower seeds.


A Tale of Two Beds

The two flower bed at the entrance of my front porch tell a very different tale.  The plants were all bought at the same time and the same place.

One side is growing lush and blooming well.

The other bed is struggling and dropping yellow leaves.  Early on I gave this bed fertilizer and a new layer of soil.  Both beds grew equally well in the past.  This is definitely a gardening mystery.

 


Come on Down

During a recent trip to the northeast part of the country, I came across these Monarch Caterpillars eating a Milkweed plant. I would guess that this would be the generation to go to Mexico and the butterflies’ route could very well pass through The Automatic Garden.

So, come on down and stay for a spell.  We are ready and waiting for the Monarchs.


A Killer

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When this flying creature is spotted, one’s first thought is to run from the world’s biggest bee. This flying killer makes the human heart jump, but thankfully it is only cicadas that this wasp  (Sphecius speciosus) is after.

Commonly called Cicada Killers, the females hunt and sting cicadas to feed their offspring in nests that are burrowed 10 to 20 inches into soft soil.   The eggs and larvae overwinter and emerge in June and early July.

I first noticed these flying beasts a few years ago. I have to say they are very scary and make a loud buzz. I once saw one carrying a cicada on a pine tree.  Neighbors have complained about knocking at their doors that turned out to be the Cicada Killers.

I got a lucky shot of this wasp with my cell phone.  The Cicada Killers are only up to 2 inches long, but I swear this one was at least 3 inches as she flew around checking me out.

The Cicada Killers do not hurt humans unless they are handled roughly.  I’m not sure who would really want to handle them. I prefer to just let them fly by.