Crawly Creatures

I found this Two Stripe Spider in my water can. It is a very big spider about 2 inches long and for some reason was not bothered by me watering plants or filling the can back up.

The gigantic spider even made a web to catch bugs. Finding a spider in my watering can was bad enough, but I had no idea how many bugs were visiting it.

While weeding, a saw an interesting seed that moved a bit as I pulled weeds. I gave it a poke and it moved on its own and I realized it was an insect. It is sitting on a salvia leaf that is about an inch long. I have looked through insect pictures and could not find it, so if anyone can identify it let me know. (Try to ignore the pine needle under the bug.)

In the spring, mites get on plants which is a bonus for ladybugs.

One of my favorite creatures is the Rosy Wolf Snail. This mature one was looking for food which is other snails and slugs.

And again while weeding I found a baby Rosy Wolf Snail. I put it beside one of the mature empty shells had I found.


We had to have our roof replaced. I have dreaded that day as many of my beds are close to the house.

My plants endured two days of shingles thrown on them from the very high roof.

The plants had the sun blocked from them by being covered by heavy tarps.

And then men trampled the poor babies. The carnage!

I could not bring myself outside until everything was removed from the beds and the men had left. It was not quite as bad as I thought it would be. I spent some hours fluffing the plants back up and trimming broken stems. Most of my plants were selected to return from their roots, and I know my “automatic” garden won’t disappoint me.

Pure Hate…

for this weed. I usually do not fill up space in my brain learning the names of weeds, but I hate this one so much that I researched it. The weed’s name is Mulberry Weed, Fatoua villosa. Another name is Hairy Crabweed, which sounds like a mean name and I think I perfer it.

The weed snuck over here from Asia during WWII. It is considered a summer annual, BUT in the South, it is a perennial. I can verify that. It can grow over 2 feet tall and I found one that made it to one foot. Insects do not bother it and animals do not eat it. The only way to control the weed is to hand-pull them with the roots. I have pulled thousands to millions, perhaps even billions.

One article said to get them out before the purple flowers open. What flowers? I had to get my Mag. Light app out to see them. The weed will make seeds when it is three inches tall, but I believe they start earlier. My research showed the seeds can live in the soil for several years. I believe that.

I do like plants that “automatically” come back every year, but the Hairy Crabweed is officially banned from the garden.

Missed Me

I had been working in my wooded area transplanting some purple oxalis that had grown outside the bed. As you can see I left my watering can. I returned inside, glanced out of the window, and noticed a big branch had come down right where I was sitting.

A couple of yards away I found the rest of the branch driven about 7 inches into the ground. I guess it was my lucky day that the limbs missed me.

Searching for Flowers

It was a hard winter here on the Gulf Coast and one bad freeze froze most of my plants to the roots. A few are starting to come back and I set out to search the garden beds for some blooms. The Cramoisi Superieur lost all of its leaves but made a big comeback with all new leaves and a few red roses.

The Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit shot up with vigor, many more stems, and has already made some of its green flowers.

The purple and white Oxalis Triangularis is in full flower and so are the invasive pink ones.

I have seen photos of snowdrops from bloggers up north and my Texas-sized snowflakes are now blooming clumps.

Because the weather has been so crazy and not long after the freeze, temperatures reached the 70s and 80s, the azaleas bloomed nearly a month early.

I love this little Snow Poppy or Eomecon Chionantha. While trying to find its proper name, I saw it listed as a weed. It is doing really well and reproducing. They all die back in the summer.

I have a couple of potted plants in bloom. The Kalanchoe was a gift from my kids many years ago. I stick any broken stems back into the pot and it doesn’t take long for them to root.

The Billbergia nutans have such unusual colors. It is from South America and blooms in the winter here.

I don’t have the usual amount of flowers, but I’m seeing many plants finally starting to grow with this recent heat wave.

Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds

I am usually somewhat organized, but for some reason, I can’t get a handle on the seeds I collect from my garden. The seeds are stored in several locations in the garage. I have them on the potting bench that I can’t use for potting anymore.

Seeds are piled on the stand where my plants spend the winter.

More seeds are stashed on a garage shelf.

And the shelf under that one.

Seeds even fill shelves inside my house.

If anyone has a great system, I would love suggestions. So far I haven’t found anything I like. In the past, I used wax sandwich bags, but the glue deteriorated and the seeds fell out. Keep in mind that high humidity makes things mold and rot quickly here. And bugs are everywhere.

Della at the family seed farm around 1915.

My penchant for collecting seeds may be hereditary. The photo above is my grandmother working on her Dad’s seed farm.

The Best Part of Winter

Camellias are the highlight of winter here and start blooming at the end of October. These beautiful shrubs bloom when the temperatures cool, filling in for all the summer flowers that have finished their blooming time.

The Camellia sasanqua bloom first. They resemble a rosebud when opening.

This year the Camellias were very prolific and every shrub was full of buds.

I could not stop taking photos and it was hard to choose which ones to post.

Even the Camellia sasanqua that was grafted with two different colors simultaneously bloomed for the first time. Usually, the white blooms first.

I hope you enjoyed my winter flowers, Unfortunately, all the flowers froze from the Blue Norther that hit before Christmas. The Japonica camellias have not bloomed yet and hopefully, the tight buds made it through the freeze.

And the Winner Is…

Violas! These sweet little plants survived the Arctic cold. I bought a few to fill in a bed and I will definitely keep them in mind for next winter.

A Very Hardy Begonia

I bought this begonia years ago only because it had the word “hardy” on the label. I had lots of garden beds that I needed to fill and only wanted to do it once with tough plants that didn’t need to be replaced.

The small white flowers are not very exciting, but the leaves are big and beautiful. I thought I had lost the plant as it froze back two years in a row. It struggled, but by the end of summer, it was totally back. It really lives up to its name. The temperatures are going from the 80s last week down to 18 degrees this week, which means almost every plant will freeze here. Hopefully, the begonia will be able to take another cold winter.

Same Plant, Two Colors

The pink Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus) has been growing in my yard for years and spent it’s its time at the top of the Weeping Bottle Brush that was killed by the 2021 freeze. This year it is rambling all over the place. The vine is also called Mexican Creeper and is a magnet for bees and hummingbirds.

I am sure it has reseeded over the years, but this year two plants that germinated no more than six feet away had white blooms. It was quite a surprise, but the flowers are very pretty and didn’t make any difference to the pollinators.