This and That

I have taken various photos around my yard that don’t really go together so here is a post of “this and that”.  I was trying to change the focus on my camera and took I shot into the wooded area.  It turned out pretty good.

I came across this giant 3 inch bug on the cobble rocks.  It was dead and not something I want to see flying at me while alive.  I’m not really sure what it is and spent some time looking at pictures of cockroaches to identify it. I had enough of that and gave up.

Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria psittacina) is pretty, but don’t ever plant them.  I was looking for its botanical name and an article came up asking how to get rid of them.

This chubby skink with no color or stripes was sunning on a rock one afternoon.

I had to buy a new Passion Flower plant this year as the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly caterpillars totally ate my last one.

I just thought this Rosy Wolf Snail was pretty against the moss rock.

And that is it for “this and that”.

 


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.

 


Passion Flower Update

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In a recent post, I had documented how the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars ate all the leaves off my Passion Flower Vine.  Many readers told me the leaves would grow back and they did.  But just enough to feed one hungry caterpillar.  On the top leaves are eggs that may be future caterpillars.

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Some of the caterpillars got enough to eat and were able to make a chrysalis.  I think they look like little hanging bats.

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Here is the back view of another chrysalis.  Some of them have survived and transformed into butterflies. Now I have quite a few Gulf Fritillaries sunning themselves and feeding on Fall blooming flowers.


Good News, Bad News

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I was very happy when my Passion Flower finally bloomed after having no flowers for years.

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I was thrilled when the Gulf Fritillary Butterflies laid eggs and caterpillars appeared on the the Passion Flower Vine.

And of course, the good news is that there are lots of butterflies in the garden.

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The bad news is that there are too many caterpillars for one plant and they have eaten almost all the leaves from the only vine I have.


Eat Away…

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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.

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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.


Where Have the Butterflies Gone?

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Monarchs have finally arrived to the area, but only two were seen in the garden where they were feeding on Tropical Milkweed.  Hopefully, they will have a safe trip to Mexico.  According to Monarch Watch, their numbers are going down.

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Sulphur Butterflies are common here.  This one is on a cigar plant which is also a favorite of hummingbirds.

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Gulf Fritillary Butterflies have filled the garden with caterpillars in the past, but now few show up.

The garden used to be filled with many different varieties of butterflies.  Where are they now?  There are many different theories, but for the time being we gardeners can just do our best to grow blooming plants that butterflies prefer.  Has anyone else seen a decline of butterflies in their area?

 


Passion

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Long before I had garden beds to fill with plants, this incredible wild flower spurred my passion for gardening.  It was hanging over an apartment complex fence and was the most beautiful flower I had ever seen.

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It was long before the ease of using the internet and most apartment dwellers had little knowledge of flowers.  The beautiful flower’s impression stayed with me and years later I found its name…Passion Flower or its wild form, Maypop.

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Maypops (Passiflora incarnata) grow on woodland edges and bloom spring to fall. The scented flowers open in the early evening and for only one day.  They are host for the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly.  The Maypop’s fruits are 3 inches around and have an interesting scent.  There are many forms and colors of Passion flowers for sale in nurseries, but nothing stirs a gardener’s passion like finding a Maypop in the wild!