Thursday, April 21, 2011

Speaking of butterflies....

Our caterpillars arrived on 4/19!

They were small and not too gross.

And here they are on 4/21 - much bigger! Maybe double their original size already!

And their little container is full of gross-ness :(

But its a learning process for the kids - they check on them every day and are learning little tidbits about how caterpillars live. The brown in the bottom of the container is their food. They spin silk to help them get around, so that's what the "white" substance is you can see in the last picture. We aren't allowed to open the lid so that everything stays un-contaminated. They should eventually crawl to the top and form their chrysallis' and then we will be able to move them to their new home :) Once they emerge, we'll watch them for a day or so, then release them into the garden and hope they stick around and like our butterfly plants!

I'll post more pics in a day or 2!

The Front Flowerbed

Just thought I'd post a few pictures of our front flowerbeds. As of now, not many blooms, but I'm hoping for that to change in a few weeks, as most of the blooming shrubs are cyclical. We have encore azaleas, knock-out roses, verbena, pintas, a new little sago palm, small sprouts (from seeds) of what will be heavenly blue morning glories (that's what they are called, I'm not just saying they will be a heavenly blue color, LOL!), and a pretty little Jane Magnolia tree (only blooms in the Spring before the leaves sprout).

The big picture from the front of the house. The grass is a little thin near the driveway, but I'm working on that!

3 groupings of Pintas, morning glories (from seeds) and my little sago palm. You can also see what is left of the blooms from the hydrangeas I planted in the small beds on either side of the garage. They were so pretty! Now the blooms are dying, but the green plant is still thriving so hopefully they will re-bloom :)

Oh, and see that white flagstone walkway on the left side? I did that! I had to dig out a large portion of the flowerbed, place the stones and then fill in the gaps with crushed granite, but I am very happy with the result. Now people can park their cars in my driveway and not get out and step directly into the flowerbed! Oh, and the stones around the entire bed - yep, I did that too :) Its so much prettier with the stone border!

Encore azaleas on the back row, and knock-out roses in front - see the lone bloom?? Give these a year or 2 and we'll have a nice, thick hedge across the patio. I can't wait to see these in full-bloom in a few years!

My bargain Jane Magnolia tree (got it for $25 when everywhere else had the same sized tree for $145+), verbena, and behind the tree are a few of the encore azaleas.

On the right, Alex's aloe vera plant; middle, 2 of Morgann's Dahlia seeds have sprouted; left, Ian's Delphinium are slow growers, apparently. He has one single teeny-tiny sprout!

Can you see it? Its in the lower section of the pot.

Pretty pintas!

The pintas are in bloom, and a favorite of butterflies :) We find them out there all the time. Love it!!!

Monday, April 04, 2011


At this time, it looks as though we have:

8-10 tiny little cucumbers
3 or 4 blossoms on the sweet pea vine
3 growing tomatoes
1 huge head of cauliflower
3-4 tiny little sprouts of broccoli (Ian will be so relieved since we had to cut off what had originally grown when it sprouted flowers - my bad!)
1 little blossom on the jalapeno plant
1 crazy-growing pumpkin vine with allot of yellow blooms

And the rest of the plants are growing and looking good :)

I'm so excited!!!

For the kids

What better time than spring to learn about butterflies??? And since we have planted butterfly-friendly plants in both the front & back beds, this should prove to be a fun "experiment" for the entire family! The kids are going to be sooooooo excited :)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New-found Interests

Who knew that our family was into gardens & flowers?!? Certainly not me!! Seriously had no idea that if I would just get out there and dig out the ugly, I would find such pleasure in planting the beautiful. It is something that I find myself doing at various times throughout the day & week. I have noticed that as I drift off to sleep, I'm thinking about what I need to do in the front flower bed, where I should put what, how I should have done this or that differently, etc., etc., etc. And I've also noticed that I find reason to go way out of my way to "happen by" my favorite nursery. Its an on-going fixation. And its one that I swore I didn't have! "No, I am not going to work in my flower bed, even though it is overrun with grass and tacky. I'll just pay someone else to clean it out". If only I had known then what I know now...

And did you know that not only have I found something that I enjoy, but my kiddos are starting to find a passion for "pretty" too! For instance, Alex had been begging me for weeks to go to Lowe's, which just happens to be right across the street from our subdivision entrance. Every time we drove past, he would plead with me to stop in. I've put off doing so because I had no need to stop in there - I really don't enjoy spending my "extra" time wandering the aisles of any home improvement store, but I really dislike Lowe's because of their customer service, or lack thereof. But I had need to drop in there last week for something, so I took Alex with me to look at whatever it was that was so important. So, while I browsed around the lawn & garden area looking at this & that, he disappeared for about 5 minutes. When he returned, he said that I had to follow him into the store so that he could "show me something". He took me inside the sliding doors and led me directly to the indoor plants. I'm guessing that there must have been a spotlight on the specific area he took me too, and there must have been angels singing "Handel's Messiah" because the begging and pleading and bartering that commenced was just over-the-top hilarious! He had his eye on a Venus FlyTrap (I guess pretty is in the eye of the beholder, huh?). I had to give in when he agreed to go 50/50 on the cost - his money is being saved to buy a new iPod Touch, and he refuses to spend a dime of it on anything else. He brought his precious purchase home and then begged to get it planted. But I made him wait for 2 whole days before allowing him to do so - he had school work to be finished first! But he has taken such pride in his dirty little terrarium, keeping it in the window that gets the most sun in the evenings, checking it for moisture, etc.

And then tonight as we were again roaming around Lowe's, Alex asked if we could purchase a new aloe vera plant, as ours bit the dust during the last freeze of the winter. Daddy quickly said "OK", which then led to the begging & pleading of the other 2 kiddos. They too wanted the opportunity to plant something. So, we took them over to the seed section and allowed them each to pick 1 perenial flower that they could grown in a pot inside of the house. You would have thought that we'd won the lottery! Everyone left the store happy, and we all left with something that will grow into something beautiful.

Well, we hope so anyway....stay tuned :)