Saturday, August 16, 2014

Neighbors and Visitors!

I'm very fortunate to have several neighbors and friends that enjoy gardening and flowers. Here are two of my neighbor's (Betty Smith's) clematises.

I love the color and shape of them. Not sure of their names though- sorry.  The one pictured here has a very unique shape. The flower petals are star-shaped, and the color is so nice and vibrant.

Clematises add height to your garden. Most of them are upright twining vines, but some like to spread out horizontally.

Most clematis like about six hours of sunlight to bloom well. Some will do well in partial shade, and in the south they prefer afternoon shade.

They do best in rich soil with good drainage. Avoid fresh manure. Plant the crown a few inches below the surface of the ground. This will encourage buds below the surface to sprout if the main stem gets damaged. The clematises will need support of some kind like a trellis. They are heavy feeders and will benefit from a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring, and a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) every four to six weeks after that until the end of the season.

Clematises are divided into three distinct pruning groups. Here is some information on pruning your clematises: Growing Clematis Vines

Same clematis as above only close-up.

Here is another one of my neighbor's clematises.

A Kindred Spirit's Fairy/Gnome Garden (Debbie Smith's). Unless you knew this was there you would probably miss it.

Now For My Visitors!

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
(Papilio cresphontes Cramer)

This butterfly likes my new red coneflower (echinacea). I lost the tag for this and I don't remember the name. When I purchased it, it reminded me of red zinnias and I know how much the butterflies like zinnias so I was hoping to attract some with this variety of coneflower. I think I was right in my assumption. It didn't get very tall this year, so I'm hoping next year that this coneflower will grow considerably taller.

In the photo above you can see its proboscis which functions as a drinking straw. They can only feed on liquids which is usually in the form of flower nectar.

Not a very attractive surrounding in the photo at right, but this one is getting a drink of water from the moist seaweed. They drink from mud puddles as well to take up minerals.

More facts on butterflies: 10 Fascinating Facts About Butterflies

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog post. 

Hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Love your photos! I've never had luck with clematis.Though I've had plenty of Swallowtails,this year,the Giants have finally shown up in mass! They love the Vitex and the Spinach Tree.

    1. Thanks Christene. I think the clematises are hard to grow in Florida because it's so hot down there. My father-in-law tried to grow them in Mississippi when they were living there and he couldn't grow them either. They are ok until about April and then it just gets too hot for them. The Giants showed up here a few weeks ago, but haven't seen a lot of them around- just a few. This guy was flittin around so fast that I was glad he landed on a few flowers so I could get some photos.

  2. Sue, it is great to have gardening is what I miss. But oh my they have some lovely plants and I love your visitor. We have had some of the same butterflies, but I cannot get them to light enough to capture their picture.

    1. Hi Donna, You'll have to come up and visit me! We'll do lunch, too.
      This butterfly was pretty fast and I have a lot of photos that are out of focus. I was chasing him around the yard with my camera, and I was glad that he stopped on a few flowers for some nectar. They seem to like the tall white garden phlox.

  3. I used to grow many clematis and never had any trouble growing them. But many do so you probably aided them or at least alleviated the fears of trying to grow them. I like your visitors, beautiful images too. I have been seeing the same visit here.

    1. I've had some problems with a few of my clematises. Maybe they didn't get enough sun, or they don't like the perennials I planted in front of them. I think I'll transplant them. A few have done pretty good though. It's so nice to see some of the butterflies (finally).

  4. I have one of of the last gifts from a student before I retired-it grows on the pool fence and is a wonderful deep I know what it is....I'll have to remember to get another one..maybe white? Love your pictures and the down to earth info. Thanks and keep up the great job? How about something about wild flowers or greens that you can use in dry fall flower arrangements? lol :)

    1. Thanks, Martha. The clematises are very carefree vines. You must have yours in a great spot. I inherited a white one, but I'm not sure of the name of it. Ted and I have been taking pictures of wildflowers on some of our walks, so I hope to do a post on wildflowers in the near future. Thanks for your encouragement and comments.