A garden is the best alternative therapy.

The perennials in the garden have rebounded wonderfully.  The abundant sunshine and warm weather has been good to them, although the lack of rain necessitates a frequent watering with the garden hose.  We are thankful, however, for the recent rain.  It wasn’t nearly enough, but it did manage to saturate the first couple inches of soil.  I know the plants appreciate the rain water more than the city water, so I won’t complain.  Can I ask for more, though?

The perennial hibiscus is really bushing out and I suspect that, some time in May, it will begin flowering.  This variety has fluorescent fuschia blooms, which will bring additional color to the side of the house and is sure to captivate the attention of beneficial insects.  This is between our deep red-colored knockout rose bush, which is starting another wave of blooms, and the herb garden.

perennial hibiscus

The fall aster looks as if it is going to grace us with a pre-fall show this spring.  It is growing some flower buds as we speak, which will add a nice lavender splash between the orange and yellow lantana blooms.  It will continue to grow throughout the summer and put on its big finale in the fall.  It promises to be a good show.

fall aster preparing to bloom ... in spring!

In this photo, fennel flanks three dill plants at the very left side of the bed against the fence.  Surprisingly, the black swallowtails have been quiet the last few weeks after an early start of laying eggs and hatching baby caterpillars.  I don’t currently have a single egg or caterpillar on the hosts plants.  I’m hoping the rain will bring them back.  I mean, I have a total of twelve host plants for them!  Ding-ding goes the dinner bell!!

The three mounds of leaves on the right are black-eyed susans, which still have a little time before they’re in bloom.  At the back of the bed are my thyme plants that are finishing up their blooming stage.  I’ll shear them back when they’re done and encourage them to send up some new growth.

Texas lantana blooms

As a last minute decision, I sowed more Russian Mammoth sunflower seeds (I had four growing last year).  I had twelve come up, but some little creature ate two of them completely to the soil.  I still have nine going strong and another struggling a bit.   The six plants in the foreground below were planted at the same time as the others, but are already much larger than the other four.

Russian Mammoth sunflowers

The sedum wilts slightly in the heat of the day and rebounds by morning.  It seems to catch a lot of falling moisture as seen by these big balls of water.  I think I may need to shade them a little better.  They’re in the same bed as the Turk’s Cap, which enjoys partial shade.  The corner WAS in the shade when I planted them last fall, but the neighbors severely pruned the Texas Lilac tree that used to shade them.

water droplets on sedum leaves

Turk's Cap budding

It’s a challenge to photograph the honeybees on the gauras.   They move quickly from flower to flower, and the entire flower stalk sways so easily in the breeze.  These two photos came out fairly sharp, however.

Indigo Spires salvia barely lets on that it died back to the ground over winter.  These foot-long spires of flowers are everywhere and more are on their way.  In the second photo, the white Autumn Sage can be seen in the background, as well as the yellow blooms of Zexmenia.

The scissor-tailed flycatcher is Oklahoma’s state bird, but still calls the neighbor’s Mulberry tree its home.   Also known as the Texas Bird of Paradise, it is common in our area.   It is a beautiful bird, but I suspect it is the reason why I haven’t seen many butterflies and why the black swallowtail caterpillars disappeared.    It eats berries, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths and caterpillars.  I sure hope it got the squash borer bug, too.  Here it sits in the top of another neighbor’s tree at sunset.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ... and butterfly eater!

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Comments on: "The Butterfly Garden and The Reason for My Missing Butterflies" (6)

  1. Great photos! I am sorry that the bird is eating the butterflies. They are so desirable in the garden. Maybe with all of your plantings, you will increase the population.

    • roundrockgarden said:

      I went home last night to check on the nest in the neighbor’s mulberry tree. It was nowhere to be found – so obviously someone or something knocked it out. I swear it wasn’t me! I won’t lament it too long, though – I want my butterflies back and whatever happened, it was fortuitous for me! 🙂

  2. Oh, I hope that bird didn’t eat all your butterflies. They wax and wane depending on some cycle of life dependent on climate that I don’t understand. Your Lantana looks as if it should tempt more butterflies to show up.

    • roundrockgarden said:

      I hope it does tempt them to come back. I had caterpillars but they disappeared and they were too young to pupate, so I’m fairly certain the bird got ’em! Oh, the circle of life can be vicious at times! 🙂

  3. I think I stole your butterflies. This year I’ve had a plethora of them. The plants I’ve had the best luck with are Salvia ‘May Night’, Catmint, Yarrow, and Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’. For bushes I like Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’ I have several of these in the back of the border.

    Agastache is lovely in the garden but the problem I’ve had with this is that it never appears in the same place twice. The parent plant will die in the winter and come Spring it’s babies have migrated all over the bed. It’s always a surprise to see where they will turn up next.

    For Host plants I have parsley is several different varieties. This seems to be a huge attraction for the Swallowtails. I want to find some Milkweed for the Monarch butterflies but have not found any in our local nurseries yet.

    Here’s hoping you get a late spurt of butterflies to entertain you with.

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