Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My New Hobby!

Now that I have a yard in which to plant things, I have decided that I want to try my hand at gardening. The previous owners left a very neat and tidy yard, with a nice privacy hedge about 7 feet tall on one side of the yard. The other sides are hedged on the neighbor's side of the fence, but there's still some privacy there.

In this hedge can be found a variety of butterfly and dragonfly species. Blogger Holly from Tropic of Mom, who also happens to be my very best friend in the whole world came over yesterday and gave me some ideas. She has a lovely wildflower garden in her backyard, and as far as I am concerned is the foremost expert in native Florida plants.

She suggested I plant a butterfly garden! She told me that to have a successful butterfly garden you need to have a variety of plants: the larvae/host plant for the caterpillar to eat and in which to build a cocoon, and the nectar plant for the adult butterfly. Fortunately for me, the nectar plants are gorgeous flowering varieties that grow very nearly year-round in our tropical climate. Woot! (Is that the correct usage of the exclamation "Woot!" I've seen it used around the blogosphere, but I can't say I know the exact definition.)

To begin my butterfly garden, I have planted two blue porterweed shrubs. Right now they are very low to the ground, but they should get taller and they will bloom with purple flowers that butterflies like to sip on.

It doesn't look like much yet, but I've seen these fully-grown and they are very nice! In case you're wondering why I put rocks all the way around it, it was because our landlord pays for a lawn service (thanks, landlord!) and I didn't want them to mow down my brand-new plants. I didn't dig a bed for these because there were already a couple of "dips" in the ground that we had filled with rocks to prevent ankle-twisting, so I just got a shovel and deepened the existing holes a bit. Once they get a little height, I'll take the rocks away, and maybe lay down some mulch.

Just to the left of this shrub, which is not shown in the photo, is the perfect location for me to dig a flower bed for a full butterfly garden. I have a great view of this area from my patio and from the window of my breakfast nook. It's a rather large area and will be a big project to prepare the soil, so I'll probably wait awhile. I also need to check to make sure it's OK to dig so close to the pool and find out if there are sprinkler lines down there.

Anyhoo. Holly loaned me a big stack of gardening books and I have been devouring them. I've learned which plants attract which butterflies and have figured out from there which of those plants would flourish in my yard. I'm so excited! Hoping to make a trip to a local nursery to see these plants in person, get an idea of price, etc. I'm thinking of growing the butterfly plants from seed in order to save a little money; we'll have to see!


Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Your very best friend?! Wow.

Hope you have fun with it and enjoy the colorful flowers and butterflies!

Amber said...

Need some tips on pumpkin growing? :-)

And I SERIOUSLY WANT that pumpkin spice breakfast casserole recipe!

Maternal Mirth said...

I so wish I was more, um, gardener-y (it's a word). I have a black thumb. No, really. My thumb is actually black and there is nothing I can do to wash it off...

:) M&M

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh dear- I have such the black thumb... no thumbs at all, really! I wish you the best!

And I've tagged you today!


chelle said...

I can hardly wait to have a garden when we buy a house!!!

Mamacita Tina said...

Oh, how fun! I love gardening too, when there's time -ha. Just think of all the exercising you'll get it. Enjoy.