Friday, September 14, 2012

It was Dead - but Now....

Former dead Pachysandra area
This morning my new friend Sanja and I were working  on our new Wild One's chapter display.  Naturally we talked about why we like native plants.  Her thoughtful questions reminded me that just one year ago I pulled several trash bags of Pachysandra from a lush evergreen garden bed just outside my office window.  You might remember how I struggled with wiping this area clean and digging up the specimen Bleeding Heart.   I recall how astonished I was at the time.  There was absolutely no life in this spot.  No spiders, earthworms, millipedes, caterpillars, nothing.  It was a dead zone. 

Giant Swallowtail on
Swamp Milkweed
As I sit here writing this piece I'm looking out my home office window.  I wonder how I ever get any work done now.  The Cardinal flower have just finished blooming while the Blue Lobelia are still working on producing a few more flowers.  For weeks now as the wave of color cycled from the brilliant red of the Cardinal flower to the purple of the Blue Lobelia, the hummingbirds have come by all day long to work over the nectar rich blossoms of these plants.  They much prefer the flowers over the nearby hummingbird feeder.  (As curious as these little birds are, often buzzing up to my face as I sit on the back porch, they just won't sit still long enough for me to snap a picture.)  This same patch of ground now sports some nice bright yellow from the Brown eyed Susan in the shadier part just as the Smooth Asters are starting to come into bloom. 

Male Monarch about to be
released for the fall
migration to Mexico
Looking back to yesterday when we released a male Monarch butterfly,  I realize the Swamp milkweed that provided nectar for multiple species of butterflies this season were the same plants  several female Monarchs laid their eggs on earlier this summer. 
The transformation is wondrous.  This area was dead last year, and now it's alive!  That's why I like native plants.   

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