The Body Snatcher

This gruesome creature carries the dead bodies it collects upon its back. The creature relentlessly paces back and forth, over and under leaves preying on innocent aphids and taking their dead remains with it.

Happy gruesome Halloween.

I spotted this very weird bug on my Hummingbird Bush that has been covered with aphids and so much honeydew that it made my hair sticky when I got too close. This gruesome creature is actually good news for gardeners as they eat the aphids that suck on plants and cause damage or death. These bugs are called junk bugs or aphid lions and are the larval stage of green lacewings which are beneficial insects for the garden. The junk bug is about the size of the tip of my pinkie.

Even though they are gruesome, the junk bug is welcome to haunt my garden.


An Armadillo at Dawn

I was sipping my morning coffee and glancing out of the window when I noticed plants waving in an odd way. And then I saw the grey body that was causing the chaotic motion. It was the armadillo that dug a huge hole in my flower bed outside my kitchen window.

I quickly grabbed my cell phone and started my early morning armadillo chase. I managed to chase it under the fence into my neighbor’s yard. I didn’t feel too bad about that as they don’t have flower beds for the armadillo to dig up. I’m sure are some point it returned to its den on my side.


Yellow Dancing Ladies

Another plant that I have an abundance of this year is the Yellow Dancing Lady Ginger. Their name comes from the flower that is shaped like a dress and it looks as if it is dancing in the breeze.

The plant reproduces by dropping bulbils that wait until the soil heats up to germinate. The Dancing Lady always seems to keep a spare bulbil in its throat.

I have several areas around the garden where the Dancing Lady has dropped its bulbils and they have all started growing. I checked the internet and found that the plant sells for as high as $13. Maybe I should have a sale. I am not sure what stimulated all the bulbils to grow. I was thinking maybe it was the cold winters or lack of rabbits.

And just as I had that thought, a rabbit popped out of the hole under the fence.

A few days later I saw this juvenile bunny hopping on my back porch. I may be saying goodbye to my bounty of plants.


Bartram’s Oenothera gandiflora

The large flower Evening Primrose has been putting on a beautiful display with its flowers lasting through the morning. Look closely for the Amberique bean crawling out of the top of the primrose.

As the name implies, it opens in the evening and I have seen a nocturnal Hummingbird Moth buzzing around the flowers providing pollination. The plant and seeds were collected by William Bartram in 1775 in Alabama and grown in his nursery in Philadelphia.


September Flowers

It is so nice to still have a yard full of flowers, especially after a vacation in the North where leaves were beginning to fall. Of course, the temperatures are in the 90s, but one can’t have it all. The Zinnias, that decided a better place to grow was in the driveway bed, are putting on a nice display over hot concrete.

I thinned out and cut back the Cardinal Flowers early in the season and they are putting on a very controlled presentation attracting the migrating hummingbirds.

The Amberique Bean I mentioned in a previous post as running amok is flowering like crazy. The tiny flowers are so sweet and make a good substitute for Sweet Peas that do not like our climate.

The Mexican Sunflowers or Tithonia have skyrocketed and are taller than me. This was the only flower I could photograph.

The Abelmoschus moschatus is an odd plant that blooms on and off all summer. It is related to hibiscus and each flower lasts for just one day. I have been trying to get a good grouping so it will look as if it is always blooming. I do have many more flowers in bloom, these are a few that caught my eye.


Night-Blooming Cactus

My night-blooming cactus, Epiphyllum strictum, has bloomed for the first time since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. It is my fault that it had not bloomed during all that time, as I wasn’t paying attention to the weather and left it out in the cold. The plant had to start all over again.

My first introduction to the Night-Blooming Cactus was from an Amish woman, whom we met while looking for a traditional Amish Quilt.

As the bud grew, I moved the plant to the patio table so I would not miss the big event. Yesterday, the bud was as tight as could be and this morning, I was surprised with a beautiful flower to enjoy for just a few hours.


The Ginger Jungle

I almost missed seeing the Shampoo Ginger bloom as the flowers were hidden in all the foliage. I had to sit on a stool to get the photo as I couldn’t see the flowers from above. It was a good year for the Zingiber zerumber and there was even more flowers hidden in the back. Gingers do well at the north end of my wooded area and are very happy with the gumbo soil.


Weather Stick

I have had this Maine weather stick for quite a few years. Even though it is made from Maine Balsam, it works well in my neck of the woods. When the weather is nice, the stick points up.

If the weather changes, it points down. The wood is responding to the change in barometric pressure. I have had mine for over 20 years and it is still working fine. Kinsman and Company, a garden supply catalog or online, sell them.


A First

For the first time ever, I got a rose cutting to root. I have a self-watering pot that I call the “Magic Pot” and periodically stick cuttings into it. Some cuttings do exceptionally well and require work and maneuvering to dig them out, but I have never gotten a rose cutting to propagate. The rose is Rose Cramoisi Superieur, a double-cupped blossom and a true China that is nearly everblooming in a warm climate. I have posted photos of it in the past. It was mislabeled and turned out to be a climbing rose, but has been very robust and a great bloomer.

I don’t know if I chose the right time of year or a good cutting, as not only did it root, but it also made a bloom. The rose has since been repotted and moved near the mother plant. Fingers crossed that it will continue to grow.


White Texas Star

I was delighted when the white Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus alba) seeds germinated and flowered. I found the seeds in my stash and gave them a try. Hopefully, I will be able to get a colony started.

Red Texas Star is the most common and the seeds can be ordered from many catalogs. It also goes by the names swamp hibiscus, scarlet rose mallow, and red hibiscus.