Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mexican Bush Sage

The plant that is getting the most attention from hummingbirds and butterflies is the Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha). I love the color and fuzziness of the flowers. It's about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and loves full sun. It hasn't bloomed much during the summer. I guess it was saving it's energy for slightly cooler temperatures.
I've had this salvia for a few years and its always been over shadowed by my other big salvia bush, the Indigo Spires Salvia. I've got lots of pictures of him in other blog posts. Indigo Spires blooms non stop from spring through fall. My Mexican Bush Sage was not as spectacular as my Indigo Spires, so I threw some fertilizer on it and hoped for the best. The fertilizer didn't help much mainly because I've got irises planted near the salvia and I think they sucked up most of the fertilizer! Anyways, its blooming nicely now and holding its own.
Now to talk about my Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea). This plant takes up an entire side of my flower bed! Its at least 3 feet around but it doesn't grow tall, just about 2 feet tall. It has pushed several other plants out of its way and grew right over them. It wants it's space and doesn't care how it gets it. If this plant were a person it would be pushy and selfish! Hummingbirds love this plant.
I've always loved the interesting shape of the flowers. I think it does look like a bat's face. This plant can stand up to the hot Louisiana summers and drought conditions.
This is Ginger laying in my flower bed being lazy. I planted her a cat nip plant but it died sometime over the summer. I'll get her a new one in the spring.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Garden Pictures

Yikes! Its been a long time since I posted a blog...not much happening right now to blog about. Its summer time in Louisiana and I've been staying indoors mostly. I'm ready for fall! Here's some pictures of my garden.
This is two peanut plants growing in a big pot. We had to put chicken wire around the pot because our outside cat Ginger kept getting in the pot. I hope they make lots of peanuts because Dave loves to eat peanuts.
This is a hummingbird magnet if there were still hummingbirds in my yard. Last year they loved this plant, and now they are gone. Haven't seen a hummingbird in a long time. I ordered this plant from a mail order site, High Country Gardens. They mostly sell plants that are drought tolerant. I never have to water this plant, only gets water when it rains.
My butterfly bush is huge! Its about 6 feet tall. Has tons of flowers on it but I haven't seen many butterflies on it. Butterflies and hummingbirds are scarce in my yard. I guess they are in someone else's garden...
This is a close up of the flower. If you're wondering what variety it is, its Nanho Blue. The flowers aren't blue, they are light purple.
My milkweed plants are doing great! Blooming like crazy. I haven't seen any monarch caterpillars yet, but they will come in time. Did you know that milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies? That means they only lay eggs on milkweed plants. Its important to have milkweed in your garden if you want monarch butterflies around!
Purple coneflowers are doing OK now. I need to dig it up and move it away from the milkweed and butterfly bush. You can't tell from the picture, but its getting squashed between the two plants!
Now to Dave's section of the garden. He grows spicy peppers and this one is Mucho Nacho Jalapeno. We have tons of this one. He has several more pepper plants but I didn't get pictures of all of them. Pepper plants are boring....
Banana peppers look about ready to pick. This pepper plant isn't spicy.
I put flea medicine on Max this morning and he ran out and tried to rub it off. Its been hot so he spends most of his time under the shed in the shade.
I will end with a picture of Ginger. She likes to sleep under the shed too!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rabbit Foot Fern

Rabbit Foot Fern is one of my favorite ferns because it is so strange looking! It's best to grow this fern in a pot so the fuzzy growths can curl over the pot's edge. I'm not sure if they are a type of root, but fronds sprout from them. Here's some close up pictures! This is my dog Max swimming in the river. We live next to the levees on the Mississippi River and this time of year the river overflows its banks and water reaches the levee. When you stand of top of the levee, you can see shadows of big catfish swimming in the water. Max loves to swim in the water but he can't go too far out because I don't let him off the leash.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring flowers

Red lantana that is a new and improved variety. Its called Bandana lantana and you can buy them in lots of colors. Its suppose to bloom longer and stay around 2 feet tall. For now its doing OK. Still pretty small, but its blooming. I bought this because butterflies love lantana. Sorry about my finger in the picture! I'm taking these pictures with my phone and I didn't even realize my finger was in the way. Anyways, this is a staple in my flower bed, its a Victoria Blue Salvia. It blooms constantly and I love it. I have 3 of these salvias. This is one of my 3 cats. Her name is Ginger and she loves to lay under the oak tree. She always has oak tassels in her fur!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vicksburg National Military Park

The last part of our camping weekend took place in Vicksburg, MS. Its about 30 minute drive from Poverty Point State Park. There is so much to look at here, we stayed for 3 hours.

 If you are a Civil War history buff, you know that capturing Vicksburg was the key to winning the War. The Confederate troops had an almost perfect spot in Vicksburg. With high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, they could shoot down any Union ships that tried to sneak by. Grant tried three times to capture Vicksburg and he was finally successful. Grant had blocked off the Confederate troops food supply, leaving them only dogs, cats, and rats to eat. Finally the south surrendered.

The Military Park is a 16 mile driving tour of the Vicksburg battle grounds. The battle lines are well marked. Throughout the Park, there are buffs of special military men. There are also state memorials for every state in the War. I personally didn't like the Louisiana memorial. I took a picture of it and its basically a column with Louisiana written on it.  Illinois has the most impressive memorial. I didn't realize how many Illinois men died at Vicksburg.

 That's the Illinois memorial in the background! Its the white dome.

The Illinois memorial.

 Its an open dome (what happens when it rains?) and the darker plaques are covered with the names of Illinois soldiers who served in the War. Even if you speak in a whisper, it echos loudly. In in middle of the floor is the Illinois state seal.

Wisconsin memorial.
 Dave is at the tunnel entrance. The Union troops were at the bottom of a huge hill and had to think up a way to get to Confederate troops. So they dug a tunnel! Once they tunneled to the hill, they dug ditches crisscrossing the hill until they were able to shoot at the Confederates.

 This is the bell recovered from the USS Cairo, a ship sunk by a mine in the Yazoo River. It sunk in a few minutes and no one drowned. It stayed underwater for 100 years! The next few pictures are of articles taken from the ship.

 You can walk on walkways onto the ship.
 Steam boilers.

 A far away look at the USS Cairo.

 Dave loved the cannons! I think seeing all the cannons was his favorite part!

 The Louisiana memorial.