Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lingering on and passing through

There's still one fresh stem of oxblood lily. Otherwise, leaves are beginning to shoot up. For the first time that I've ever noticed, a few of the stalks, instead of just withering away, have remained upright and are producing, where the flowers were, a few seed pods, which are still green. At last, there are more blossoms on the hyacinth beans and there are four o'clocks blooming every night. We have one that's producing pure white flowers. Years ago, we planted some mixed colors, hoping to vary the puce already present, perhaps with some of those yellow flowers that are to be seen in a few yards. Nothing ever happened that we noticed; certainly, nothing yellow ever appeared among the four o'clocks. But it's just possible that this white specimen is from that time, although perhaps it's just some kind of sport. Both kinds of asclepias, yellow with red-orange and entirely yellow, love the cooler weather, and the butterflies love them. We have been seeing hundreds of cloudless sulfur butterflies, along with lesser numbers of pipevine swallowtails, giant swallowtails in both colors, and gulf fritillaries. From time to time, we see two or three monarch butterflies. They seem to like tithonia and the newly vigorous Bright Lights cosmos, in addition to asclepias (milkweed). It has been so dry that lantanas and Turk's caps haven't been producing much in the way of flowers and fruits. We had never seen squirrels eating lantana berries, but we've seen it this summer.


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