Archive for June, 2012

Mound finished; Wildflowers spent; More butterflies

June 12, 2012

Well, I can’t find that little caterpillar anymore — either he’s disappeared into the interior of the plant somewhere, or he met an untimely demise. I suspect the latter, because I can’t find any leaves that have been obviously eaten — something you would expect if he were alive and growing.

But I am heartened to report that a number of butterflies have been visiting my milkweeds, and quite a few more eggs have been laid. In fact, I took a video of a butterfly visit. Warning: this is likely a very boring video unless you are a butterfly nerd like me.

I noticed that this butterfly in particular seems to prefer the very new, young milkweeds to the left of the sign, rather than the much more mature plants on either side. Several eggs were laid on some very small plants … doesn’t seem like a great strategy to me, but we shall see!

In other news:

  •  My mound is finished, for better or worse. I feel it may be a little too large. But I plan to plant some vegetation on it in the fall, which should obscure its size and shape somewhat — perhaps.
  • The wildflowers finally expired, and I pulled them all up. Now the yard looks a bit bare … but some more plants will go in this fall, and fill in some of the bare spots (especially those left by the Cypress trees!).
  • Two plants have started to bloom: my Coyote Mints, on the west side, and (just starting) my Fuchsias on the west side. I’m not sure what’s happening to the east side Fuchsias. I am not as happy with them — they seem to be spreading out too much, and too low (this is not  a variety that should be low), and some ugly lower stems are showing. I’m wondering if they have “too much room” and have expanded into the open space too much — maybe they need some competition from other plants to look their best and to expand upward, not sideways.
  • I removed my two Coast Sunflowers on the west side — the ones that had grown in very, very dense after I coppiced them last fall, with distorted and stunted blossoms. They had started to get dry and brown from the bottom up, and I decided I was tired of dealing with them. This seems like a troublesome species that can easily get too sprawly and leggy, and then, as I discovered, can turn into a mess if you try to cut it back. Maybe I didn’t do it right; I don’t know. In any case, I was tired of them! I have ordered a solar birdbath to take their place, which I hope will add a bit of contrasting hardscape in that spot.

Here’s how everything is looking: