Friday, October 20, 2017

Mexican bush sage puts on quite a show at the end of the season. The  flowers are bright purple, fuzzy and dry well. It's a good late season nectar source for pollinators, too. I've also noticed a few honeybees at the red pineapple sage flowers and some late lavender.

Some plants are not as showy, but are still very worthy garden additions. One is nicotiana, or flowering tobacco. It has pretty, white tubular flowers, but what makes it a stand out is fragrance. It's botanically designed to be fragrant at night, in order to attract certain pollinators. When I took Lucy for a walk after supper recently, I stopped to sniff, and was amazed by the sweet aroma of a single bloom. If you have an outdoor seating area that you enjoy at night, nicotiana should be planted nearby.

Even though the gardens are still going strong, I've been busy in the shop gearing up for the holidays. But I'm waiting until November to put out Christmas items!

If you're thinking about making some of your own gifts for the holidays, remember that we have essential oils, DIY supplies and containers and dried herbs and spices in our shop.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The buckeye butterfly, seen below, is one of the species I've been seeing in increasing numbers this year, as compared to the last few years. Its host plants are verbena, snapdragon and plantain, all of which we have in our yard. Although, while the verbena and snaps are by design, the plantain is not! It does show that having a wide variety of plants will help draw in different varieties.

I just talked to a woman yesterday who wants to add different plants to her yard next year to attract pollinators. People are really interested in increasing habitat and feeding opportunities for bees and butterflies. I think it's paying off, because I saw more species and a larger number of butterflies overall this year.

I'm still seeing an occasional Monarch, too. Yesterday, one fluttered by the kitchen window and today, one few out of a maple tree as Lucy and I walked by.

The hyacinth bean vine outside the shop is at its peak. The flowers are attractive, but the shiny purple pods are the real star of the show.

People sometimes dismiss annual vines since they must be planted each year. But with just one season to grow, you get lots of coverage quickly, making them ideal to shade a outdoor seating area. It's easy to save seeds from the hyacinth bean by letting pods dry up on the vine and then harvesting the seeds inside