Posts Tagged ‘garden’

first snow

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

From this…

fall colors before the storm












To this…

after the brutal wind, frigid wind chill and first snow












Well, that about does it for the autumn colors.

the front hill, 9 wks later

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

It’s been a little more than two months since the front slope got planted. Here’s what it looked like at the end of June (click to biggify)…

front hill, immediately after planting












And here’s what it looks like at the beginning of September…

the front hill in september, 9 weeks after planting












Not bad, I suppose. I haven’t lost any plants yet, so that’s a plus. Off to a decent start — must constantly remind myself to be patient — but still needs a year or two to grow in completely and begin to resemble a meadow. Next year it will look fabulous. The third year, golden.

Want a closer inspection? Rollover the images for deets…

Nassella tenuissima blowing in the breeze

the grasses are finally filling in... Panicum virgantum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ and Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame', Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ blooms behind



















Agastache ‘Ava’ and Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with a bright Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ behind



















Verbascum ‘Album’ blooming but still small after just a few months in the ground

Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame' beginning to bloom behind Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’



















The alien-looking Eryngium yuccafoliums (Rattlesnake Master) really stand out; Comptonia peregrina (Sweetfern) behind



















Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ in the foreground with pale green Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ and dark Sedum telephium ‘Sunset Cloud’ behind; Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ adds some green with Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ rising up behind it



















a closer look at origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ and Sedum telephium ‘Sunset Cloud’



















Helictotrichon sempervirens ‘Saphirsprudel’ and Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’



















Buddleia alternifolia ‘Argentea’ is now 4' tall and a little wider than that






















Remember this shot from back in June?

Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ and Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) back in june


That Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) has come a long way. She’s now taller than I am!

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise ) in all its crazy glory, late August


The crazy looking blooms, whose scent on a warm evening remind me of Indian food, are generally swarming with bumbles. But I shot this right after a big rain and the bees were nowhere to be seen…

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) bloom, closeup... very Dr. Seuss


For those who care to obsess, you can find my entire front hill plant menu here.



butt-thra babies!

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

You’ll never guess what Bix and I discovered this weekend! Butt-thra, our monarch butterfly, had babies!

butt-thra baby: one of the monarch caterpillars looking for lunch




















Here it is just 20 days later and the eggs that she laid on our butterfly weed have already hatched and grown. I had no idea it all happened so quickly!

After I spotted the one above, I came across a few more babies a little while later…

butt-thrababy: more monarch caterpillars!




















What you don’t see is a tiny caterpillar who hasn’t made its way into view yet. So four babies counted so far!

From what I’ve learned, there are three generations of monarchs during the warm season. The last generation — the one born in August-September — is the one that makes the 2,000 mile flight to Mexico. That makes these fellas future travelers.

Isn’t that exciting?

monarch midwifery: day 13!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Hatch day! Got outside at about 5:20 am. Just me, a cup of tea and my iPhone. Right after 6 a.m., the monarch crysalis started to open. The stupid camera couldn’t seem to focus on the right thing, but you can just make out the split starting from the bottom…

monarch midwife_1: crysalis starting to open!




















Seconds later she popped out!

monarch midwife: moments out of the crysalis




















Note the tiny wings and the huge abdomen. Over the next hour and a half, Bix and David and I watched as she hung there pumping fluid from the thorax into her wings…

monarch midwife 3




















You can see her wings gradually grow while her abdomen skinnifies, all Jenny Craiglike…

monarch midwife 4



















monarch midwife 5



















monarch midwife 6





















Then she opened her wings. I could barely fit her in the shot!

monarch midwife: the wings finally open




















Scarcely over two hours after she began her transformation from pupa to butterfly, our baby took her first flight…



This evening I discovered the newborn fluttering around our sumacs, so she’s still here. Hopefully she’s enjoying our butterfly buffet before she heads south.


Addendum #1:

After watching Godzilla vs. The Thing  (also known as Godzilla vs. Mothra) last night, Bix and I dubbed our magical monarch “Butt-thra” in deference to our favorite winged monster, Mothra…

a shot of mothra from last night’s movie













Addendum #2:

Bix requests that you join us for a song before you go, okay?


FYI, If you’re not familiar with the Singing Science series by Motivation Records, check it out. Fantastic and fun. (Space Songs and the two Nature records are our favorites.)

monarch watch: holy moly!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

At about lunchtime I posted that there wasn’t much going on with our butterfly friend. But look what she’s gone and done in the last two hours…

monarch pupa: day 12 omg i can finally see you!




















Can you believe it? It’s almost butterfly time!

projects update: built-ins + butterflies

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Let’s see… when we left off on Day 9, it was almost time for our monarch butterfly to bust out of her chrysalis, fan us with her awe-inspiring wings and flutter on out of here. So what’s up?

DAY 10

monarch pupa: day 10




















DAY 11

monarch pupa: day 11



















DAY 12

monarch pupa: day 12




















So much for the 10-day cycle. Ever waited for a cat to have kittens? It’s kind of like that. I go outside and check the chrysalis throughout the day. When something happens I’ll let you know.

In other news that might actually be news, David and Joe are downstairs banging out the built-ins. Here’s your sneak-peek…

built-ins: joe and david at work



















built-in: record rack



















built-ins: bookcases and whatnot





















Once they’re in, David can tell you all about them. Also waiting in the wings: our murphy bed hardware. So there’s that to look forward to, as well.

One last note: the wallpaper decision has been made. I’m saving it as a surprise. All will be revealed with the fullness of time.


monarch, day 8 + 9

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Our monarch butterfly is still cooking on days 8 and 9…

monarch pupa: day 8



















monarch pupa: day 9




















I let our very rainy weekend stop me from snapping a shot on Day 7. But I have a feeling our friend looked quite similar to the above.

So is Tuesday hatch day? It will be 10 days since she climbed into position and that’s supposedly how long metamorphosis lasts. I may have to hover over her all day tomorrow to capture her emergence!

monarch, day 6

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I think I see the green beginning to shift a little. Perhaps our butterfly friend’s change to orange is beginning? Or I’m imagining things…

monarch pupa: day 6




















Looking quite a bit different from Days 1 and 2. Four more days to go!


monarch, days 4 + 5

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Our butterfly friend is looking fairly unchanged from day 4…

monarch pupa: day 4




















to day 5…

monarch pupa: day 5




















But I imagine there’s a lot happening in there. As it turns out, the pupa is clear and the color you see is the green butterfly on the inside. As she gets closer to “done,” the color will change to the bright monarch orange we know and love.

Only five more days to go!

Day 3


monarch, day 3

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

monarch butterfly pupa: day 3




















Days 1 and 2.