Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now That's A Spicy Hot Papaya

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'... a real firecracker in the garden. Posted by Picasa

"It can be a fascinating game, noticing how any person with vitality and vigor will have a little splash of red in a costume, in a room, or in a garden..." ~ Edgar Cayce
We haven't seen the first cool weather of fall as yet, but it seems as if a change is coming. Many of the plants are past their prime and looking a bit ragged. Of course it doesn't help that the Monarch and Black Swallowtail butterflies have gone into overdrive with laying eggs on the milkweed and fennel and now the parsley turned into a bunch of straight leafless sticks as did the milkweed.... overnight. I expect the fennel will be gone by morning. I have called the botanical garden and the butterfly society and it seems that this is a problem everywhere. I don't have enough to take care of the final group of Monarchs... those that have to migrate south. So, probably this morning I will gather the 30 or so Monarch caterpillars on what milkweed I have left and the Black Swallowtail on what is left of the fennel and take them to the botanical garden. They said I can release them in the outdoor butterfly garden... they have plenty of milkweed and Queen Anne's Lace to go around.

As for my coneflowers, they are in the process of winding down as well. So far the finch have shown no interest in the seedheads. At this point the white varieties and this bright red 'Hot Papaya' are still blooming and drawing the butterflies. Thank goodness I haven't found any local butterfly species that love to eat coneflowers!

Plans are in the works to clean up some of the chaos that is my flower bed. I am going to take up ALL the mint and plant it in a large container. Spearmint and peppermint plants really get out of hand fast and try to take over everything. One of the lessons learned. Love the mint, just want to keep it under control. It is time to dispense with the sunflowers... the seeds are ready for the birds.... if they will just take notice. And, I really need to get on with my plant journal as pruning season is here for several of the shrubs and I need to figure out how and when and get going.

But for today, this is one of my favorite (they are all my favorite actually) coneflowers.... the blazing fiery red 'Hot Papaya'. I think I must put a few of these out next to the preserve next summer!

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday


Beverly said...

Lovely. My interest was piqued when I read spicy hot papaya.  As a tropical fruit, the papaya is not my favorite, but I love these flowers.

Auntie E said...

flowers in ruby.. lovely view
My Ruby Link is here for you

Sandra said...

this is a new first for me. Wow is what i said out loud when your post opened. i have never seen or heard of these red flowers. they blew me away with their beauty.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I have taken pictures of many coneflowers, but haven't seen these! They are quite something else, wish I could find some around here. Gosh, it seems like there is just as much garden work towsrd the fall as there is in the spring! What are you doing with that mint? Have you been making tea?

Simplycol said...

I have never seen red coneflowers such as these... simply beautiful!
And how wonderful that the <span>botanical garden can rehome the caterpillars.   :)  

Pam said...

That is a beautiful colored coneflower!!  That would go great in my back red bed!  The finches are all over my purple coneflowers, though that isn't stopping them from totally monopolizing the bird feeder!

Michelle from Rambling Woods said...

The goldfinch are here everyday eating the coneflower heads even with thistle just a few feet away...It flies in the face of what many people think and that is that birds will only go to feeders and not look in the area for more natural foods... of course this is the time when the nuthatched and titmice start really hitting the sunflower feeder to cache seeds away..I think the flying squirrels may be doing the same thing at night.....

Judy said...

I think you are so lucky to have all the caterpillars and butterflies! Last year, I did not see any monarchs, but this year, there have been some. I don't know if we are too late in the season for them to lay any eggs, but I have not seen any caterpillars!