Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Progress made

Oh, best laid plans...gardeners are as familiar as anybody with that promise of "gang aft agley".  At least, I am.

I dug out garlic chives aplenty, transplanted some and passed others along to gardener friends.  I trimmed verbena and dug out Jewels of Opar.  I planted a couple of passalong Henry Duelberg Salvias, then bought and planted more.  I put in tropical milkweed.
I put in more tropical milkweed.
All in pursuit of monarch butterflies.

For whatever reason, that, the attraction and support of monarchs, was the shape "what being a good gardener looks like" took for me this past year.   I was already doing much better in the attracting bees and other pollinators department. Maybe I was just looking for a fresh challenge.

I watched and I waited and saw one monarch.  The butterfly was nectaring on a lantana way across the yard from my especially prepared and well monitored monarch attracting and supporting bed.  It fed there on the lantana (not even a native variety!) for some time and then it exited, stage South.

It seemed the attracting part of that new and improved bed proved itself pretty much a bust.  It naturally follows the supporting part never really came into play.  But I was ready! In case! Partial credit for that.
Even without butterflies overhead I am smitten with the dance the leaves of various pre-eixsting occupants are doing.  Stalwarts of the bed shown above: bluebonnet, mint, verbena and wood sorrel.

Progress has been made, the newer plants are filling in, blooming, and holding their own.  Lack of monarch visits notwithstanding, I think the resulting bed looks pretty attractive.  To me.  The gardener.  I flutter around here a lot.
PS:  As I was editing this I spotted a monarch hovering over this bed.   I asked The Hub.  "Do you see what I see?".  He did, and he said he'd seen a monarch around that bed yesterday as well.

So, shut up.


Tina said...

Ha! Don't forget thought that the milkweed will be there next spring when the monarchs come through, ready for egg laying-so it's not all for naught. Things are looking good in your garden. Ooo--bluebonnets! Lucky gardener!

I've had one or two monarchs for the past couple of weeks--so glad to see them. Not hoards or swarms or gaggles or whatever, but one or two/day. I have other visitors, but not as many as I used to get. It's a little discouraging, but I'm grateful for the ones who visit.

Debra said...

What Tina says: it is all about the long game. And you can't attract what isn't there. Even at our local well established butterfly garden I've only seen a couple of monarchs. Your garden is looking nice and tidy. Love the blue bonnet leaves. I think I might like them even more than the flowers.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: I am fairly impatient, but you are right - the long game here is what I'm going to stress (over).

Do you ever trim your milkweed plants? Will they tolerate being kept on the shorter side of their range? I'm wondering if clipping them judiciously will result in shorter plants with more branches?

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Honestly I've never seen many monarchs in my area, ever, much less this year. I did hope that "If I planted it, they would come".

So same question for you about the tropical milkweed. Can I keep it trimmed and on the short(er) side a bit? Like no taller than 3 feet maybe?

Kris Peterson said...

Even without flowers the foliage combination is especially pretty. But what do you do to control the mint?

TexasDeb said...

Kris: The mint (which escaped a planter and colonized not one but two beds!) is nowhere near being under my control. Neither are the primroses or the bluebonnets, or.... Eventually I realized trying to eradicate such a pretty, tasty and tough plant was counterproductive. I don't have formal plantings, and the wildflowers and native plants in that bed aren't easily overrun, so mint can have its place.

I treat it like any other boisterous plant. I freely cut it back and pull it out when it threatens to overrun, but let it shine when everything else is wilting in the heat.

dryheatblog said...

Cool plants to duke it out, plus happy you have some monarchs hanging around.

TexasDeb said...

DHB/David: And since I've posted here it has gone back to zero monarch activity out back. I think I have some sort of "want it too much" whammy business going on here!

Pam/Digging said...

It's good to see monarchs getting so much love and attention from gardeners this year. They're on everyone's radar. Your bed is looking very pretty! I can see why you flutter around it.

TexasDeb said...

Thank you Pam! I'm not sure the monarchs love me back much but that's OK. So long as they make it through another season...

Honestly, I don't know how you get away from all the new sweet features in your own spaces to post on other's gardens so generously. I'd be out sitting and staring at your colorful (are they painted yet?) or at least soon-to-be colorful walls all day long.