Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Trivia: What's In My Cart?

I took a break from a marathon Christmas shopping trip this afternoon to see what was new at my local Home Depot nursery. I wasn't going to buy anything (I swear!), until I spotted a sea of light purple from afar and went running over to see if it could possibly be what I thought it was. And it was! I quickly loaded the cart:

Know what it is? It's my favorite Florida native wildflower, and this is the time of year when you can find it for sale. If you can't ID it, come back this weekend when I'll be posting about planting it and a few other things! Happy guessing!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In Bloom

We've finally replanted the butterfly garden, and although it still really needs a new layer of mulch, at least the plants are in and doing well.

The key to a good butterfly garden is including both host plants and nectar plants. For the nectar plants, using different colors and heights is also effective, and grouping plants together in clusters of colors gives a nice aesthetic and the bugs seem to like it too. To perk up the garden for the cooler months, here are the plants we added:

Pentas lanceolata in red...

and pink.

Lavendula pinnata

And of course, plenty of milkweed, both red and yellow flowering.

It's nice to have a backyard full of color again, and on warm afternoons the butterflies are definitely enjoying it. It's good to be getting My Florida Backyard back into the swing of things again!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Affair of the Necklace

We're just about done cleaning out the weeds of summer from My Florida Backyard. The butterfly garden has been replanted (more on that soon), and in other areas we've found thing weren't as bad as we feared. We've even found a few plants we forgot we had, like this Necklacepod (Sophora tomentosa var. truncata).

It's a Florida native we found last year and tucked away in a corner of the garden. It must have bloomed this summer, since we found some of the fun seed pods that give the plant its name. We're sad that we missed it, since the photos of the flowers we found on the internet are really cool. The pods are fun too, though.

This plant is actually a shrub that can grow up to 10 feet or so. It's native to Florida, and grows in zones 9 - 11. It's salt-tolerant and can often be found near or on the coast. There is a non-native species, Sophora tomentosa var. occidentalis, which has much fuzzier, silvery leaves and is native to the West Indies, so if you're seeking this plant out at a native plant nursery, make sure they're selling you the correct type.

Next year we hope to catch this plant when it's blooming, since the flowers are said to be great for butterflies. In the meantime, we're just glad we managed to find it again here in My Florida Backyard.