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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This week in the garden - #12

What excitement! The birds and the veggies are coming in at the same time!

All week long, I've been seeing new fledglings around the yard, mainly the cardinals and the chickadees. At the same time, the yard has been full of migratory birds, especially warblers, making their way north. And, as if that weren't enough to get this birder/gardener's heart pumping, the zucchini has started to come in and one of my tomatoes is turning red!

 It's a 'Mortgage Lifter.' I can't wait to taste it.

This pretty orange daylily lit up the bed where it lives this week. Compare it to...

Mama's old ditch lilies, the heritage plant from which all our modern daylilies came.

There have been a few mysteries in the garden this week.

Tiny butterflies, often with a wingspan of one inch or less, frequently get overlooked because they are...well, tiny. They're not big and flashy like the swallowtails or fritillaries or milkweed butterflies. But on any given day, there are probably more of them in the garden. I caught a couple of them with my camera this week.

While I was looking at the wildflower garden, I noticed some small butterflies enjoying the blooms. Several of them were skippers of various kinds, but I'm not sure what this one is. In flight it looked like a small sulphur, but I couldn't find any pictures that looked exactly what my camera saw when the critter sat with wings folded.

 Here's a second view. Do you recognize him/her? 

This, I believe, is one of the checkered white skippers, but, again, I couldn't get a good enough picture to pin down its identity definitively. So the mysteries remain. And here's another one.

This guy was munching away on my dill. I'm used to seeing swallowtail caterpillars there, but this isn't one of them and I was unable to find a picture with which to identify it.

Back at the wildflower garden, the tickseeds are raising their pretty, if unfortunately named, flowers to the sun.

No mystery here, but I'm gratified to continue to see a steady stream of Monarch visitors to my garden, and I've had a steady stream of their caterpillars turning into brand new butterflies.

My 4 o'clocks bloom in a myriad of colors, but I particularly like this one.

If you've read the blog for any length of time, you know my feelings about 'Graham Thomas.' He's my favorite yellow rose and I'm always happy to see him bloom.

Now here's a sign of a healthy habitat garden. It's snake poop! I'm seeing this sign more frequently than ever before this year. I know that I have at least a couple of adult snakes in the garden - a Texas rat snake and a beautiful little garter snake. By the time I see them, they are always slithering away as fast as they can move. Their instinct teaches them to fear humans. Canny instinct, but if they only knew how much I treasure their presence here, perhaps they would hang around and visit with me.

I hope your garden is healthy and beautiful and brings you joy this week. Maybe it even harbors a snake, the gardener's friend.


  1. Greetings Plantwoman!

    You got my curiosity going with your mystery caterpillar . According the information that I found on the web it is a yellow striped army worm in the last instar. The adult is a moth.

    I would enjoy all the smaller butterflies more if my eyesight was better!

    1. Thanks, NancyB! This "army" seems to consist of only one worm. At least I only saw the one on the plant. I hadn't considered that it might be the larva of a moth. Now that you've given me that guidance, I'll look again.

      Those tiny butterflies are really hard to see in real time. The camera helps, but sometimes even it isn't enough to solve the mystery.

  2. Oh how gorgeous it all is!!! Sooo exciting!! I hope you save some seeds from that Mortgage Lifter. I would love to try that early bird! I had no clue about the snake poop. Now I know what I'm looking at!! Great stuff xoxox

    1. All my tomatoes are heritage varieties this year, Pammy, so I'm very anxious to see how they'll do in my garden and, most importantly, how they'll taste.

  3. Wow - that tomato looks wonderful. As you know, we're trying our first veggie garden and the results have been less than stellar so far. Snake poop - now that's something I wouldn't have recognized if I had seen it!

    1. I had that first tomato for lunch today, Jayne. It was delicious!