Phlowers – Gaura

The lovely pink blossoms of Gaura resemble butterflies. The flowers, growing from the base of the plant on tall stalks, easily move with the breezes giving a perfect impersonation of butterflies flitting about in the garden.

I’ve been pleased with both varieties of Gaura I’m growing in my garden. One is taller, with sparser light pink blooms, the other shorter, covered with hot pink blossoms. They are side by side and the long stems blend together creating a beautiful display all summer long.

I don’t use them as a cut flower because I’ve found the petals fall off easily. I do carefully snip the florets at their base and place them inside books to press. They dry beautifully and the flowers retain their vivid color for quite awhile.

One of my plants is two years old. The other planted this past Spring, quickly grew to a large size. I hope to plant more of these beauties, but first I will check beneath them in the Spring to see if they self-seeded. I grow them in full, hot sun, in soil that quickly drains. They will develop root rot if planted in poorly draining soil.

You can find more information on how to grow Gaura on Gardening Know How.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlutters -Backyard Butterflies Part I

After a slow start, the backyard has been full of butterflies. One of the flashiest is the Monarch. The zinnias draw the Monarchs in to fill up on the nectar. They land on the flat surface of the disk and drink from the individual ray florets surrounding the center. While they are occupied they will often allow close-up viewing for photographs and video.

Another flower they love is Asclepias curassavica commonly known as ‘Silky Gold’ Milkweed. This flower and its leaves are a host plant for the monarch caterpillar.

This milkweed floret is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge. 

The caterpillars are poisonous to birds and other wildlife after eating the milkweed. The milkweed contains toxic cardenolides which keep some predators, but not all, away.

A week or two ago when I cut back a rose bush I uncovered a monarch chyrsalis on my siding.

Soon I found the newly hatched caterpillar clinging to the wall.

He dropped down to a mint plant and finished drying his wings. After a few hours he took his first flight to the upper branches of a pine tree.

A day or two later I spotted another chrysalis on the underside of a concrete lion statue I have on my patio. I’ll keep a close watch and see if I can witness the miracle as one emerges from the chrysalis.

Plants – FOTD and Mother’s Day Basket

I found this Senecio rowleyanus/String of Pearls succulent, also known as String of Beads and the Rosary Plant, at a local garden shop this year. Nestled among trays of annuals, this odd looking plant immediately drew my eye. String of Pearl plants are easy to grow, as are most succulents. A hands-off approach is usually best for succulents, with infrequent watering and good drainage a must. More information on growing String of Pearls can be found on Gardening 101.

The succulent is a perfect fit for this bright parrot planter. The planter has held several plants, but none so well suited to it as the String of Pearls and its cascade of bright green beads. I also love the flower the plant produces, a small white orb with brilliant stamens. The String of Pearls blossom is my Flower of the Day.

I also wanted to say a grateful thank you to my son for the lovely New Guinea hanging basket he gave me for Mother’s Day.