Friday, May 28, 2010

Wild Creatures and Succulent Plants

As I was moving four bleeding heart plants from the backyard to the frontyard (and turning them into seven plants), I found a weird looking thing in the ground under each plant. I then had to poke at it with my gloved hand, wondering if it was alive. When it twitched, I knew the answer was Yes! After my internal freaking out subsided, I went on an internet search to determine what it was.

I figured it was a chrysalis of some sort, and with Eric's help and that of What's that Bug?, we narrowed it down to images like this and decided it was the pupa of a hummingbird moth. Yeah, click on that first link and TRY not to get the heebie jeebies! (I don't recommend doing this while having lunch.) Now imagine if you poked that pupa and it moved. Aiee! Since I know that I do have hummingbird moths all summer, I'm certain that's what it is. The pupa didn't have a "horn" on it, so I'm pretty certain it isn't a tomato hornworm pupa. It might be a Nessus or a Clearwing. Who knows?!

I've also been visited by raccoons, now that I have a feeder filled with sunflower seeds outside. The first day after I filled it, I found that they'd taken the feeder and the hook straight out of the tree I'd had it in originally and dragged the feeder over by the deck. I decided the feeder would be safer from Masked Bandits if I put it on the deck, so I put it right next to the back door. Wouldn't you know it? The very next morning that thing was on the deck with the bottom pulled off and all the seeds gone. Now I've taken to bringing it in at night, when I take my plants in (It's still not warm enough at night to leave my tomato plants out...yet.). Last night, at only 9 pm, I went to go check on the feeder. Domino was sitting by the door and hissed as I walked up...but not at me. Outside, the feeder was swinging, as if something had just been there, trying to get some seeds. I walked further onto the deck and saw a big old raccoon scampering across the yard.

So now I have to bring the feeder in at sunset, I think.

Right after bringing the feeder in, I went around front to go get the mail and saw a hummingbird moth! On my new honeysuckle!
Honeysuckle 'Scentsation' (Lonicera periclymenum)

Honeysuckle sans hummingbird moth. It was nighttime and I had no camera. Sorry!

So far, this honeysuckle is standing up to its name! It has a fantastic fragrance and is just covered in blooms. I'm likin' it!

While I was admiring the moth, the raccoon came clambering over the low wall to my backyard and ran into the open space across the street. No snacks for you, buddy!

Little bugger.

I know he'll be back. And he'll probably bring friends. ACK!

Still no hummingbirds to be found in my yard, but it's just a matter of time before I run across them, I'm sure.s

As I mentioned previously, I'm on a succulent bender. Here's proof of how bad it's gotten this year:

One giant pot that started with a set of 5 plants I bought at the DBG annual plant sale and then added to it with my cuttings from last year's selection of plants and a handful of new purchases.
Monster succulent pot. This this is about 24" across. It's on wheels. And no, I don't know how I'll store it indoors in the winter! That's a problem for October!

Top (starting at the 12 noon position): Perle von Nurnberg cutting, Adromishus 'Key Lime Pie' cutting, Ech. agavoides cutting, Sedum globosum 'Old Man Bones', a pair of Ech. 'Lucita' cuttings under the Aeonium arboreum atropurpureum (DBG), a plant that was listed as one thing (Echeveria 'Dondo') that I'm certain it is NOT, but I haven't figured out what it IS. If you know, let me know. Pachyphytum? Pachyveria? It was cute, so I bought it. Crassula perforata 'String of Buttons' (DBG), Echeveria or Sempervivum of unknown name (from The Mecca aka Paulino Gardens), but it's kinda fuzzy all over with pointed tips that are edged in red. Above that is Sedum 'Burrito', a plant claiming to be 'Perle von Nurnberg' (DBG), but I'm not so certain (but maybe it was just attenuating?), then Portulacaria afra variegata (DBG) and in the very center Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' (DBG). The five from DBG were in a "DIY container garden" bag together.

I had to search all over the web to find the name of the one in the center and decided that I went from being on a bender to be obsessed with these new plants. And that I wanted even more of them! So many varieties! So little space inside for overwintering!

Another plant I'd picked up from the DBG sale, this time it was an unusual sempervivum 'Heimlich'.
The question is: will it overwinter in this pot outdoors and survive?

An odd echeveria (Berkeley?) that grabbed my eye in the store and wanted to come home with me, where it would be better taken care of.
Echeveria gibbiflora hybrid

I put it in the unused bonsai pot I've had sitting around for years. I killed that bonsai long, long ago. I'm hoping the frilly echeveria will survive longer!

A trio of plants that just looked so good together that I couldn't resist getting them and jamming them in a pot together. I think this may be my favorite pot.
Top: Senecio serpens 'Blue Chalk Sticks'. Right: Pachyveria glauca 'Little Jewel'. Left: Sedum spathulifolium 'Capo Blanco'.

I shall name it Little Blue. Or George. Always good for a plant name.

Last year's plants just barely survived their overwintering indoors in my garden window. They look really awful, but we'll see how they do over the course of the summer.

Top (starting from 12 o'clock position): 'Perle von Nurnberg', 'Christmas Cheer', plush plant (sunburned), Crassula nudicalus (purple in the sun), Cocoon plant, Key Lime Pie, Burrito, and in the middle Echeveria agavoides. Sand courtesy of Logan Sand Flinger.

At the very least, I learned a lot about succulents and how much they need to me keep them in pots I can easily manage indoors over the winter. Not that it stops me from creating a 24" monster in the summer, but still!

I blame Gayla from You Grow Girl! for piqueing my interest in succulents. I think it may have been this post here that did me in. That's a good lookin' plant.

Now if only the night time temps would pick up, I could start planting out my tomatoes and peppers! Maybe I'll give them a test run tonight....

3 comments:

Mandy said...

Love your succulents! I too am on a bender with them, going on 3 years...my husband is giving me a lecture as I type on getting a handle on my plant issue! I adore the Bleeding Hearts, mine didn't make it over the winter...quite bummed because it had the usual white and then purple/pink blooms also. Stop by and check out my blog sometime...

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Great looking succulents! That is all I grow so I can give you lots of advise. You might want to check out the blog I restarted.

Where do you live. I live in California and it gets freezing in the winter. So I keep all of my container plants in the garage in the winter. They can be cold in the winter but not freezing.

Matthew said...

This was an interesting post. I'm fascinated by succulents. So cool looking and beautiful. I want to get some for our outside table.
Checking out You Grow Girl! now..thanks!

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