Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, November 29, 2013

This week in the garden - #82

We had unseasonably (for us) cold weather for Thanksgiving week. A couple of nights ago, we even had a light - very light - frost. Light though it was, it was enough to put paid to some of my more tropical plants, like the cannas.

 And, of course, the bananas. They are gone for this year, but they'll be back next spring.

The exposed outer leaves of the hamelia shrubs were nipped by the frost and turned to mush, but you can see that the more protected leaves underneath are still green.

Most of the brugmansias and the daturas were full of blooms and/or buds when the mini frost came. It was enough to cause them to wilt and droop. But, again, I think you can see that the lower leaves that had more protection are still green.

Walking through the garden today, I noticed that the ends of some of the milkweed leaves were nipped by the frost but then I found these guys happily munching their way along the leaves.

These Monarch caterpillars are well along in their development and, with any luck at all, will soon be ready to pupate. Obviously, they came through the cold weather without discernible problems. From what I have read, I gather that these caterpillars are, in fact, able to withstand quite cold weather without damage as long as they have a food supply. If the weather is both cold and inclement, that can cause problems for them. Today, I saw another migrating female Monarch laying eggs on these same plants now being devoured by the caterpillars.

It may be another effect of the colder weather that the garden was full of honeybees today. They were visiting the remaining flowers, such as the Copper Canyon daisies.

But, also, they swarmed all over my hummingbird feeders!

This feeder has bee guards, but it also has a small leak at one of the seams and the bees crowded around to sip the leaking nectar.

No bee guards here and the bees sipped directly from the feeding ports - much to the annoyance of the Rufous Hummingbirds that were trying to feed there.

We are supposed to have slightly warmer weather over the next few days which is probably a good thing for the caterpillars and for any developing eggs on the milkweed. But we know that killing frost is inevitably on its way. On average, it comes around December 10,  so, much of the garden now exists on borrowed time and we must get ready to protect what we cannot bear to lose.

No comments:

Post a Comment