Recent Entries to this Blog Annuals to Grow Again
Posted: 07 Aug 2007
Meet Copper, the Beagle Pup
Posted: 07 Aug 2007
Bursting with Butterflies!
Posted: 16 Jul 2007
Hypertufa Garden Art--Mouth of Truth
Posted: 10 Jul 2007
Frit's Emergence, Monarch Pupas, and a Crazy Garden Man
Posted: 09 Jul 2007

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hummingbird3172's Blog

My Crazy Creative Chaotic Garden, a work in progress!

Annuals to Grow Again

Category: Plants | Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:01 pm

Like many other gardeners I try to limit the number of annuals that I put in my garden. It is nice to not have to worry about starting seeds and caring for tiny seedlings....BUT this year I discovered some new-to-me types that will be a MUST for next year!

Decor Zinnias- I can not praise them enough! The plants are HUGE sprawling shrubs almost with stems thicker than my thumb! The flowers are coral or chartreuse and perfect for cutting. On the coral flowered plants some flowers are as big as my hand. One of the coral colored ones has a flower that is almost a rich pretty. The chartruese are a little less vigorous but the flowers are so full and so pretty, they completely outshine the green envy type I've also planted.

Grandpa Ott's Morning Glories- Another WOW! One tiny plant has grown to envelop this entire stump (see above picture, behind zinnias). The vines have wrapped around themselves to form a 2 inch thick rope. Every day it is covered profusely with velvety electric purple blossoms. BTW, I fertilized mine and it hasn't hurt the blooming one bit!

This is supposed to be a perennial where I live, but for most it is an annual....Moonflowers! Mine are finally starting to bloom...the buds look like soft serve ice cream cones and in the evening open into giant trumpets with a beautiful fragrance. My husband and I decided they smell like fresh clean laundry...kind of a clean cotton scent. The vine is pretty on it's own...heart shaped green leaves and stems of purple.

I will also always grow Cosmos. I knew I loved them...the tall stately plants with feathery leaves and stems...but I tried a new one...Candy stripe..and I love them! They come in striped pink, or pink edged white...both pretty, but I think I like the white the best.

No matter what, I know I will be growing these annuals again. I am separating the Decor zinnias by color so I can try to grow the green ones instead of the Envy variety.

If you can find these types I would highly recommend them. It is very hot and humid here and they have all performed like champs!

This blog entry has been viewed 1468 times

Meet Copper, the Beagle Pup

Category: Odds n' Ends | Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 6:42 pm

I've just been so busy lately! One of the reasons is that we have just gotten a new Beagle pup! The kids have named him "Copper" after the hound from Disney's "The Fox and the Hound". He is settling in well...pretty good on the housebreaking part. I've never had a Beagle before. My dh had one growing up. I had a hound mix growing up, so I have some experience with hounds.

This pup is pretty smart, but can be quite vocal (which I am learning is true in Beagles). He does really want to please so this helps with the training. He is so loving and playful! I've gotten him to play fetch, and he is learning to sit. He already knows the word "No" which helps when he starts to try and pull up my ferns!

This blog entry has been viewed 2018 times

Bursting with Butterflies!

Category: Garden Wildlife | Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:14 pm

Over the weekend I had my queen and a monarch emerge!

This is a queen on my Empire Blue butterfly bush....

I always seem to catch them immediately after they emerge..they must be doing it at the crack of dawn!

Here is what the queen looked like...BEFORE:

If you notice, you can actually see the butterfly inside the chrysalis. The chrysalis turns from apple green to black...when you look closely you can see the markings on the butterfly inside. The chrysalis looks milky here because of the camera flash. This is the actual color but it appears black in normal lighting.

Today I had THREE monarchs emerge. I always gently remove them from the "cage" and place them on a nectar plant outside so they can get some refreshment after their wings dry. Here is a picture of two of the three:

This morning I had three more monarchs pupate and I have 5 more getting ready to, they are starting to hang upside down. I've got so many monarch cats outside that I have started bringing them in only when they get close (they are huge and spend less time eating).

I've also got three gulf frit cats growing, they don't seem to grow quite as fast as the monarchs, but one is about a week away I think.

So as you can see, these little guys are keeping me busy.

This blog entry has been viewed 994 times

Hypertufa Garden Art--Mouth of Truth

Category: Garden Projects | Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:17 pm

First I was inspired by Bethie to make hypertufa heads, with which I have really enjoyed experimenting. Then I saw the movie Pan's Labyrinth and I got inspired from the spooky statues.

One made me think of the large face from the movie "Roman Holiday", the Bocca Della Verita, Mouth of Truth. Do you remember it? Gregory Peck pretends it has bitten off his fingers?

The actual face is huge! It's over 5 ft in diameter!

I decided to make my own smaller one using one of my favorite new (to me) medium, hypertufa.

The hypertufa mixture I use is a little different, I ran out of peat so I decided to try and make it without. I use 1 part vermiculite to 1 part portland cement. I add enough water to make a clay like mixture.

First you need a mold and I've found that the oil drip pans you can get at the auto stores work great (also nice for a birdbath).

I've sprayed mine with nonstick cooking a cake pan.

Next you place your hypertufa mixture...patting each layer solidly down. Until you get the thickness you want. I'd say at least 2 inches thick.

Push in two eye screws into the setting hypertufa

so you can create a wire hanger later. You can do whatever you want here...even make a wire hanger stuck into the hypertufa.

Now you should let your hypertufa dry for at least 5 hours. It can dry more, but it might be a bit harder to carve, but will be less likely to break.

You turn out your hypertufa circle and this is what you will have:

You will need to have a sketch or print out of the actual Bocca Della Verita to help guide you.

Scratch out where you want his eyes, mouth and features. Use a knife and create eye holes and a squareish mouth hole.

Mix up a small amount of hypertufa and start to add a forehead, cheeks, nose, and build the hair and beard up a bit.

Allow to dry for a few hours and then go back and fine tune the features.

As he dries he will get lighter and lighter because the vermiculite weighs next to nothing.

Run a piece of wire between the eye screws to make a hanger.

Hang on a fence or wall! This one really freaks out the kids!

You could really create any kind of face this way. It was so easy that I really wanted to share. I can't wait to hang him on my back fence!

Last edited: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:39 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 11266 times

Frit's Emergence, Monarch Pupas, and a Crazy Garden Man

Category: Morning Hodgepodge | Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:40 pm

Well, this morning I came down to discover that my Gulf Fritillary Pupa, Frit, had finally emerged from his (her) chrysalis.

The wings were still a bit damp, so I carefully removed the butterfly and placed it on my Empire Blue butterfly bush.

About an hour later he flew away. I just love the vibrancy of a brand new butterfly. The wings are just so rich looking.

Last night was a busy night full of changes! The remaining 3 monarchs have pupated next to their sibling. I guess they thought it was a great spot. The 1st one to pupate is the more blueish green color. It should be a busy time when they all emerge!

I was so inspired by Bethie's hypertufa faces that I decided to try and make one. I kept trying to make a very handsome lady...with kind of a Greek or Roman look, but instead I got this crazy looking Garden Man. The freaky thing is that he looks slightly familiar...a bit like my grandfather, and a bit like dh's grandfather, both have passed away. My husband can't even look at it without cracking up. I've planted some variegated lirope in his head and then little pieces of this "weed" that keeps popping up, but I like it's blue flowers.

I am looking forward to making more!

I decided to buy a different plant for my new garden bed. I was planning on a night blooming jasmine Cestrum nocturnum but ended up getting a tibouchina. I love the fuzzy leaves and the large purple flowers. I am trying to incorporate more tropicals into my landscape since they are readily available and should thrive in this climate. I saw lots of these at Islands of Adventure (Universal Studios) and wondered what they were. Now I have my own. The leaves are nice, like tropical lambs ears.

Here is the tibouchina:

The trellis behind is where my Ruby Glow passionflower will go...I think the bright fuschia and deep purple will look nice near this tibouchina.

This blog entry has been viewed 1330 times

Queen Caterpillar is a Chrysalis!

Category: Garden Wildlife | Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:53 pm

I had a feeling the change would come soon and last night at bedtime the caterpillar was on the "bar" hanging upside down. This morning it was still "in position" and right before my eyes it began to swing and gyrate.

Forgive these pictures, but the silhouette is visible:

In the picture below you can see the shed caterpillar skin up near the top of the chrysalis which is a gorgeous apple green.

Last night one of the monarch caterpillars went after another and killed it. They are voracious and I think all four remaining are about ready for the big change.

I moved the fritillary chrysalis to a nice big jar so hopefully I can get some photos when our pretty butterfly emerges. I've christened it Frit and Frit should be emerging sometime tomorrow. I'll be watching closely!
Frittillary Chrysalis

I've got some flowers blooming too so Frit will have lots of nectar when it emerges.

White Swan Echinacea

Here are two pics of those Decor Zinnias...I really do love them, the coral and the charteuse:

And my peach passion sunflowers:

Last edited: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:12 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 702 times


Category: Plants | Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:02 am

I've got to get this passionflower addiction under control..... I found out that my passiflora is a Imperiatrice Eugenie....

I couldn't remember what type and then I finally found a picture. Then I found this site called and I was really in trouble. I just bought the p. triloba. It is supposed to be a HUGE vine up to 30 ft....and FRAGRANT.

Link to p. triloba:

I think my back garden is going to smell like a bordello, what with the nightblooming jasmine, moonflowers, mandevilla, star jasmine, and now extremely fragrant p. triloba.

I'm working on getting a ruby glow passionflower. The magenta petals with purple filaments look quite striking. I'm planning to put it on a trellis to hide the pool pump. In front of that I have a raised bed where I'm putting the night blooming jasmine. I need to think of something to plant in front of that.

A link to a picture of Ruby Glow:

All the flowers in the back garden are in shades of pink, blue, purple, white, and chartreuse. I am more of a "cottage" garden person, but I am starting to slip more and more tropicals in. Alot of the cottage type flowers just don't seem to like our humidity and heat. I try and fight it, but it kind of depresses me watching my lavender plants rotting before my eyes. Two are hanging in there, but I don't know if they have long to live.

I'm also trying to get some Aristolochia (dutchman's pipe) vines growing. I've got the seeds and now I'm playing the game of waiting for them to germinate. These are kind of weird flower...they remind me of a pitcher plant, but swallowtail butterflies use them as a host.

I've also got some bananna passionvine seeds germinating (I hope)...the flower is such a pretty pink...with a green center. This is my second try...I hope I can get them going.

Last edited: Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:37 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 1985 times

Birds,Blooms, Bugs, and a Toadgloo

Category: Garden Wildlife | Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:08 pm

The other day I had some interesting bird feeder guests arrive. They have been to dinner before and always like to come up and see what I am doing:

These are sandhill cranes. They are very curious and although they are quite big, they are very gentle. They are fascinated in my 2 year old daughter. Maybe because they are such great parents themselves. They came to greet us the day we moved in, and from time to time they stop by. They'll eat bird seed off the ground, peanuts, and they like a bit of bread. I try to give them a hearty whole wheat to give them a more nutritious snack. They don't gorge themselves on the bread, but seem to enjoy it as more of a treat, and to be social.

I've got some new blooms that are very pleasing to me!

This is a Peach Passion Sunflower. I will be growing these again! They are so sturdy and have branching flowers! Some to cut and some to leave on the plant!

This is a bloom from my Blue Fortune agastache. It doesn't look like much I guess, but it's the first from the plant. I read the flowers taste like rootbeer, and what do you know? They do!

This is my 6 year old's Zinnia. It's a Burpeana Giant that he planted from a seed.

This pretty rain lily opened this morning. I am glad I got to get a picture, because our hot Florida sun will fade it very quickly to a pale pink.

If you remember my "Weary Traveler" story then you might like to see one of her offspring!

I've brought this little guy inside to make sure he gets all the TLC. There are still a few others out there but I think something has eaten a few of them because there are less now.

Also, my gulf frittilary pupated on Saturday...I actually got to see it happen this time, I wish the pictures were better, but here's one with it happening:

I've been getting more and more butterfly visitors! This is a peacock butterfly and it might be a male because this is what I've read: The male of the species displays a unique territorial behaviour, in which they stake out a territory typically 15 metres in diameter that contains larval host plants. They perch in this area and aggressively protect it from other insects and other male white peacocks. He's spent the night on our covered front porch and has been right next to my butterfly area for about 20 hours! I haven't seen him chasing other butterflies, but it might be interesting if he does!

I found these weird little "caterpillars" on my milkweed plant when I was looking for monarch caterpillars:

Somehow they don't quite look like caterpillars, and I found a pupa:

Now this pupa doesn't look like a butterfly or moth pupa. It looked like a fly pupa to me. I found out there is a kind of fly called a Syrphid fly that eats aphids. I had been having some aphid issues on this plant, but lately I'd noticed much less. So these little "caterpillars" are maggots! Yuck, right? Well, they are prettier than maggots and they are helping my aphid problem so they are welcome to stay! I brought the pupa in so I can see it hatch, but the monarch caterpillar ate it...I guess he was hungry!

I got a little rubber ball at the dollar store and I was going to try and make a hypertufa sphere shaped planter, but somehow I started forming something else......a Toadgloo. I've filled it with a thick layer of soft dirt for a nice bed for the toad. I think it looks very quaint, like a little hobbit hole. I actually prefer this look to my other toad house....very natural!

Today I want to try and mount my bird bath on the stump. The stump is uneven and what we need is a chainsaw to even it, but we aren't ready to buy it yet. So I think I am going to use hypertufa to build it up to even it out. This should be interesting!

Last edited: Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:10 pm

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Creatures with Wings

Category: Garden Wildlife | Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:46 pm

The butterflies have started to come and bring a little of their magic to my garden. Some are too fast to catch in a photo, the Orange Sulphur was one of these speedy butterflies with a crazy flight pattern. I don't think I'd seen one of those up close before, very pretty.

Now I REALLY love this one:

I have never noticed these before, but I was pretty sure it was a Painted Lady, that was a guess, but I looked it up and "YAY!", I was right. I actually prefer the outer wings with the soft lacy browns, a hint of violet dots and a coral blush on the upper wing. The inner wings are pretty too and remind me of calico fabric. It was really enjoying the zinnias that my 6 year old planted.

The Gulf Fritillaries really enjoy this passionvine. I don't see many large caterpillars so I think the lizards are eating them when they are small. I usually will bring them in to help them get big in safety....sometimes lizards are TOO helpful.

Still waiting on the hummers, but my hanging hummingbird garden a.k.a. hanging basket of cardinal climber, is getting closer to blooming...I really hope that brings them in.

I got inspired when a saw Bethie's gorgeous mosaic birdbath. I've always wanted to really get into mosaic, but the stained glass is hard to come by around here...I work with glass rods so that doesn't help me either. So I made a hypertufa birdbath....I used an oil pan...I pushed a plate into the center to create a nice solid nonporous bottom...the plate was $1 at the Dollar Tree. It is a very earth plate and I made a very earthy birdbath to go with it. I pushed pebbles into the edges to give the birds something to grip on when the climb out.

As it dries and cures it will look is going to go on top of the palm stump out front....the morning glories are starting to engulf it...this will look pretty peeking out through the leaves.

I saw a picture online of a birdhouse made with a flower pot so I was determined to make my own...

The hardest part was enlarging the hole...I used my Dremel tool, but I think there must be a better way, it looks like I chewed it. I decided to paint it to kind of hide the ugly hole...the painting looks cute in kind of a whimsical retro look. I glued the pot (with gorilla glue) to a board and then hung it up....I don't know if birds will really go for it, but it does look pretty in the corner.

Still inspired by the mosaic, and then I found a book about PAPER mosaic...I think this might be a good starting point for me! I decided to paint some paper to make it look like stained glass, the paper came out nice, and then I glued it to posterboard. Now I am starting to place the "tiles" on my birdhouse that I first painted black. I am very excited about this. Once it is completed I will give it many coatings of spar urethane so that it looks like tile or glass...I can't wait to finish!

Last edited: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:47 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 2682 times

Disturbing Evidence

Category: Garden Wildlife | Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:08 pm

When I went out my front door today I found something quite disturbing: a pile of feathers. The incident occurred right in front of one of my feeders. I can tell from the feathers that the victim was a mockingbird, and from the sheer number of feathers I do feel that foul play was involved. I didn't see any blood or any other signs of the bird so I have a small hope that he escaped.

This mockingbird is the most belligerent fellow. He is extremely possessive of the feeder, even though HE doesn't eat bird seed. This feeder has two baskets for suet on either side and that is what he loves. I make a special mixture that they really seem to enjoy. He always likes to sit in the tree out front watching the feeder, I haven't seen him this morning. He's hated by the blue jays, grackles, titmice, and almost makes me wonder if they set him up?

A main suspect in this crime would be the neighbor's cat, whom I call "Smokey", he's the nicest cat, but is allowed to roam free and he spends a lot of time here. I've never seen him stalking the birds, but HE'S a CAT!

The next suspect would be a hawk, I've seen them around and have on occassion seen them making a meal of a songbird (usually doves).

We've also got bald eagles that roost across the they could be suspects, but I know they prefer fish.

I don't think I'll ever know, but I'm hoping I see my friend around, maybe a little less feathered, but alive and well. I'll miss his scolding and chasing the other birds.

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