Sunday, September 3, 2017

Late Summer Garden


Today, in my garden, the cardinals are chirping, the squirrels are running from tree to tree, butterflies are flitting about and the hummingbirds are fighting each other.  The sights, sounds, and smells in the garden are like a symphony with each instrument having a turn. Let's view a few sights in my late summer garden.
I enjoy this little bird feeder because I can easily photograph the birds in it. I saw five cardinals gathered around it recently, three of them I believe were juveniles, but unfortunately they didn't stay still long enough to get a picture.
Chickadees are so cute!

I was hoping the squirrels would leave my new feeder alone! They come down the tree and jump onto the feeder. I am afraid they are going to damage it. They are quite greedy and drain the feeder quickly.

My attitude about the squirrels has not been good. I did some research about deterring them from feeders. One article said to sprinkle ground cayenne red pepper in the feeder and it would not hurt the birds and squirrels did not like the smell. I tried it and it worked. However, you have to reapply after every rain. I also read that they do not like safflower seeds. I have been buying black oil sunflower seeds. When my supply runs out I am going to try the safflower seeds. Apparently, birds do like safflower seeds but squirrels won't eat them. Sounds worth trying to me.  You would think the squirrels would be satisfied with the abundance of hickory nuts and pine cones in my yard. 
Herbs are both pretty and fragrant in the garden as well as useful for cooking. Spreading rosemary shown in this pic is about to bloom soon. My husband uses  rosemary for his grilled lamb.
Other herbs are in pots to cut for cooking. It has been a good year for basil I think because it rained so much.
 I have parsley growing in an urn that the butterfly caterpillars have devoured three times this season and more have just hatched. More on that later. Thyme is a herb that adds a great subtle flavor in many dishes. Since mint is invasive I keep some in a pot, but if it dries out, it turns brown easily, at least it does for me. 

This urn of white begonias has some purple basil. I love to smell basil, don't you? Dill is another favorite herb but I can only grow it in cold weather. My husband uses lots of dill on salmon so we keep dried dill on hand and sometimes I buy fresh in the summer months.
White begonias and white impatiens line a garden path.

Here is my urn of parsley that has provided food for three generations of butterflies. It is worn out. The last batch literally ate the green off the stalks. I've fertilized it and its growing but not fast enough because there are more caterpillars on it. I will have to buy another plant and add to the urn to sustain the hungry caterpillars.They have voracious appetites.

Look closely to see many little instars (larval stage of growth). To view stages of metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly go here and here.
I strolled around my summer garden today touching the herbs and enjoying their scents. Then I decided to cut some and make a bouquet garni for the kitchen. Smells evoke memories of certain foods and experiences. So why not create a bouquet garni to decorate your kitchen, add fragrance to the room and infuse a dish with flavor. 

My garden tends to be dark because of so many trees so adding pops of white brings light. Caladiums  add that white color and do well in the shade so I have white caladiums in pots in three spots. However, before the winter sets in I am going to try planting them directly in the soil. Our climate in lower Alabama is quite mild so I am going to try to overwinter the plants. That will save me time and expense next spring. It's worth a try. In harsher climates, digging up the corms and hanging them upside down in a dry place saves the plant. Rather than doing that, I am going to try experimenting this year just planting them directly into the soil instead of pots. 
I believe the variety pictured above is called, Merry Christmas.

This variety of caladium(don't know it's name) in an urn is the focal point of  my cutting garden. Imagine colorful zinnias  surrounding the urn. That was my plan. The rabbits had other plans.

White caladiums accent a pair of chairs in the side garden.  

Milkweed continues to flourish. I'd cut it back so it would thicken and not be so lanky but I would hate to cut off the blooms and deny the butterflies the nectar. They love the nectar from the milkweed. I planted the seeds from their seed pods and they are doing quiet well. No wonder the plant is considered invasive. If only, monarchs would come and feed on my milkweed.
Seed pods from milkweed have sprouted.

My late summer garden has a few blooming ginger lilies and pine cone lilies.
Pine cone lilies
Ginger lilies

New to my garden this week was a giant swallowtail. It was exciting to see a new butterfly species visit my pentas. It was fun to get the butterfly book out and identify this species that was new to me. 

In the late evening a gorgeous after glow from the sunset enveloped the garden.

 I have enjoyed sharing a few of the sights, sounds and smells from my late summer garden with you today.

                                           A Gardener's Prayer by Edith Craddock

Father of all Gardeners, we thank Thee that in the long ago Thou didst begin the world in a garden.

We thank Thee for the morning and the singing of the birds.

We thank Thee for the quiet and peace of eventide and the blessings of sleep which comes with the night.

As we rise in the morning to work in our gardens, grant that the toil of our bodies may bring tranquillity to our minds; That the growth of our plantings be exemplified in the growth of our souls.

That the fruit of our lives, as the fruit of our trees, be the perfect attainment, the crowning glory of a life dedicated to Thee.

Encourage us to lend  helping  hand to the needy, to speak words of sympathy to hearts that mourn, to bear the burdens of the weak, to make the waste places of human need to blossom as the rose.

Exterminate the weeds of doubt, sensitize the roots which nourish our inner being that these roots may drink from the still waters by which Thou dost lead us.

For the gift of Thy Son who suffered in a garden, we thank Thee, and in His name we make this prayer. Amen

My heart hurts for those who have lost their homes and loved ones in the devastating floods in Texas. Continued prayers are with them. We have elderly relatives in Houston who had to leave their home. Thankfully, wonderful neighbors took them in. We are so grateful to them for caring for them.  They had minimal damage and we are also grateful for that. They did not lose power and we were able to talk to them all along which helped tremendously. It was a helpless feeling that we could not get to them. 

Happy Gardening 😃🐛

 Have a wonderful week.


  1. Bonnie, your garden amazes me! I want to get some of the lily varieties that you have. Of course, we are pretty much a blank slate right now so I want it all. :)

    Your swallowtail is amazing!!

  2. I love your beautiful gardens. I had never seen a pine cone lily before. Isn't it amazing all the different varieties of flowers and plants our Creature gave us to enjoy. We are truly blessed.

    1. Thank you, Jill for your visit. I wanted to comment on your blog but didn't find it. I am trying to learn more about google plus.

  3. Bonnie, can you really plant enough parsley to satisfy all the caterpillars? I hope you find success with having enough left for your cooking needs. My fave is flat leaf parsley, but I don't have any this year. It turned out to be a milder summer here. If I'd known that in the spring, I would have planted more herbs! I love seeing all your herbs. Your basil is beautiful, and I miss having some this year. It bolts very quickly and is hard to keep it from turning bitter. You have several things I've never seen before. I enjoyed your post very much! Love the gardener's prayer, too. Glad to hear your family and their home are safe. Happy Labor Day! :-)

  4. Bonnie, your birds, your herbs, your lilies..all just beautiful. I have never seen these lilies. The prayer made my day. Praying for your loved ones in Houston. Dianne

  5. I love all your later garden bits and pieces and seeing your giant swallowtail! I plant flat leaf parsley for cooking and have had caterpillars on my parsley despite seeing the swallowtails around. Maybe they prefer the curly leaf variety? I'll have to plant some next spring to see. Don't get me started on those dastardly squirrels! They've eaten our boat wiring, our house, chewed our wood chairs, birdhouses, dug up my window boxes and eat their weight in seed. They don't eat the safflower but the birds don't seem to like it as well either. My milkweed grows like yours does, even in full sun, I think it's just its nature. I'm hoping some monarchs lay eggs on it, but so far, none have. Love your gardener's prayer and glad your relatives have neighbors to rely on for shelter!

  6. Love your beautiful garden!Love the white impatiens and the caladiums!The butterfly is just wonderful.Hugs.

  7. Now, that's a bird feeder I would love! It's clear that you spend loads of time in your garden -- it's so beautiful, both in upkeep and design. What a sanctuary for you!

  8. First of all, what a beautiful prayer. I'm sorry your relatives had to be displaced, even just a short time. That's so distressing for anyone, but particularly for the elderly. My family was all unscathed, even the ones in Katy TX. So thankful.
    I love your discussion today. I have been using the red pepper this summer on my mandevilla vines (1st time ever being bothered in 14 yrs!). I don't like fighting the critters, and will try to adjust what I plant there next yr. As for safflower seeds - think twice! When I used those, they seemed to mold quickly with the slightest moisture, and they attracted PIGEONS! Yuck. I'd search for a different feeder. I so love watching the birds congregate - yes, the chickadees are adorable, love cardinals, and I love goldfinches too (except I can't catch them for photos - too far away from my lens and they're skittish!). What a HUGE swallowtail! I think I need a reference book on butterflies. :) Love all your herbs, but I lost patience with growing them in containers. Wish I could grow caladiums, but no shade here! Oh, the fertilizer I use on my hostas? None! Other than mulching in late fall, that's it!

  9. Your garden is looking great for this time of year....we've been blessed with plenty of rain and cooler temperatures this summer! I love the white caladiums, especially at night. We try to plant white flowers so we can enjoy them in the evenings.

    I hope you've had a great Labor Day Weekend, Bonnie!


  10. Bonnie, the prayer is beautiful and I really needed it tonight. Wow the swallowtail is amazing and I shared it on Instagram! I love growing herbs...I always pot mint so it won't take over the yard! I wish I had shade for caladiums, yours are so pretty. You are a knowledgeable gardener and so well informed, I love learning from your expertise. Thank you for joining Gardens Galore and for supporting each party!

  11. Bonnie, your garden looks so pretty! I love your combination of statuary and white flowers/plants. I think that's a very classic look. You took some great photos of the birds and the beautiful swallowtail butterfly. I had an herb garden at our home in Greensboro many years ago, and it did quite well. I tried one here a couple of times, but I think I had it in a bad spot; it didn't get enough good sunlight or something. We have a lot of shade in our yard, too.

    Thank you for sharing the pictures and the gardener's prayer, Bonnie. I'm glad to know your relatives in Houston are safe! Have a good week.



  12. Bonnie,love your garden. It is so pretty. Girl, I have tons of squirrels and always have. Those things can jump the furthest I've ever seen. I bought a bird feeder from Ace about 3 years ago that guaranteed that the squirrels could not get the bird feed out of. The first summer it went well. By the 2nd summer those dang critters got smart! They would jump from the tree onto the bird feeder to make it shake so the feed would fall to the ground!!! Yes, I have some smart squirrels at my house and some mighty big ones at that. My basil did not do well at all this year and matter of fact last year either. Not sure what I done wrong. I've got some hearty looking rosemary. Keep Florida in your prayers with Irma. Praying that gal goes straight to the sea. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  13. I'm not a fan of squirrels either. They are so destructive. Your photos are beautiful!

    1. I would love to reply to you and comment on your blog but your status is no reply blogger. That can be changed in settings.
      Thanks for visiting. Bonnie

  14. Bonnie: Your garden in gorgeous and the photo of the sunset is truly a photo of God's brush strokes. Love your beautiful prayer and such good news that your relatives were with someone they knew and all were safe.

  15. I so love hearing about your garden. I had to smile about your squirrel battle. We used to be overrun but a hawk has moved into the oak trees here at Storybook Cottage. Guess he knew a good thing. I have two pots of herbs and never have success with dill or basil. I will try the dill again in the winter.

  16. I hope all is well with your relatives, Bonnie. Now we have to worry about Irma!
    I don't even put bird feeders out any more, Bonnie, because of the squirrels. I used to buy safflower seeds, but it was so costly. The bunnies are destructive, too. Your yard looks beautiful as ever. Using white is a good tip for a shady yard.
    Happy weekend, Bonnie!

  17. I'm happy to hear that your family is safe. I have relatives in Houston and Beaumont that had to leave their homes as well. These pictures of your garden are so pretty and thank you for the tips on deterring the squirrels. The squirrels in our yard also jump onto the bird feeder and they knock it down. I've given up on using real pumpkins for porch decor, nothing I tried worked. Now I'm using faux ones. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story and we hope you will join us again next week.

  18. I'm a new guest to your site. Love all of your photos!
    Your Garden sounds lovely!

  19. Good view of your late summer garden. While some plants are not suited to this time of year, there are quite a few that thrive when you plant them later on in the summer.

  20. I love your cool garden idea. just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.

  21. What a beautiful garden...! I like your garden decoration tips and ideas. Your garden looks like a natural jungle. Especially I like your animal sanctuary. I am very happy to find your blog and see a great creation. Thanks for sharing your post.

  22. I'm just a little jealous of your shade right now! It's too hot here to even enjoy being outside past 7:30 in the morning.

    Bonnie, the way I understand it is that milkweed is the host plant for monarchs - they lay their eggs on it. If you trim the plants, you might be trimming away the eggs! :)

  23. Bonnie, your gardens look so peaceful! I was even relaxed with just a virtual stroll. I can imagine the sensory experience too with all your herbs. Happy gardening!

  24. Your garden is a reminder that flowers are not just important for people, they help bees, butterflies, spiders and a host of other small critters. - Margy

  25. Besides the fact that this blog is brilliant and the tips are awesome, I have to say that this text is so positive, helpful, full of joy. I just love reading blogs like this one. And thank you very much for sharing these tips with us. I love to have a nice garden. Who doesn’t?


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