Butterflies and Blossoms

I’ve been slammed with work, and, I confess, a new diversion.  I bought a recumbent tricycle and have been exploring local bike trails.  But whether I’m riding past Indian burial mounds and Grand River bayous or reading masters theses, the garden grows.  And grows.

Butterfly on mandevilla flower

I planted several mandevilla vines hoping they would temporarily fill in the empty spaces along the west side of the Secret Garden.  They aren’t, but I like the flowers.  And, apparently, so does this skipper butterfly.

There are lots of white flowers happening in the garden right now.  Tardiva is in full bloom.   As is the phlox.  I had hoped the moonflowers that bloomed last night would still be opened this morning when I took these shots, but, alas, they were not.  I keep thinking I need to go out at night and take pictures.  But the moonflower plants are so big they completely drape across the pathway.  I discovered a ripening seedpod, though.  These are such strange looking fruits!

Datura Seedpod (with Nicotiana)
Tardiva

The white liatris on the west side of the Secret Garden is done, but the clump on the east side, next to the garage, is just starting.

Just outside my kitchen window Limelight Hydrangea is in full bloom.  I love the way it turns from green to white.

Limelight Hydrangea

And lastly, I couldn’t resist including here yet another picture of the entrance to the Secret Garden.

Entrance to the Secret Garden

Steam Heat

It’s been in the 90’s here, and high humidity turns that heat into steamy afternoons.  And though there was a lot of moisture in the air, there was no water falling from the sky.  But it rained today.  And while the temperature is climbing again, at least the garden has gotten a nice natural drink.  Watering systems are nice, but nothing works quite as well as rain.  When there was a small break in the rain this morning, I grabbed my camera.

Tardiva Hydrangea

Tardiva is getting ready to bloom.  I’ll soon have white pinnacles nodding above the day lilies.  This was one of the first things I put in the secret garden.  The spent blooms even look interesting during the winter.  But I have to stay in control.  This hydrangea could get huge and crowd out all the day lilies.  I had to tame it a bit a couple weeks ago, nipping branches that hid a couple of Pandora’s Box lilies.

I love the fact that Tardiva blooms at the same time as that dark, dark red day lily.   It makes for a wonderful contrast.

Dark Red Day Lily Against Tardive Hydrangea

Rhapsody in Blue is starting her second bloom cycle.  I’ve been vigilant about keeping the Japanese Beetles off her.  And a hearty thanks to Jean for suggesting the dish-water method.  I have a jar of soapy water handily placed in the rose garden.  When I find the latest colony of Japanese Beetles, I hold the jar underneath them and shake the flowers.  Yesterday I happily drowned at least a hundred of the hungry little beasts.  There are a couple dozen floating in the jar right now, victims of my latest beetle killing spree.

There are still enough hansa rose blooms to scent the air.  What a wonderful, hardy, healthy, fragrant addition these bring to the garden.  And, I have to admire their spiny canes.

Rhapsody in Blue

The Rosey Returns day lily near the kitchen window is doing quite well.  And soon the Limelight Hydrangea will bloom.  That was planted about a year ago.  I realized I needed some height at the corner of the house, so I transplanted some of the day lilies and put Limelight there.  It works.

Rosey Returns and Limelight Hydrangea

Next year I’m probably going to have to thin the day lilies in that bed.