Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Buffet is Set

The the late summer/fall flowers have started to bloom in the garden.


The flowers are showing a little more restraint in their blooming than they would if we had received a nice soaking rain since June and if the temperature was not so slow to moderate. Summer seems to be slow to let go this year.


Nevertheless, the buffet is set and awaiting local pollinators and migrating monarch butterflies. The green spikes of gayfeather (Liatris) that were something of an eyesore a week ago are now purple with nectar rich flowers. And look at pine muhly in the center.


Love that grass.


I have only seen a few monarchs in the last couple of weeks. According to the Journey North website, the leading edge of the peak migration is just crossing into Texas. They better hurry up and get here because the gayfeather is about to peak.


Bees are busily feeding on the flowers.


Here is a closer look at the flowers.


These gayfeather blooms are joined by little bluestem and zexmenia.


I don't have any monarch pictures yet, but I did get a photo of this yellow butterfly. Over the weekend, I saw several pipevine swallowtail butterflies that were taking their first flights around the garden after their summer metamorphoses. A neighbor that frequently walks his dogs past my house said he has been stopped by several people driving by. They all want to know if the butterflies have arrived yet. Apparently, my garden is a bit of a tourist attraction.


My variegated Yucca gloriosa is blooming for the first time. I think the wet spring helped it to get established because it did not show any signs of drought stress this summer like it has in the past.


Around in the back garden, the spiny eryngo is blooming. The plant is not overly attractive when it gets six feet tall and flops over into the pathways.


But the pineapple shaped flowers are a welcome addition to the garden and a treat for the pollinators. 

A cool front came through today. I have a feeling that the garden will be full of monarchs and other pollinators this weekend.

16 comments:

  1. Gorgeous color! Summer was still grasping on, yes, but it sure does feel great this morning!

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    1. I agree, Misti. It was nice this morning and all day long. Lows in the mid 50s and highs in the low 80s this weekend. We may get some rain later next week. Glad some of that cooler weather made it down to you.

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  2. Wow! I can see why neighbors drop by all the time. Looks pretty dang good to me, considering the "summer that never ends." I tried hard to grow a pine muhly like you (copycat me); it didn't work for me, but that won't keep me from trying again!

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    1. Linda, having blooms on the Liatris made the difference. The garden was looking a little sad until they started blooming. Keep trying that pine muhly. They seem to pout a little when transplanted. Sometimes for a year or two.

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  3. Does the pine muhly get the pink blooms like some of the other muhlys do this time of year?

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    1. Anonymous, there are several varieties of muhly (Muhlenbergia) grasses. Muhlenbergia capillaris is the one with the pink puffy blooms. The pine muhly is Muhlenbergia dubia. It has long narrow flowers that radiate from the center, just as you see in the pictures above. I think the pine muhly look good to great for a much longer period than the ones with the pink flowers. The ones with the pink flowers only look good for a couple of weeks, in my opinion.

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  4. So many monarchs at the EEC this weekend! Did you see more at your home?

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    1. I was at the EEC at 10:30 or so and saw a mixture of monarchs and queens on the Gregg's mistflower. Still small numbers at my place. I suspect I will see more this week. I need to spread my Gregg's mistflower around the garden. One of my patches is about to fizzle out.

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  5. Gorgeous! I can see why you decided not to take too many liatris out - they are absolute show stoppers in bloom (as is that spiny eryngo). What! You didn't know you were providing folks a nature show for migrating butterflies? Perhaps you should leave a contribution can out by the curb - fund that purchase of additional mistflower plants. Seems a fair deal to me!

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    1. This year's butterfly show was a flop. It looks like the majority of the migration went further west. I have not thought about a collection can for butterfly viewing, but I have considered charging people for taking pictures of their children in the bluebonnets. Just joking or am I?

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  6. Your garden looks great. I'd never have guessed it was in need of a soaking rain. I wish I could grow liatras like yours. I got starts from a friend, but I suspect they rotted in the monsoons this last May. Major bummer.

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    1. You will need to try the Liatris again. They look great for the couple of weeks they are in bloom. It is hard to believe we were practically drowning in water a few months ago. And people said the drought was over. I did not believe it.

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  7. Michael - your garden is absolutely beautiful! The colors are amazing! I am beyond impressed!

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  8. Wow, I love that pine muhly/liatris combo, esp with the structure of the Opuntia behind it all. Do you ever cut back your pine muhlies? I never have in the 3 (?) years since you gave me one, but this year it was so floppy that I think I will whack it next spring. I planted another pine muhly this year, and it's looking spherical and normal, so I figure it's related to age, not weather.

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    1. Pam, I cut the pine muhly back to a small ball in February. They do start to get some thatch build up after a few years and loose some of their vigor. I pull them out at that point and let the smaller plants take over. One thing I like about this plant is that it reseeds but not too much.

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