Butterfly Tip: Weed Not Want Not

Butterfly on Clover Butterfly Tip: Weed Not Want Not

Butterflies are uber popular right now it the gardening world,  and from decorations to special garden plots especially designed to attract them, there are a myriad of ways to get your butterfly fix in the garden!  You can try things like adding butterfly friendly water features to your yard, or planting shade trees that act as a host for their eggs, but one of the most butterfly friendly things you can do in your garden plot is a cheap “fix” you’re going to love.  NO WEEDING!

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Dobsonflies and Statement Pieces

DSC 0374 2 805x1024 Dobsonflies and Statement Pieces

Letting my dog out for her morning small business development, I noticed something large and buggy moving around in the grass near the pup’s favorite spot. It was big, had it’s tusks and antennae tangled up in the grass, and was no less than 4-5 inches long.  Yeah verily it was another Dobsonfly – a bug I was never aware of until a couple years ago when one crashed an evening BBQ, and sent the whole group of us into hiding, or lacrosse stick swinging terror!  I live close enough to the Chesapeake Bay, and Baltimore Harbor apparently to attract these love struck creepos in their brief winged adult stage as they search for mates.  Lucky me!

I won’t lie, I find Dobsonflies fascinating when they, like this one, are stuck on something and incapable of charging at me.  Should this one have flown at me I am fairly certain people would have been able to hear the squeal through their internet connection whether they read GG or not.  This male was probably on it’s last legs, since they only live a week after they gain flight.  It definitely had enough spit and vinegar left in it to lean back and clack it’s tusk-y mandibles at my dog when she leaned over it, play bowed, and kicked it, in the hopes of a good game of chase. Luckily at the time it didn’t choose to nail me with foul smelling spray it can shoot out it’s back end when it feels threatened.  Anything like that would have nailed me right in the chops, and I have no idea where to look on the internet for a “how to” article on safely cleaning anal spray out of the nooks and crannies of your husband’s Nikon camera.

DSC 0371 2 1024x682 Dobsonflies and Statement Pieces

It would be hard to explain to him later for sure.  Something else I have to imagine that is hard to explain to your husband is this!  The same morning I discovered the Dobsonfly, I decided to check out Yahoo’s photo gallery from Ladies Day at the Ascot horse race in England, and found THIS hat parading around!  What is THAT!

photo 1308266047947 1 0 Dobsonflies and Statement PiecesPhoto Credit: Carl de Souza, and Yahoo News

This is why I will never be rich.  Not because I would refuse to don such a creation, but because I will never be the kind of out-of-the-box creature who thinks of bedazzling giant faux Dobsonflies, nestling them on top of high fashion haberdashery, and selling them for big bucks to ladies of culture.

Why God.  Just why.

Wild Phlox Photos


IMG 2704 768x1024 Wild Phlox Photos

One of my favorite wildflowers are the Wild Phlox that grow on the edges of woodlands in Maryland.  I’ve found it impossible to resist picking bundles of the fragrant flower while I walk my dog on the Gwynns Falls Trail here in Baltimore.

DSC 0116 2 Wild Phlox Photos
Wild Phlox are so airy and delicate.  They make a great filler for my kitchen bouquets when the roses run their course, and the Carnations need company in the vase.

 

DSC 01141 Wild Phlox Photos

They’re just one of the simple pleasures in life, free wildflowers for the picking.

Attracting Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars

DSC 0207 Attracting Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars

Gardening for Butterflies is growing in popularity, and it’s a three season love affair that can take you from spring cocoons to fall migrations!  Try these host plants for Larvae and Caterpillars to use in the flower garden, and raise your own butterflies!

Growing Flowers For Black Swallowtail Caterpillars:

  • Parsley
  • Carrot
  • Queen Ann’s Lace
  • Dill
  • Alfalfa
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Sunflower
  • Aster
  • Broccoli
  • Milkweed
  • Hollyhock
  • Clover
  • Partridge Pea
  • Snapdragon
  • Thistle
  • Sunflower

Growing Trees For Larvae and Caterpillars:

  • Willow
  • Elm
  • Chokecherry
  • Oak
  • Plum
  • Hackberry
  • Cottonwood
  • Birch

 

Mix these flowers and trees into your landscape, or organize them into clumps to create a special butterfly garden.  Keep extra herbs like Carrot, Parsley and Dill in a butterfly garden area to create a safe place for the caterpillars to feed, and as a depository for them if you find them in your herb patch.

Happy gardening!

 

Partial Shade Container Garden; Indoor Tropicals and Exterior Annuals

IMG 1851 768x1024 Partial Shade Container Garden; Indoor Tropicals and Exterior Annuals

When it’s warm outside, show your interior plants some love by giving them a little freedom!  Try mixing indoor plants with your exterior annuals, and building them into your container designs!  This happy cocophany of color and texture is a montage of interior and exterior leafy greens.

Ingredients:

  • Caladium
  • Spider Plant
  • Zebra Striped Wandering Jew, Zebrina pendula
  • Purple Heart Wandering Jew
  • Red and Green Coleus
  • Deep Purple Coleus
  • Moss Rose,  Portulaca Grandiflora
  • White Begonia

If you own most of these, try them together in a large container in a partially or fully shaded area. If you don’t own some of these indoor tropicals, pick up some of the Purple Heart, Zebra Wandering Jew, or Spider Plant, at your local home and garden store, and plan to move them indoors for the winter if necessary.  Using your indoor plants outside is a great way to check their root systems, and clean out their containers at the same time for fresh usage when it gets cool again!

And remember, Caladium bulbs can be cleaned and stored indoors for use next year if you expect a snowy winter.  Check out my article on getting more usage out of your Caladium plants.

IMG 1852 1024x1024 Partial Shade Container Garden; Indoor Tropicals and Exterior Annuals

Happy Gardening!

Inverted Bell Water Feature

Woodfired Bellurn 04 Inverted Bell Water Feature

I love water features!  Have I mentioned that?  What’s that?  Too many times?  Well, cover your eyes land-lovers, cause here comes another one!

Take a look at this inverted Bell urn.  Not only does it look mottled and textured, like a historic artifact, which I love, but it also is a really creative use of a bell shape.  I could see this in an all American yard (a-la-liberty bell) near Shasta Daisies, or worked into a more Japanese or Tibetan theme.  This would look beautiful surrounded by formal topiary and pea gravel, or hugged on one side by Russian Sage, and presiding over Hen and Chicks.  Where would this water feature not look good!

What a beauty. This goes on my list as a great low maintenance water feature. Check out the website through the link above, and purchase the tubing and pumps at your local garden center to save a little dough.

Your Thoughts:

What creative water gardens have you seen?  What shapes are your favorite?

Patio Inspiration From Design Sponge and Kevin O’Shea!

171 Patio Inspiration From Design Sponge and Kevin OShea!

Design Sponge interviewed designer Kevin O’Shea for some tips on designing your own patio garden room, and his tips come complete with several must-see mood boards on different themes like an English Garden, and an Urban Balcony!

Global Eclectic Patio Inspiration From Design Sponge and Kevin OShea!

He’s created a great starting place, from furniture, to container styles and lighting, to give you inspiration for creating your own escapist patio retreat.  Hop over to Design Sponge’s article on Creating Outdoor Rooms, and get some ideas for making your patio a place you’re going to want to show off.

Happy Gardening!

 

Can I Pollard a Fruit Tree?

Apple Tree Can I Pollard a Fruit Tree?

Can I pollard prune fruit trees to keep them smaller and more maintainable for my patio?

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Attracting Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

Monarch Caterpillar Attracting Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

Gardening for butterflies is growing in popularity, and it’s a great way to add some interest and movement into your garden for three seasons per year.  Butterfly gardening takes you from the larvae stage to becoming a fully fledged butterfly, and the best way to ensure loads of butterflies visit your yard to to provide them with the food sources they need from stage one.  The advantage and disadvantage when attracting Monarchs for breeding is that they only lay eggs and feed on Milkweed varieties as larvae and caterpillars, so in order to really create a stand of milkweed you probably need to like the look of it. More good news is that Milkweed comes in several types and colors, so you may find one you like to incorporate into your butterfly garden, or to spread along the tree line in your backyard.  The flowers of the Milkweed family also attract a variety of other wildlife, and are highly fragrant, so these are great additions to any area near outdoor seating!

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Impatiens Hanging Baskets

IMG 2926 1024x768 Impatiens Hanging Baskets

 

There is beauty in simplicity and repetition!  These simple hanging baskets are comprised of common pink Impatiens, but together they look simply stunning!  I snapped a picture of these at the Baltimore Country Club a few weeks before I was married there.  What a gorgeous place!

Make This Basket:

  • 4-5 four inch pink Impatiens per basket,
  • 3 small trailing Vinca vines per basket
  • Liberal use of potting soil
  • Rinse and Repeat!