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.


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.


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.

 

 


Soft and Dreamy

The morning humidity on my lens gave the gingers a soft and dreamy focus.  It is a mishap that turned out well.

It looks even better in full size view.


Rainy Day

We have had several days of rain in the area and today was our big day.  So far we have had about 3 inches, but other parts of the city received at least 8 inches.  I went out to clear a clog.

We have a French drain that carries the rainwater across the yard, down a drain to a pipe and out to the street.  It doesn’t take much to clog it.

The birds were hungry on this wet day and while I was taking care of them, I noticed how pretty my gingers were glistening with rain.  The gingers are Hedychium coccineum.


Oxalis

The Automatic Garden always provides new plants, just not where I necessarily want them.  I found these Purple Oxalis Triangularis growing in the lawn that had somehow survived many mowings.

The closest Purple Oxalis is growing in pots on the back porch.  It is yet another plant mystery of how they ended up quite far from the pots.

I transplanted the newly found Oxalis to the colony that I started in the wooded area.  They don’t look so happy now, but the Purple Oxalis bloomed nicely in the early spring.  I have the plants protected by broken pots and bricks, as an armadillo has been plowing them up.  When the roots get a good grip or the armadillo moves, I’ll remove the barriers.