Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"D**n the Torpedo Grass!"

Since the first couple of successful flowers on the Confederate rose, we've enjoyed many more.  It's strange... Apparently something changed that allowed these later buds to fully mature and bloom.  Here's one with more of the pale pink.  The pink will continue to deepen over time.

Confederate Rose

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There are tons of bees out there today, enjoying the return of the sunshine.  A number of butterflies, too.  There's the occasional sulfur, but mostly it's Gulf fritillaries.  They're still flocking to the passion vine, but they're happy to stop and sip from flowers, too.

Gulf Fritillary

There are actually two Gulf fritillary caterpillars in the photo below, though I only saw one of them when I took the picture.  The passion vine is looking a little rough.  Those caterpillars do some serious chomping.  There has not been a single flower on this purple passion vine, this year, but it seems to have recovered pretty well from an inauspicious start.  I can only hope that it comes back where I planted it, next spring.  If it does, I think there's a better chance of flowers in the summer.

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

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I've been working on expanding the flower bed along the back of the house.

I'm digging up the existing monkey grass border and thinning it to make it stretch further.  This involves trying to remove as much as possible of the torpedo grass that has invaded some of the monkey grass.  (Not a fun job.  Tedious and tiring.  It would be better if I felt confident that the torpedo grass wouldn't be right back in the monkey grass, a year from now.)

As part of the expansion process, I'm digging out the grass and weeds in the area that will now be part of the flower bed.  It's actually precious little grass.  Almost all of it is weeds.

There's also a lot of torpedo grass just outside the new boundary of the flower garden, unfortunately.  One day, before frost, I need to go out and spray some weed-killer along the edge of the monkey grass.  There's nothing "real" to protect, and I think that's the only realistic way to combat widespread torpedo grass, unfortunately.  I'm simply not willing (or able) to dig it all out by hand.  Maybe if I get enough of it before frost, I'll have a jump start on dealing with it, next spring.

(It's also taking over parts of the "lawn" on the pad, but that's a whole other nightmare-- a nightmare that leaves me tossing and turning, murmuring things like "solarization"... "weed and seed"...  "RoundUp! RoundUp everywhere!!"... Right now, I'm focusing on eradicating torpedo grass from my precious flower beds.)

In the photo below, you can see just a bit of the as-yet untouched monkey grass (right in front of the butterfly ginger), to give you an idea of how much I've expanded the bed.

Expanding a Flower Bed

It's not a very wide expansion, but it stretches all the way across the back porch, so it'll still add a fair bit of planting real estate.  Drought-tolerant sun-lovers will be ideal for this area.  Blanket flowers, the toughest daylilies, coneflowers... coreopsis... cosmos and zinnias?  Marigolds, at a pinch... I'm sure there won't be any problem finding suitable plants.

At one point, you may remember, I was considering putting in a new, oval-shaped flower bed somewhere on the pad, somewhere along the left-hand side of that photo.  That's still a possibility, but I don't know if I'll do it this year or not.  I already have a full to-do list for the garden, what with flower bed expansions on the front and back, gravel still to lay, plants to plant/transplant, and trellises to build-- not to mention repairing and repainting the covered patio and possibly putting in a new fence.  (I'm probably forgetting something, but that's enough!)

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I may not bother with "garden survey" photos for November... Time's getting away from me, and things probably won't change much until everything goes brown and dormant for that "dead of winter" look.  But we'll see... It's probably worth the effort...