Monday, July 28, 2008

Embracing Weeding

This morning was cloudy and cool, perfect for working in the yard. The weeds were beginning to take over the flowerbeds, so I decided to embrace weeding today. If you're curious about how to embrace weeding, click on the hyper-link and read Carol's post.

Under the right conditions, weeding is an enjoyable and very relaxing task for me. It had rained during the night and the weeds were easy to pull. Definitely the right conditions for weeding cool, cloudy, rain-soaked and quiet. Of course, before I began working, I had to check things out and take a few pictures.

The zinnias are beginning to bloom. This is one summer flower that I absolutely must have in my garden. So easy to grow from seed and the butterflies love them.

The 'Lady in Red' salvia is beginning to bloom as well. I saved the seed last year and sprinkled them on the ground in the spring. They are doing very well and before too long I should have plenty of these red flowers for the hummingbirds.

The hydrangeas are still pretty small and only one of them has blooms and this one only has two small clusters. I may try to move them in the fall to see if I can find a location where they might be happier.

The rain-soaked Japanese maple.

I think this is a wild geranium.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who regularly reads my blog, but I garden mainly to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I love flowers and would grow some of them regardless, but the thrill of gardening for me is the sight of some little creature enjoying the fruits of my labor. I usually plant parsley to attract the black swallowtail butterfly to the garden. It is a host plant for the caterpillar. This year I added fennel for the black swallowtail butterflies, it too is a host plant.

I was delighted when I noticed the caterpillars munching away on the fennel today. The parsley is right beside the fennel, and I didn't notice any caterpillars on it. Maybe they prefer the fennel. I'll definitely be adding this for them from now on. Besides, I love the smell of fennel!

The small butterfly weed plant is blooming beside the fennel, hopefully soon I'll see the newly emerged black swallowtail butterflies enjoying these blooms.

I was standing at the kitchen sink last evening and noticed a cedar waxwing in the tree. I quietly slipped outside and took pictures. This was only my second time to see one of them here.


Anonymous said...

All your blooms look lovely with raindrops shining on them. The caterpillar pictures are great. I have been planting more things to attract butterfly, hummingbirds and other wildlife to my garden.

Regina said...

Your photos are fabulous. I've been sneaking in some weeding between painting on our house. I must take advantage of the rain soaked ground, too.
Yesterday I was thrilled to see a praying mantis on the Stella d'Oro lilies, but I didn't have my camera in hand. Oh well.

beckie said...

Robin, I will have to plant some fennel now. I love the catapillars!. The Lady in red salvia is prettier than any I have seen. On my wish list! My utterfly weed that I started indoors had buds but no flowers yet. This has been a real triumph for me. I lost 2 purchased ones last year and was determined to grow some this year. I don't think they liked being transplanted after a certain stage. Anyway I 5 of them in different parts of the garden. Hydrangeas can be tempermental can't they. Hopefully you will find a good spot for them. As always, your pictures are wonderful.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The black swallowtails always get on my bronze fennel too Robin. I love to go out to find those little instars on the fennel and watch them grow into caterpillars. Unfortunately the birds get quite a few of them.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

It sounds like you had the perfect weather for weeding. ;-)

I grow a lot of fennel (bronze and ordinary) in my garden but no caterpillars on them at all. Perhaps the butterfly babies here don't like fennel?

I'm growing zinnias this year too (first time) and am curious to see if the butterflies here are keen on them too.

Great pics!

Jayne said...

I did the "weeding gig" on Sunday Robin and man, it always amazes me just how many there are when you really are looking for them. I was drenched when I was done.

All your flowers are so lovely, but I love the waxwing even more. :c)

Sharon said...

All of your pictures are wonderful Robin, but the one of the Zinnia is incredible! I love the Cedar Waxwings too. They come here in flocks around Jan-Feb to feed off the fruit tree outside our kitchen window. I see them in the summer as well, but not as often.

I hope you don't mind, I've added you to my Favorite Blogs list : )

Also, I was wondering what kind of camera you use. Have a great Dog Day of Summer!

Gardening By Mistake said...

As always, great photos. Thank you!

I added fennel to my garden last year for the first time. I didn't grow any to add this year, but I was happy to find it self-sowed. It wasn't an invasive amount, either. Next year I'm planning to intentionally add more, and in more places.

As for weeding, I definitely have had to "embrace" it. I'm at that stage where the weeds are greatly ahead and I have to spend concentrated times out in the garden to get a handle on it. I'm winning, though! Weeding is a good chance to meditate and ruminate, I find.

Rose said...

The Lady in Red salvia is such a pretty flower and unusual, too. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the caterpillars. I usually don't pay too much attention to them and I'm a bit squeamish about "worms," but if I knew which ones were future butterflies I would definitely appreciate them more! Thanks for making me more aware of them.

Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin's Nesting Place said...

Perennial gardener, I think the flowers are prettiest right after a rain.

Regina, I saw a praying mantis on the arborvitae yesterday. They are so small right now and I have to look hard to find them.

Beckie, I'll try to save some salvia seed for you, if you like. I grew the pink butterfly weed from seed and it is just beginning to bloom. I'll have to get a picture of that one too.

Lisa, I hope the birds will leave the caterpillars alone. I have two bird feeders close to this area, I don't know if that is good or bad for the caterpillars. I may bring them inside.

YE, do you have black swallowtails there? They are the ones that love fennel and parsley. I hope your zinnias get attention from butterflies soon.

Jayne, isn't it amazing how quickly those weeds take over when you're not looking.

Sharon, thank you so much for adding me to your favorites list. The camera I used for these pictures was the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50.

Gardening by Mistake, thank you and you're welcome!I hope my fennel will self-sow.

Rose, I don't mind the worms, it's the spiders that scare me.

ChrisND said...

I like your caterpillars...I am trying to attract more butterflies and beneficial insects to the garden, but it is a struggle with the birds that live there.

Catherine/mygardentravels said...

I find weeding is as good as meditating. Your alone in the peace and quiet. I grow a large patch of parsley for the black swallowtail butterfly and if I find a caterpiller on my kitchen patch, it's easy enough to move it over to the butterfly patch.

Nancy J. Bond said...

Great shots! I never minded weeding so much -- it's a bit like washing dishes to me: a not quite pleasant job, but one that gives you time to think and ponder. :) I do some of my best worrying while I do dishes. Hee!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

WOW! The zinna photo is astonishing, and I LOVE waxwings. Congrats on Black Swallowtail caterpillars - I hope I get some soon!

Dave said...

Great shot of the waxwings! The butterflies definitely like those zinnias. They are all over ours along with the hummingbirds. I put out a hummingbird feeder this year but I've basically decided that with zinnias around it isn't necessary!

Debbie said...

Robin, your photos are just gorgeous. I have to say that I am more and more gardening for the birds and butterflies. I haven't done many annuals in the past, but as I read more, I will definitely be adding some varieties next year.

Isn't Carol funny with her "embrace..." posts?

CIELO said...

Your garden is so pretty! I really enjoy seeing all your garden pic...

thanks for sharing

enjoy the day


Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage said...

You and I both garden for the birds and butterflies. I have fennel for the same reason you do. Isn't it oddly satisfying to see the caterpillars munching away? I envy your cool, cloudy, and rainy summer morning for weeding. Perfect!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Gail said...

Robin I always enjoy your photos and commentary! You've given me a great idea...planting the fennel next to the butterfly weed! Our butterfly weed has flowered and gone to you dead head yours to get a second bloom?

I love when the swallowtail caterpillars are chomping and I can smell the fennel as I walk by!


Balisha said...

I've had the caterpillers on my parsley.
A few days ago a whole flock of waxwings were in my Mulberrys. Love those birds...they are kind of elusive.Look like bandits raiding the trees.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Your blooms and your pictures look wonderful. We have some catepillars as well, but the cats keep bringing them in for show and tell. We carefully rescue them and take them back outside, hoping they aren't too traumatized by their experience.

Weeding would be easier to embrace if it weren't so humid out!

jodi said...

So nice to see the butterflies-in-the-making, and all your happy blooms. I wonder if the 'wild cranesbill' is in fact Sidalcea, false mallow? It looks remarkably like mine.

Meems said...

Robin, you have to be a happy gardener with cool weather (who ever heard of such a thing in July/August?),your weeds pulled, beautiful blooms, colorful caterpillars on great smelling herbs, blue skies, rain, and a waxwing sitting pretty. So lovely! Very nice post. Hope you and your family have a great Sunday!
Meems @Hoe&Shovel

Anna said...

I've got lots of butterflies and isn't it grand! I think there must have been a new batch today because they all looked so fresh.

I had to move my lacecap hydrangea and it's doing much better. They are the most picky about location. And I moved a butterfly bush too that has already rewarded me by doubling in size. So it pays to find a good location. Loved your pics today and the caterpillars.