Entries in succulents (3)

Sunday
Aug262018

Creepy-Crawly August Garden

This has not been a bad summer. Hot and sticky, yes, but not unreasonable for Alabama. This past week we had a couple of cooler mornings with lower humidity. A touch of fall? Almost! I have continued developing a new area, which I am calling the pollinator garden. I will feature it in a later blog post. Meanwhile, here are some images from around the August garden, including some creepy-crawlies! 

I put this colorful hanging bougainvillea behind the birdbath in front of the house. Bougainvillea is not hardy here, but it was inexpensive and I won't feel guilty treating it as an annual. The plant on the right is Tropicana Canna Lily.

During the dog days of summer the shady woodland garden is a nice retreat, and I often find myself walking there during late afternoon. The light that time of day is magical, and I love the shadow play, as seen here around the cast iron plant: 

The planting beds in the woodland garden are augmented in the warm months with potted tropical plants, which add color and texture and help fill in the area: 

Clockwise from top left: Hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) is planted in the ground, but variegated fig, Dracaena Marginata, and bromeliads are tropicals that move inside for the winter.

Lady fern (Athyrium) and Peacock Moss (Selaginella uncinata) grow well together next to one of the moss paths:

I also have some potted succulents that spend frost-free months outdoors. I bought most of these as nameless specimens, and I don't know much about them. However, I am delighted that some of them are producing offspring. The small pups may be removed from the mother plant and planted to produce more.

One more thing: It is spider season! Cobwebs are everywhere, and I have to be careful to keep myself from becoming entangled in them as I walk around the garden. One day I captured images of this large web high up in the trees:

I wonder how the tiny spider that created this web knew how to do it? Webs are often spun in the dark, and this web is quite large for such a little creature. I don't see how the spider was able to get a full picture of what it was doing! Yet the design was beautifully formed. 

More spider pics: I found this big black-and-yellow argiope spider amidst my tomato plants, and she had encased an egg sack in a web on a tomato plant. By spring, up to a thousand baby spiders may come out of this sack, though only a small percentage will survive. These particular spiders are sensitive to the environment, and their presence is a sign of a healthy, well-balanced ecology. They are also good guys to have in the garden, so I will leave the spider sack alone till the babies hatch in a few months. Hopefully, the dying tomato plant will remain supportive till then.  

Speaking of tomato plants, we still have a handful of tomatoes on the vine, but soon they will be gone. I was fascinated, and a little horrified, when I discovered this creature, and several of his relatives, on my tomato plants:Tomato hornworm

My first inclination was to kill these caterpillars, but tomato hornworms do turn into rather magnificent moths, which hover about like hummingbirds. And they make a good meal for a bird, too. I only have a few tomatoes remaining so I picked the hornworms off and tossed them behind the wood pile rather than killing them. But next year I will be on the alert, armed with insecticidal soap, which they hate. And maybe my garden spiders will help me keep them under control.

You also may enjoy this older post,  Late Afternoon in the Woodland Garden, and if you want more information about spiders be sure to see My Little Orb Weaver.

Sunday
Jul082018

Walk in the Misty Summer Garden

Recently I took a stroll through the garden in late afternoon after a storm. The air was misty, and water dripped from leaves.A view of the front garden. The shrubs with lavender blooms are dwarf crape myrtles.

I am enjoying summer. Abundant rains have benefitted the garden and generally kept high summer temps from becoming oppressive, although I avoid being outside when the humidity soars and the sun is brightest and the pavement sizzles in the heat.

The Tropicana Canna Lily looks good. I have had this photogenic plant for years, and every summer I take new photos of its amazing leaves.

A whimsical bug is at home next to the Tropicana:

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you may remember this creature playing in the snow last December:

Nothing like a snow picture in July!

Another plant that looks great in photos is this colorful succulent:

My succulents grow in pots with very well draining soil. With all the recent rain, some of them are looking a bit mushy, but this one is doing well. I bring most succulents inside in late autumn before winter's heavy rains and freezing temps arrive.

My recently transplanted hosta in the woodland garden is still doing well, no doubt thanks to plentiful moisture.

Ferns in the fern glade are also prospering. The ferns in this area have taken several years to become established, but many of them are now reaching mature size:

Variegated Algerian ivy grows in a pot hanging beneath a birdhouse in the woodland garden. Algerian ivy can become rampant if planted in the ground, but it behaves well contained here. I trim it when it grows too long:

Finally, as the sun was setting and I was about to end my stroll through my very wet garden, I was rewarded with a movement at my feet:

I was delighted to see a young box turtle. One of my most fun posts was about a box turtle. You can read it here:  Encounter With a Box Turtle

Best wishes!  Deb