I have tried countless times to keep Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) alive in my garden and have failed each and every time … until a few weeks ago.
This spring I had purchased a few of these butterfly loving perennials and stuck them in the ground in an inconspicuous place, just to see if I could get them to grow with one last attempt. If they didn’t thrive, so be it. I finally came to grips with the fact that they prefer a dry soil and that is exactly the opposite of what I have to offer in my yard.
As expected, these plants virtually disappeared within weeks of being planted to the point that I even forgot that they even existed. But then one day, a few weeks ago, I noticed a sweet pop of orange out of the corner of my eye. I immediately ran over and when I realized that two of the Butterfly Weed plants had miraculously recovered, I fell to my knees and thanked the Lord for presenting me with such a miracle:
I didn’t even care that the orange color looked completely out of place when compared to other nearby flowers. This was one of those surprises that gardeners get all giddy over.
Because I had failed with this plant so many times in the past, I had no idea that they formed seed pods and was equally excited to discover these just the other day:
Now I am way anxious to watch these open up and disperse to their heart’s content and hopefully, I’ll find some more of these next spring. This is what keeps gardening so damn interesting for me.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) which started off with a bang after planting a bunch this spring:
As anticipated, they were a magnet for all sorts of creatures. I would just stand there for minutes on end and watch the visitors stop by and hang out and drink the magical nectar.
But once the blooms dried up, things got nasty.
The aphids have absolutely taken over and dirtied up the joint.
I considered the options on how to remove them but settled on doing nothing. If that is how nature wanted it, who am I to get in the way? Plus, we are talking a complete aphid inundation so they are beyond hope. My plan now is to leave them be (luckily they are out of plain view) and see if they end up doing any permanent damage. From all accounts, they should be just fine so I am not all that worried.
Another learning experience and another reason why … gardening is so damn interesting to me.
Have a great long weekend.
Cornus (Red Twig Dogwood) ‘Arctic Fire’ may be the shrub I’m most excited about for next year. I bought the tiniest plug last year and actually forgot about it. It was lost amongst the weeds in spring but I babied it in a container and now she is ready to fly on her own. Get those twigs nice and red now, ya hear:
Perennials I can’t grow due to poor drainage are now being kept in containers so I can move them around at will – sort of like rearranging furniture. This Sedum ‘Matrona’ is temporarily in front of Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ … I kind of dig it:
Berries on trees = good times:
Just thought this was kind of a cool shot – Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Cardinal Flower) through the blooms of a Panicum (Switch Grass):
This Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) is thriving at four feet tall:
But I liked it better when it was destroyed by the caterpillars:
I still prefer containers with only one plant in them – like this series of Cordyline. One day I’ll graduate to the big leagues and learn how to use thrillers, fillers and spillers:
Each morning I run, I look forward to seeing the blooms on Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ and I’m cool with them disappearing soon after:
Have a great weekend and for all of you in the path of Hurricane Irene, stay safe. We’re already preparing here in NJ as we’re expecting 8″ to 12″ of rain.