An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 20, 2012

5 Caterpillars, 3 Photos

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

September 15, 2012

Bloom Day - Temporarily Untethered

This weekend finds me through with one part of my professional life and about to embark on a new adventure.  On Thursday I wrapped up 16 years at Smithfield Gardens (this is the first time I have ever typed those two words together in this blog in an effort to keep my different worlds separate), and will start Monday at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  Although it feels good to have little responsibility, even if only for a few days, I am anxious to get started on Monday.

If I had to pick one word to describe my own garden right now, I would say "neglected".  We have had significant rainfall in the past month and a half, so I have not had to water anything but my containers.  However, all that moisture has caused many of my plants to put on some rank growth, and let's not mention what it has done for the weeds.  Having been so distracted lately, I am looking forward to spending some quality time in my garden.

Despite my inattention, several things are blooming, like this Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest', which has been blooming all summer.
Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'

Also blooming all summer has been the annual Melampodium divaricatum. 
Melampodium divaricatum

Even if the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) never bloomed, I would grow it just for the foliage and because it does so well in shade, but the flowers are indeed nice.
Begonia grandis

This week my Fireworks golden rod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') just started to color up, attracting the attention of some neighbors. 
Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks'

Also just cracking color, with much more on the way, is my Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha).  I am hoping it and the beautyberry planted behind it will make a nice combo.
Salvia leucantha

Callicarpa americana

I am attributing the bumper crop of hardy oranges (Poncirus trifoliata) to the mild winter and abundant summer rains.  I have had to limb it up twice so no one gets impaled or loses an eye.
Poncirus trifoliata

I know I have planted many spider lilies (Lycoris radiata), but this is the only one to bloom this year.  Does anyone know if squirrels are an issue with this bulb?
Lycoris radiata

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, and you can visit her blog for a tour of what's blooming around the world.

September 7, 2012

Turning a New Leaf

I have been rather negligent posting to my blog, but things have been in flux here lately.  After working 16 years for the same company, I decided to apply for a position at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The past few weeks have been a blur of resumes, applications, phone calls, interviews and sleepless nights.  Last Friday I was offered the position and immediately accepted, elation set in.  However, the sleepless nights have not ceased - over having to leave good friends in a place where I have spent about half of my adult life.  The only thing making this easier is that I am now working at one of my favorite places, ever.

While I still have one week left at my old job, I started working at the gardens this week.  When I clocked out today I took a stroll, and the following is just a taste of of what now get to see every day.

Caladium - Yellow Blossom (Leung Pa Li Chart) Caladium - Yellow Blossom (Leung Pa Li Chart)

Children's Garden 


Abelmoschus esculentus (Burgundy Okra)  
Abelmoschus esculentus

Canal Bank

Cortaderia selloana and Weigela florida 'French Lace' Cortaderia selloana and Weigela florida 'French Lace'

Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito'

Canal Bridge


Butterfly Garden

I am sure you don't believe me, but I am not responsible for this men's room graffiti. Garden graffiti