Red Hot for Summer Heat

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The summer heat is on and the temperature is rising to 100 degrees or so.  My red flowers are undaunted by the heat.  Usually, I flee these super hot days for cooler climates, but in this current situation all plans have been canceled, so I’ll be enjoying the red hot plants of summer.

Saliva coccinea is a staple in the Automatic Garden.  It survives the heat and the cold.

Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia paten) is a favorite of hummers and all pollinators.

Penta lanceolata will reseed and can make it through the winter, although it will look raggedy.  Butterflies love it.

This Encore Azalea is kind of red.  This azalea will repeat bloom throughout the year with early spring being its most prolific time.

These are probably the last roses until the weather cools.

The Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica) has come back after being eaten by spring migrating Monarchs’ caterpillars.

Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) is the star of the garden.  It is big, red and loves the heat.


A New Life

I went out to check on the Monarch chrysalis and could barely locate it.  The jade green was gone and a thin transparent shell was left.  A new life had taken flight.


Jade and Gold Chrysalis

The Monarch caterpillars have begun to make their chrysalises.  I found this one while cleaning out a garden bed. The chrysalis looked like a jade bead that a jeweler decorated with drops of gold.

The camera could not capture the gold color shimmering in the sun that my eye saw.  Nature can certainly be an inspiration for art.


Caterpillar Relocation

The Monarch caterpillars are doing so well that they ate all the leaves from some of the Butterfly Weed plants.  I gently collected these big fat ones for relocation.

The caterpillar got right to work munching on the new leaves.  Having too many Monarch caterpillars is definitely a good sign for the population.


A Spring Day

Today is a beautiful Spring day and some new flowers decided to open.  The Amaryllis that I got at a plant exchange put up two stalks and all four flowers opened at the same time.

This Iris was found in a mulch delivery many years ago.

These big bees are everywhere.  I haven’t been able to photograph them, but there are Robins singing in the trees.  They are probably refueling for their trip north.  The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds have arrived.

Happily, the next generation of Monarch butterflies are in the making.

I’ve had several Monarch butterflies floating around the garden.  This one seems a bit beat up.  Maybe it made the flight from Mexico.  Can you see the caterpillar on the leaf?

I hope you can find some beauty in your day.


Come On Down

On a trip to the northeast, I stayed at a place with lots of Milkweed.  First, the swallowtails came.

Next the Monarchs visited.

Soon the Monarch caterpillars began to eat through the plants.

Mirror munching.

What next? All that is left is a stringy vein of a leaf.

I can count about 10 caterpillars on this Milkweed.  All the caterpillars received the coordinates to visit the Automatic Garden  during their migration, where the Tropical Butterfly weed is waiting.

 


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.


Summer Bloomers

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The summer heat is on and we are looking at 102f degrees (actual temperature) for the next few days.  Thankfully, some of my faithful flowers can take the heat.

The Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) greets me from my kitchen window each morning.  Yes, we do like to name as many things “Texas” as we can.  I recently found out that George Washington also grew this plant. He probably didn’t call it Texas Star.

The Black Eyed Susan is a reseeding annual and can pop up anywhere in the garden.  I never mind volunteers and just transplant them back in their beds.

The seeds for this Cleome are from my father, who always called them Spider Plants.

Many bloggers have shown photos of Purple Cone Flowers.  I just have one hanging on, as the deer and rabbits ate most of the flowers.

Butterfly Weed is ready and waiting for the Monarch Butterflies.

I was in total awe when I first saw a Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), I had never seen a plant like it.  Now, it happily fills my garden from a cutting given to me by my mother-in-law.

 

 

 


They’re Back and Blooming

After a year of record breaking rain and freezing temperatures down to the teens, I was worried about my plants returning.  But, they’re back and bigger than ever.  I have been growing these reseeding Black Eyed Susan for many years and have never seen the flowers this large.

A seed from a Blanket Flower made its way across the driveway to grow in this crack.

It seems very happy against the hot wall and drive.

Speaking of hot,  Hot Lips is back.  It is Salvia microphylla.

The Mexican Hat returned. Being in a raised bed might have helped it survive the rains as they prefer drier soil.

One of my all time favorites, Balsam Impatiens, germinated from the seeds they dropped last year. Surprisingly, the seeds were not washed away.

These plants were grown by our founding fathers.

The Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), managed to reseed a plant or two.

Even though the Butterfly Weed froze to the ground, the roots survived and it is ready for the Monarchs to visit.

A Five Lined Skink photo bombed the shoot.

Although most of the plants survived, there is always room for something new.  I added this Bat Faced Cuphea, but expected it to be red and dark purple, but it is pretty anyway.

Another new addition is this petunia that just showed up in a front yard bed.  I know I grew some several years ago.  Did the seed survive or blow in from a neighbor?  I will enjoy it while it’s here.

My winter anxiety has finally been relieved by seeing new blooms everyday. The Automatic Garden survived.

 


Monarch Munching

Before the snow and the freeze, I took this shot of a Monarch Caterpillar munching away on this Butterfly Weed.

I was wondering if the caterpillar made it through the cold snap. I spotted a Monarch Butterfly flying around the plants yesterday and a smaller caterpillar feeding on the leaves.  I guess they can take a bit of cold.