From One Small Stem

One small stem cutting turned into a behemoth plant stuck in a planter.

I wanted to make sure I had a back-up Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea),which attracts all kinds of pollinators, and decided to start a cutting in my self-watering planter.  It is an excellent planter to start cuttings and seeds in as it will stay damp.

Unfortunately, I paid very little attention to the size the cuphea had become until it had taken up my entire planter. It had to be removed and it was no easy job.  It took a lot of time and tools to free it.

The Cuphea is looking as droopy as I felt after hard work on a hot day.

Note: The plant is much more colorful than the cutting in the first photo.

And I was being watched the entire time.  I found this Rosy Wolf Snail that had crawled to the top of the garbage bag.


Bisected

The Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar perfectly bisected a Passion Flower.


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.


Chocolate Plant

Chocolate Plants ( Pseuderanthemum alata) are heirloom passalong plants in the South.  Mine was passed to me by my mother-in-law.  It gets its name from its chocolatey color.

I always keep some in a pot, but I have been trying to start colonies in various beds.  I am having a good outcome in the back bed near my wooded area.

The Chocolate Plant will make a flower stalk of purple flowers.  The seeds are tiny and I usually let them fall where they may and transplant the seedlings when I find them.

This one planted itself in cobble rocks and became to hard to dig up without damaging it. The plants grow bigger each year and hopefully I’ll have a beautiful display in a couple of years.


Strawberry Pot

Strawberry pots can sometimes be hard to fill, but the Automatic Garden had a solution.  Wishbone Flowers (Torenia fournieri) had germinated all over from last year’s plants.  I transplanted all the free plants into the strawberry pot and was rewarded with a beautiful display.  Best of all, my patio cracks will be full of plants for next year.


What’s In a Name? Part 1 Cicada Killer

These two inch long wasps are scary enough, but the name Cicada Killer makes one think twice about them. They have the less scary proper name of Sphecius speciosus. The giant wasp does kill cicadas, but otherwise ignores humans.  I must have dozens of them this year.  They fly close to the ground and I can stand among them as the large females circle around.

The calls from cicadas have lessened as the female Cicada Killers collect them to take into the 10 inch tunnels that are being dug in all my beds.  Meanwhile, the males fly around and spar with each other and mate with the females.

I have found many more of these sandy nests around the yard this year compared to previous years.  A few times I have seen a female go into a tunnel and once saw a wasp dive into the nest with a cicada which they lay their eggs on to feed their larva. While these wasps are pretty chill, I did see one chase a hummingbird away from her territory. Sadly, these big gals only live 60 to 75 days and their only goal in life is to reproduce.

I checked through my blog and realized I have posted quite a few times on these wasps.  Check out the links if you would like more information on these fascinating creatures.


Blue Velvet Wasp

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With the help of Shoreacres, Blue Velvet was identified as an Entypus Spider Wasp.  Many thanks!

Another update.  Theshrubqueen has added that the antennae color is a warning of toxicity.  More thanks!

This velvet blue creature with vibrant antenna has been flying around my property for several weeks.

It seems to just fly on some endless mission.

On one day I found the wasp hopping from leaf to leaf and was able to get a photo.  It didn’t seem to search for bugs or nectar. I have not been able to identify it and I’m just assuming it is a wasp. I looked through many photos on the internet and I signed up for inaturalist, but had issues getting the photo on the app. Please let me know if you can identify this velvet beauty.


Passion Flowers in the Wild and in the Garden

I live in an area where the wild Maypops grow.

Not far down the path I found the Maypop’s smaller cousin.  A beautiful little gem called Yellow Passion-flower, Passiflora lutea.

The green to yellowish flowers are about an inch across. I may have passed by this elusive jewel many times and I’m glad to have finally spotted it.

I bought this Passion Flower at a nursery a couple of years ago, mainly to provide a plant to host Gulf Fritillary Butterflies.  As it turned out, the butterflies did not like this cultivar.  The flowers are beautiful and I like it.

This year I purchased another Passion Flower that the nurseryman guaranteed that the Gulf Fritillary would lay eggs on and the caterpillars would eat.  We will see.


Katy Did It

There is no doubt about who ate a hole in the Peace Lily.


Just Gingers

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Gingers have worked out really well in the Automatic Garden.  They are happy in the gumbo soil (heavy clay) and are troopers in the heat and cold.  Best of all, the plants reproduce on their own. When other flowers are taking their summer rest, Gingers really shine.

 

White Angel (Curcuma parviflora) is my most reliable bloomer and has never let me down in the many years it has graced the garden.  The original plant grows larger every year and has reproduced.

*Run your cursor over the photos for names or click to enlarge photos for the slide show.