Cooler Temps

Twenty degrees makes a world of difference.  From 95 degrees to 75 degrees recently has perked up everything.  It’s nice to have the weather match the calendar.

Also, we were blessed with six inches of rain.

coolautumn6Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) is a winner.  It was named a Texas Superstar by Texas A & M in 2011.  And that it is.

coolautumn7Pictures of the garden really points out flaws.  In this photo I noticed the Hackberry tree growing in the Salvia Greggi.  I have since cut it down.  Behind the salvia is hardy Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)  and several different rose bushes.

coolautumn8In front is Double Delight rose, then Tropicana rose with tall Knock-Outs in the background.

coolautumn5Purple Aster didn’t perform very well this year because it needs to be divided.  I’ve read that should be done in early spring.

coolautumn3The dead pods on the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)  are beginning to bug me.  I was leaving them as food for birds this winter.  But I decided to cut the heads off and leave them in the flowerbed.  Then the stems can be eliminated.  That way the birds can forage on the ground, and the dead plants are not an eyesore.

The Strawberry Gomphera (Gomphrena globosa) bloomed in the spring, hot summer, and now into autumn.  Even though they are small, their bright color gives a great bang for the buck.  They also reseed generously.

coolautumnaMexican Petunias (Ruellia simplex) are still going strong.

coolautumncThey don’t bloom with a great mass, but the delicate tubular flowers on the ends of tall stalks are pretty.

coolautumndCannas have revived with some red flowers.

coolautumneBlue Mist Flower (Conoclinium coelestinum) fuzzy puffs continue to draw butterflies.

coolautumnfA few flowers remain on Pink Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), but leaves have dropped off.

coolautumnkDuranta (Duranta erecta) is a hot weather plant but has seemed to like the cooler weather.  Love it.

coolautumnmWhat is prettier than these clusters of tiny purple flowers?

Several potted plants still look good:

coolautumnhRussian Sage, Turk’s Cap, and Kolanche in pots provide some color.

coolautumniFinally, the Bougainvilla has a few blooms.  Don’t know what the problem is, but thes are the first flowers this year.  Probably didn’t fertilize it.

coolautumnjAfrican Bulbine’s (Bulbine frutescens ‘Orange’) flowers wave in the wind.  All of these potted plants will have to go into the shed for the winter.

hibiscusHibiscus is looking good.  The wet weather is agreeing with it.

hibiscus1Love the color of the flowers.

hibiscus2This tropical Hibiscus has been in this pot for eight years.  The beautiful flowers make it worth hauling into the shed each winter.

coolautumnoIce Plant will die back during the winter.  I used to always have a start inside, but it has come back from the last two winters, so that doesn’t seem necessary.

ContainerPlants1Purple Oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) or False Shamrock has been in this pot for years.

coolautumn1Last week I was working at the Brady Master Gardener’s Butterfly Garden.  I thought that Monarchs had already passed through this area, but I was obviously wrong.

coolautumn2I love Maxamillan Sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) with lots of flowers on each stalk.  They grow in the bar ditches around here.

The cooler weather is great, but it also means winter will be here soon and flowers will be gone.  But winter is what makes spring so special.

“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.”  unknown

Butterfly Garden in Costa Rica

This post continues with the activities at Selvatura Park in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde.  Thanks to all of you who have been faithful to patiently read about this trip.

After walking the hanging bridges path, we visited a butterfly garden.  Once again, thanks to Diane Atchison for her pictures.  Hers are the ones without my copyright.

IMG_3883The butterfly garden is in a structure with strong light.  These yellow flowers look like the Candelabra Bush (Cassia Alata).

butterflyOwl Butterflies (Caligo memnon) have the camouflage of large eyes when the wings are closed, but has a soft coloring when open.

IMG_3913IMG_3888Rotting fruit attracts the owl butterflies, so they can be seen near banana plantations.

butterfly4I think this is an open owl butterfly.  Labeling of pictures on the internet show this one to be an owl, but other pictures show owls with the same wings both open and closed.  Confusing.

butterfly2butterfly3Common Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)  In nature, they are found in forests and coffee and banana plantations. They eat flower nectar as well as sugar from rotted fruits.

butterfly6Loved these orange ones.

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butterfly9Just emerged from its chrysalis.

butterfly8Crimson Patch (Chlosyne janais) live in both dry and humid areas of Costa Rica.  They frequent open fields and gardens where flowers can be found.

butterflyaPretty sure this is a Passion Vine (Passiflora) flower.

IMG_3885 IMG_3892

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IMG_3906So fun to see all the colorful butterflies.

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all publicity.”  George Carlin

Heritage Farms

The last week in October the Evant Garden Club traveled on a day trip to the Heritage Farms in Waco.  They graciously invited me to tag along.

The Farms are comprised of a group of families with a religious affiliation and a common life philosophy.  They are vague about their beliefs except that family is a core value.

cafeThe man on the porch of the cafe was our tour guide.  He looked to be in his thirties and has seven children.

Most of the land is owned commonly.  The children are all home schooled.  The women and girls wear loose plain dresses.  The men and boys wear jeans and commercially made shirts.  Much of the information about the community comes from a short video shown to visitors.

candleThis lovely Candle Bush (Senna alata), also known as a Candelabra Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Ringworm Tree, or Candletree is a medicinal tree.  It is native to Mexico but can grow tall in the tropics.

heritagefarmA bed of assorted blooms including impatiens and asters.

heritagefarm3The families of the Farm believe in living off the land and creating what they need.  This pottery demonstration shows one of their skills.  Many items that are produced are sold in the gift shop.

heritagefarmbMy first impression was how neat and manicured the whole place is.  Of course, we only saw the public areas, but the homes and farm lands are probably just as immaculate.

heritagefarm5The flowerbeds were impressive.

heritagefarm7The buildings have an old world quaintness.

heritagefarm4The wood working demonstration stressed the art of handmade furniture using dovetailing rather than nails.

All the different shops provide classes for the public.

heritagefarm8So neat and trim.

heritagefarmaMexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) – I definitely want one of these.

heritagefarmcI couldn’t figure out this building, but it looks like a storage place.

gThe smithy shoes the horses and makes other needed iron products.  They also do commissioned jobs.

Community barn raisings are another source of income.  They have bought old barns in the northeastern US and reconstructed them replacing damaged parts with authentic replications.  Some projects are done for their property and some for customers.

heritagefarm9We also visited the shop where spinning, weaving and sewing is done.  My pictures didn’t turn out, but the information given was fascinating.  I learned a lot, especially about flax.

heritagefarmdThe grain mill is powered by water, show above, and electricity.

heritagefarmeThis is inside the mill.  They sell bags of mixes for breads, muffins, etc.

heritagefarmfPride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) stands out against a wall.

heritagefarm2Back to the cafe where there is another Candle Bush.  We ate lunch there.  With everything made from scratch, it’s a long, leisurely lunch time.  They were busy, even on a Tuesday, with many large groups touring.

A great day of enjoying a calm, serene atmosphere and learning about crafts not practiced by many today.

“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.”  John F. Kennedy