Thursday, July 15, 2010

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothng is a miracle. The other is as if everything is. ~ Albert Einstein

There is a garden where lilies
And roses grow side by side;
And all day between them in silence,
The silken butterflies glide.
~ Francis Turner Palgrave

Yesterday the county to the west of us had some bad storms and a tornado siting. Our county's emergency managers got ready in case the storms came our way. Someone got a little carried away and turned on the tornado sirens. There was no storm on the horizon so some people thought we were under attack. Could have been a dangerous situation if people had panicked.

Meanwhile, as the sirens were blaring, I was following this Tawny Emperor butterfly. I have a couple hackberry trees on the farm which are the hosts for these butterflies. I've read they almost never visit flowers but this one obviously didn't read that memo.

I was told by the butterfly folks at Garden Web (who know a whole lot more than I do) that these and other butterflies will come to a plate of rotting fruit (set atop something to discourage ants and other insects). Thought I'd try setting out a plate of fruit in some sunny spot. I usually have overripe bananas, strawberries and apples.

Daylily Moses' Fire caught my eye showing some blazing red color in the late afternoon sun. This is one of those daylilies that is a little hard to place in the garden. I have it with purple coneflowers now and I can certainly testify that those two do not make a good combination:) Next year I'll move it into an area of yellows and golds to see if that is more pleasing to the eye.

About one third of my double daylily blooms, including Moses' Fire, are opening as single blooms this year. I've read other daylily growers are having the same problem but no one seems to know exactly why.

Found a garden center with three varieties of blue sage. Thought I'd try them all and see which I like the best.

Blue Frost and Black and Blue are being used as fillers in containers. They don't require a lot of space and they drape gracefully over the container rims. Last year Victoria Blue was planted directly into the garden and seemed to fade into the background. Not enough presence to stand out among the other garden plants.

So far I have seen very few bees or butterflies on any of these sages or pentas which makes me wonder... Do the growers treat their plants with systemic insecticides? They don't want chewing insects making holes in the leaves of the plants they plan to sell. They also probably don't want bees hanging around the garden centers and frightening the customers. Has anyone else noticed pollinators avoiding annuals grown and sold at large garden centers?

This is an unusually good year for coneflowers. In the past a few of them have been plagued with some type of wilting disease but this year they are healthy and thriving. Coneflowers, phlox and agastache are the three main butterfly attractors in my garden so I wouldn't be without any of them.

These tomatoes have been just sitting like this for weeks. I always get so impatient for homegrown tomatoes this time of year. Every morning I carefully study them for signs of blushing. I'm buying some at the local farmer's market tonight. Can't stand this waiting any longer.

Could it be true a watched pot never boils and a watched tomato never ripens:)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and try to stay cool.


Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie.....I have to say your flowers are just lovely, they always look so fresh and perfect.

Coneflowers are one of my favourite non native plants. They do not do well in my garden, so I will not be adding anymore.
There is one making an appearance in one of the borders, I think it might be 'white swan'...fingers crossed.

The butterfly is gorgeous.
The garden centre that I visit always has bees and butterflies around. For me, that is always an indication that 'all is well....

I love the quotes you displayed today...beautiful

tina said...

Quit watching those tomatoes and they'll turn before you know it. I don't think growers would treat their plants with systemics, at least not annuals and perennials. That seems to me they might need to include a warning if they did. I think the bees and butterflies are there somewhere. Crazy about the siren going off. I know I'd be pretty scared. I like the idea of a lily and rose garden with butterflies gliding between. This morning a dragonfly landed on me! First time ever and it was sweet. You have a great day!

Louise said...

Your gardens are so magnificent. I find that I wait impatiently for Mondays and Thursdays, to see more. Moses' Fire is one that I have been thinking of adding. I can see where it would be hard to place though, because it's such a brilliant red.

I never thought of using GardenWeb to identify butterflies. I'll head over there for help in identifying the Mystery Butterfly that I just posted.

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

Morning Marnie, I like your new header photo - it looks fantastic! I know what you mean about watching for tomatoes.... we have a small veggy garden mostly for our 4 year old son to learn about but I'm a "now" person and would rather purchase at the local farmers market - oh well! Have a great day...

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Marnie, your garden looks beautiful. I need to look into some double daylilies. My tomatoes look just like yours - green on huge plants.

Eileen (love the quote from Albert)

Skeeter said...

After several years of succes with tomatoes, they are a flop this year. I am going to pull the remaining puny plants out of the ground today! Dont know what happen this year but not good for maters in my garden.

Your garden is looking so pretty and full of blooms! Even though I love my lilies, I am not going to pay $200 for one! lol...

Your kitties are so beautiful in their golden years! As I type my little Hocus Pocus is laying on the desk on her blanket keeping me company. She looks similar to your kitty and I just love that name Hocus Pocus!

Your little wren looks happy with its home...

Southern Lady said...

Hello Marnie! I just love your pictures. I have always admired coneflowers and yours are so pretty. I don't know why I haven't planted any must be due to my procrastination habit. When is the best time to plant? Hope your tomatoes ripen up soon. The waiting is the hardest part. Carla

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a great butterfly. You did good getting its photo. I like your fire dayliliy. I would think it would look good with some yellows. Hope it moves happily. I haven't noticed my nursery plants being avoided. Interesting theory. I'm sure it varies from nursery to nursery. I hope your tomatoes turn soon!

sunny smiles said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! I will try the rotting fruit suggestion..(:

Rose said...

"A watched tomato never ripens"...I think you've just coined a perfect proverb, Marnie:) Mine show no signs of turning red either.

First of all, I love your header photo! I don't think there's any flower, other than a rose perhaps, that is as photogenic as a coneflower, and you have outdone yourself.

You've started me thinking about where the butterflies and bees land; come to think of it, they prefer most of my perennials, too, especially the coneflowers, of course. Last year they were attracted to my profusion zinnias, but those were some I started myself from seed. Makes we wonder about the growing methods used at garden centers.

Vetsy said...

Hi! Marnie thanks for stopping by this morning.. A butterfly that does not visit Flowers?...

for me that is a first" That is what I love about chatting with my fellow garden bloggers, you always learn something new..
The Tawny Emperor is a pretty butterfly and your garden is too"

I have heard/read about setting out Rotten fruit for them but never tried it...

You may have a point about your flowers possibly being treated with an insecticide....

I had this same Puzzle last year when I bought bachelors buttons and some others flowers that I know are magnets for pollinators

Yet.. both Bee's and the Butterflies totally ignored them..

Kathleen said...

I forgot to tell you the last time I commented, how much I like your new blog header. It so "summery."
We tried setting out ripened bananas here for the Swallowtails (because we'd seen that done at our local Butterfly pavilion). Nothing went to it except mice!!!!! omg, I took that hanging plate down pronto. I hope you have better luck drawing in what you want!
My tomatoes are still green too. boo hoo.
As far as the annuals purchased at nurseries, I've noticed that same thing occurring here. Nothing much visits my containers except hummingbirds. At least they do but the bees & butterflies definitely stay mostly on the perennials. It would be interesting to start some of the same annuals from seed and see if there is a difference in activity/visitation?? Maybe we should all do that experiment next year? I will be upset if we figure out they are using something.
Gorgeous butterfly too and glad you didn't have a tornado. We don't have sirens here ~ they just beep the info on the TV ~ but if you don't have your TV on, I don't know how you'd ever know you were in danger??

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Marnie, When I saw the weather on TV, I wondered about you... Glad it didn't get to your county... BUT--that is too close for comfort.

Your flowers are gorgeous... Interesting about the butterflies and bees not touching some of your plants.... Sounds like the growers used some kind of insecticide... Too Bad.

Wonder what has happened to the double daylilies??? We don't have any double ones --so I have no answers for you.

Love the Coneflowers... It is a good year for them.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ha, it will probably cool off here about mid September. UGH... This is a difficult time of year to me. As bad a mid winter. WHINE~~

Your cone flowers look great. Mine are looking kind of worn out. We are a little behind in rain and with the heat well, they don't have much of a chance.

I haven't noticed that bees aren't attracted to different plants. I don't plant many plants from a garden center.

I hope you have a great weekend too.

Pat said...

I can just imagine you walking around with a camera in the garden whlie sirens are going off.
If we always got the right combo of flowers...gardening may just be weeding. :(
Have coneflowers and phlox also but need something else to make it all work.
Aah someday.

Dawn said...

I would be petrified about the sirens, last time I heard that I was in grade school and fighter jets involved in nam were flying overhead! We all had to get under our desk, stuck with me for sure.
I just love all your flowers, I don't have many but took some photos today.
Tomatoes seem like they can ripen overnight, hard waiting because they are so yummy.

BeadedTail said...

Glad the storms weren't in your area but still those sirens would make me nervous. That's one sound I don't miss from living in Kansas because I'm a big storm chicken!

Your flowers are so lovely and that butterfly is gorgeous! Our tomatoes are still flowers so we're waiting for any signs of a real tomato and I agree that a watched tomato never ripens or in our case, buds!

Gail said...

Marnie, I have only had a little taste of my sungold tomatoes; just before they are ready to be picked some critter gets them! I'm so glad you've had a good year with your coneflowers. They are such a rewarding flowers~I've noticed that the yellow finches have already started plucking the seed and they aren't even near being ripe! I have seen a few more butterflies~I think my neighbors must spray 'cause there aren't many vistors. gail

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

What a pretty butterfly! I can never seem to get pictures of them. That Daylily is really pretty! I just started adding them to my garden and so far none are doubles, I guess I'll have to look for them.
I hadn't noticed whether bees were staying away from annuals. I sure have tons of bees in the garden though.

F Cameron said...

Your flowers are so beautiful and what a haven for pollinators.

Now, you do have me thinking about annuals purchased. I have salvia 'Victoria' as well, but just looked out and saw bees. But, I bought those at a local grower's greenhouse, not a retail store.

All of my other annuals, aside from purple fountain grass, are from seeds that I sowed myself and I don't use any chemicals.

The butterflies LOVE zinnias! So easy to grow from seed, too.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Tomatoes never ripen at my place--Bo eats them before I can pick them. I don't think he can stand to wait for them to ripen either.

That Tawny Emperor is beautiful, and the Moses Fire is so striking. Looks like your garden is in full swing. Hope you manage to keep dodging the wild weather.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Marnie, I love the quotes especially the second and the beautiful header photo!

I'm glad the sirens didn't perturb you too much and that you didn't have the bad weather.

The Tawny Emperor is just beautiful, you really do have some lovely butterflies there. One of my fellow bloggers has been taking rotting banana skins to a place which he knows is home to quite a rare butterfly in the hope of luring them from the tree canopies in order to photograph them. It will be interesting to see if he has any luck.

Your red daylily is a beauty despite it being hard to place, I'm sure you will find just the right place for it.

Lovely photos throughout Marnie, I hope your tomatoes ripen for you soon. I seem to remember my Mother making green tomato chutney quite often when hers wouldn't ripen. It was much more preferable when the sun did its job though :)

Beth said...

Hi Marnie - first of all, I love your photo at the top of your blog. Stunning!

I've noticed that it's been an exceptional year for coneflowers here too. I had a disease wipe out all of my white swan last year and they had always been one of my best performers. Better enjoy them all this year!

joey said...

Your quotes, header, and photos ... all stunning, Marnie! It's been quite the summer here too ... heavy storms, heat, humidity! Happy weekend gardening and let's enjoy the rest of July :)

Lona said...

Hi Marnie. What a beautiful picture of the Butterfly. I tried leaving old fruit out here but the raccoons always find a way to it. LOL! I heard old bananas were good for roses so I put some around mine. Something ate every one of them.
I have seen the Black and Blue salvia and it is so pretty. I wish it was hardy here and not annual.My tomatoes are not growing worth anything this year. Of course it helps if the stray cats do not try to use the area for a littler box and keep digging them out.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

First off I love your new header, that's a gorgeous shot! Your garden looks to be a wealth of lush blooms this month. Wish I could say the same here, just too hot. :(

Q said...

Hi Marnie,
Tawny Emperor is a beauty! Great photograph.
I do put over ripe fruit out for the butterflies. The question Mark and Eastern Common also enjoy the fruit.
My tomatoes are just sitting green on the vine too. Our CSA has had tomatoes so we are enjoying tomato sandwiches maybe with all this heat the tomatoes will start to ripen.
Always a pleasure to come visiting.

troutbirder said...

Your right about the coneflowers this year Marnie. On my little patch and on the native prairies nearby they have never been more spectacular. Maybe all the rain.

Alex aus dem Gwundergarten said...

It must be true, because I'm staring at my tomatoes too :o).
You make wonderful pictures, congratulations.
Kind regards from Switzerland

Anonymous said...

Hi Marnie, I've been away too long. My apologies. I'm so glad the sirens were a false alarm and I hope whoever pulled the switch doesn't do it again for fear everyone will ignore it because of the "cry wolf" principle, you know?

Love your butterfly and that single Echinacea with the green background is just stunning!

seema gupta said...

very beautiful and eye catching...


Chloe m said...

I like that new header!

I hope your tomatoes ripen quickly for you. I feel like that with my zukes.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

LOL, oh the tomatoes will ripen (eveeeeentually). Since I water mine every day, they just HAVE to ripen, even if I see them, lol!