Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monarch caterpillar

This morning I was walking around my garden with my cat Ginger when I stopped by my milkweed plant (Asclepias tuberosa) and noticed a caterpillar! I was so excited that I tossed Ginger down and ran inside to get my camera.

I haven't seen any adult Monarchs, so I wasn't expecting to see a caterpillar. The female Monarch must have flown in my yard when I wasn't looking because the only butterfly I've seen this year was a Swallowtail. Here is the picture!

Monarch butterflies will only lay eggs on a milkweed plant (also known as butterfly weed). The plant that a butterfly lays eggs on is called a host plant. The host plant is also the caterpillar's source for food, so expect your milkweed's leaves to get eaten.

Here is a picture of the milkweed's flowers. I love milkweeds because it is a perennial, has pretty orange flowers, and is the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. The plant grows around 3 feet tall and wide and blooms all through the spring and into summer. Milkweed plants are readily available at most local garden centers. Go buy one today and get your butterfly garden started!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Last fall I bought a small 4" pot of chrysanthemums and planted them in my garden. Now the mums have grown into a big plant and are now blooming.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This is my first time growing Monarda or Bee Balm. The variety I have is called Monarda 'Jacob Kline'(Monarda didyma)and I bought it from High Country Gardens. The main reason I picked 'Jacob Kline' is it is the most mildew resistant variety of Monarda. The red flowers are pretty too!

My only complaint is its lack of drought tolerance. I have to water this plant more than my other flowers, but I'm hoping once it develops a deep root system that it won't need as much water.

My 'Jacob Kline' Monarda is around 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This is the first flower it has ever produced and there are several more flower buds about to open. My dog broke off a stem and that gave me the opportunity to start cuttings. I plan on giving one plant to my parents and one plant to my grandparents.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This is Agastache or Hummingbird Mint. This variety is 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink' from High Country Gardens. My parents bought me this plant for my birthday last August. Agastache are a type of xeric perennial, meaning it doesn't need lots of water. Since I only plant drought tolerant perennials, it was the perfect addition to my garden. This plant grows around 3 feet tall and wide and needs full sun.

Agastache are hummingbird magnets. Every morning I see my two hummingbirds darting around the agastache. The flowers are mainly pink but also have smaller ornage petals.

Agastache grow in zones 5-10 and are great plants for Louisiana. They can tolerate drought and love the summer heat. They are part of the mint family, so the leaves give off a faint minty fragrance. Plus they bloom all summer...what more could you want? Go out and buy an agastache today!