|Zebra longwing on tropical sage.|
Florida's State ButterflyThis year we’ve had a huge jump in population of Zebra longwing butterflies (Heliconius charithonia). Our property is aflutter with all their striped glory. They don’t have deep wing beats like a lot of floppy butterflies–their wings hardly move as they fly. They are skittish compared to some other butterflies, but they are mesmerizing.
This is Florida’s state butterfly and deservedly so, there are more sitings in this state than others. The larval food is the passion vine (Pasiflora spp), but they like it best when it’s grown in the shade.
I’ve been trying for years to create a welcoming habitat for the zebra longwings, so finally we’ve reached the point where this could happen and now we’re teeming with zebras. Continue reading my post over on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog, Teeming with Zebras.
|Just before starting the bed expansion & lawn reduction.|
The shovel marks the new lawn edge.
I decided that I needed more area for the edible beds near the garage and the elevated rain barrels because I was not going to continue fighting the weeds and the sandy soil on top of the drainfield mound.
It took several days (A day of gardening at this time of year goes from 7am to 9:30am at the latest.) of hard labor to accomplish this project. But having the crops close at hand will make it all worth while. I also took advantage of having virtually nothing planted here but the cover crop of marigolds to dig them under. See my previous post on marigolds and nematodes.
|Here's what the project looks like when we have removed about half of the grass.|
|Almost done with the lawn removal. Note the torpedo grass
separated out in the wheelbarrow.
|Invasive torpedo grass makes the
job much harder.
|Making the bed narrower.||The bed had been too wide for easy tending, so now it
will be about 18 inches narrower in the middle.
|With the narrowing of the fat part of the bed and the curve in the new addition,|
this bed is probably not much larger than before.
Mowing CurvesThe curve was constructed so the mowing around the bed would be very easy. We also left about six inches of flat surface inside the rubberized edging so the mower wheels would have a place to roll. We work hard to reduce the need for extra trimming after the mowing.
|Time to resink the edging.||Dean pounds the soil around the edging for stability.|
|The bed will sit for a few weeks to settle and to allow the marigolds to compost to some degree before I plant anything. At this end of the bed closest to the garage, I'll leave the marigolds until frost kills them in December.|
|Marigolds attract so many butterflies and other pollinators.|
|Sunset from the front yard the other day.|
Green Gardening Matters,