Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A visit to a native plant nursery

Native blanketflower, Gaillardia pulchella,
I'm planning a little guerrilla gardening on a tiny, tiny plot of city-owned land by my house, so over the weekend I went to Casey's Corner, a native plant nursery, near Homestead (Ground Zero in Hurricane Andrew). As would be expected, there were butterflies everywhere. It was glorious!

Susan, the owner, specializes in butterfly garden installation. (She provided the plant material for the Smithsonian's Butterfly Pavilion.) She told me that one of her clients called to say the garden was a disaster because caterpillars were eating everything! After wondering how someone could be so clueless, I moved on to wondering how it's possible that someone was never taught that caterpillars become butterflies.

Anyway, I spent more money than I intended and have decided that most of the plants are going to stay in my garden. It just goes to show how selfish I am.

Disguising itself as bird poop, the caterpillar of the giant swallowtail languishes on top of a leaf
A gulf fritillary caterpillar feeding on a corky stem vine (Passiflora suberosa)
Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

This sunflower is remarkably similar to tickseed; I have trouble telling them apart

I think this one is the Helianthus

Butterflies, including queens and white peacocks, were all over these shrubs
One of the numerous white peacocks
I'm amazed that anyone would pay for this; I keep pulling it out of the lawn!
Rows of (mostly) native plants, with blanketflower in the forefront
Storm clouds roll in; it's time to leave


NanaK said...

It looks like you had a great day with the natives. Finding a nursery that caters to native Florida plants is not easy. That beautyberry is, well, beautiful.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Thanks, Nana. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to fall in love with beautyberry. But better late than never!

Meems said...

Hi Penny,
Visiting native plant nurseries is always very different than regular garden centers. They aren't ever as pretty or showy. But I LOVE everytime I can find one ~~and they aren't easy to find. There is so much to learn about them and how to incorporate them into our own habitats. My favorite butterfly is the white peacock. Very pretty.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Thanks, Meems. I agree; there's always something wonderful to be discovered at such a nursery. I haven't seen any white peacocks in my garden, but fingers crossed they'll be visiting soon.

James Missier said...

I often control my caterpillar craze by putting them in a box and feeding them. That way, they don't eat my plant everywhere.

Susan said...

Kudos to you on your guerilla gardening plans. I hope you will post before and after photos for us to see. Hey, I would have kept most of the plants in my garden, too and then grow new plants from cuttings for the city spot. Good luck!

David, Melanie and family said...

I love native nurseries since I know they'll be no root or transplant shock. Plus, all the butterflies around are half the fun.
David Tropical Texana
P.S. I agree...please post before and after photos on your GGP...Guerilla Gardening Project

Terra Mirabilis said...

Susan and David. I promise to take pix. However, I'm not sure it will be so much "guerrilla," since I talked to our mayor (known for his own guerrilla gardening), who recommends I talk to the parks director so that the spot doesn't get doused in herbicide. So that is the new plan.

Kimberly said...

Bravo for hitting up the native plant nursery! And don't feel badly...I'd have kept the plants for myself too. Terrible, I know, but I can't really help it! :) Good luck with the garden spot.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Hey, Kim. Well, I will certainly donate seeds of the tickseed to that area. If they thrive, I'll have a lovely view of them, too. :)

Rufino Osorio said...

Hello Penny,
Just a quick note to let you know that the plant in the images is Coreopsis leavenworthii (tickseed). It is not narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius). The nursery mislabeled the plants. The tickseed is a taprooted annual (or short-lived perennial) that rarely is more than 3 feet tall and spreads by seeds. The sunflower is frequently taller than 3 feet and is a long-lived perennial that spreads by way of underground rhizomes.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Hi, Rufino. But the leaves on the two plants were different, as were the flowers when properly examined ... Oh, dear. Now I am completely confused!