Butterflies, Bees, and Moths: Pollinator Week Back in Full Effect

After weeks of dreary, rainy days, the sun finally came out today and so did the pollinators. I walked through the garden after lunch and caught sight of tiny wasps, bees, moths, butterflies, and flower flies. The garden I planted out by the road last summer has really taken off and although it was intended as a butterfly garden, it has attracted way more than that.

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As an after vet check-up treat, I took my girl Ruby Joon to Native Nurseries today and got to see even more pollinators while she drank from all the water features. Captured this beauty (monarch?) proving that the nursery’s signage is accurate. The Brickellia in my garden isn’t blooming quite yet, but I hope it attracts big ones like this guy…

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Back home, I found that I have swallowtail butterflies on the way. Caterpillars are currently destroying the bronze fennel, which I plant just for them. I noticed the first few pillars yesterday and one of the plants is already looking a bit thin today. This beast probably has something to do with the fennel demolition.

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This whole “Pollinator Week” thing has really gotten me out taking a closer look at the garden. Instead of seeing it as a whole, I’ve focused on individual blooms, looked under leaves, and even checked the zinnias hanging down into the ditch. Not only have I learned of pollinators I never knew were out there doing their thing, but my drive to garden regardless of the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes is back up—I’m energized again. Bring on the dog days of summer. I have a lot of work to do to be ready for fall and I’m ready.

 

 

Tomato-mania

My yearly tomato craze has begun.

tomatoes and succulents

Yesterday, my favorite local nursery, Native Nurseries, posted on their Facebook page that their first round of tomatoes were in. So, of course, I had to go as soon as possible.

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Blue Berries and Solar Flair seedlings

I have already started two new varieties (Blue Berries and Solar Flair) from seed and they are coming along nicely.  After discussing all the details of the new types with Lilly, I chose to bring home one each of Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, Sweet Solano, and Haley’s Purple Comet. All of these along are from Wild Boar Farms collection.

I also had to get one of the most productive and delicious tomatoes, the Juan Flamme. A French heirloom, this one delivers loads of bright orange, apricot-sized, crack resistant fruits that have the perfect fruity/tangy flavor for salads or just fresh sliced with a little salt and pepper. This will be the fourth year I’ve grown this variety and I highly recommend it!

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I can’t wait to see how these new ones perform both in the garden and in my kitchen. As I was leaving with my tomato selections and a few succulents I couldn’t pass up, Lilly informed me that they will have even more new varieties next week. Guess who will be going back…TOMATO-MANIA!

Click on the names below to see a picture of these beautiful fruits. My garden is going to be so gorgeous this year! Descriptions from Wild Boar Farms and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Pink Berkeley Tie Dye — Beautiful, early, and very sweet rich flavor. 10 out of 10 people liked it better then Cherokee Purple in a farmers market taste off. Port wine colored beefsteak with metallic green stripes. Excellent sweet, rich dark tomato flavor.  Fabulous.

Sweet Solano — Very attractive yellow with green stripes turning deep orange color with gold stripes. Stays firm, very sweet with a hint of tropical fruit.

Haley’s Purple Comet — Wonderful large cherry tomato. Sweet, productive with rich “dark tomato” flavor. Originally from Cherokee Purple.

Blue Berries — Very dark purple color, which means it’s super-rich in anthocyanins. Unripe, the fruits are a glowing amethyst purple. At maturity they turn deep red where the fruit was shaded; the areas that received intense sunshine are a purple so deep it’s almost black! The flavor is intensely fruity, and sugar-sweet.

Solar Flair —  This 6-10 ounce beefsteak is red with gold stripes and has very meaty flesh with luscious sweet red tomato flavor. Bradley Gates describes it as one of his “work horses.”

Juan Flame