In The Garden with Kristine

The beginnings of my garden lay in a butterfly seminar I attended, at which I bought rather a lot of plants that were meant to feed and attract the winged creatures. I had an entire, almost empty backyard at my disposal, with only a lawn, a fence and a few palm trees to work with. As if it weren't bad enough that I live in hot and humid Florida, I also live on a Cape with sandy soil, coral rock and more roots than you can shake a stick at. What these are the roots to, I've still to discover. So the first thing I had to do was rent a sod cutter and begin fashioning beds. This done, I had to dig, which returns us to the rocks and roots. If it were just a matter of digging a hole in soil, the job would be a breeze. But, it's a case of digging a bit and then tackling the roots you've uncovered. You must either cut through them or attempt to pull them out of the ground. These are not just any roots - they're downright primordial and I'm convinced that there's some poor person in China, sitting in their provincial garden in amazement as they watch their trees being inexplicably pulled backwards into the ground as I yank on the roots in my garden at the opposite Pole.

However, I've finally gotten everything planted (pant, pant, pant) and the beds are beginning to fill out. Here are some "before and after" photos:

And now . . . .

Now that I've filled everything in, it's time to mulch. But things are coming along nicely, if I do say so myself, and are actually starting to flower.

I've had the gardenia, above, for two years in a pot and it's never bloomed, so you can imagine my joy when it finally flowered this year. So, you ask - and well you might - what about the butterflies? I'm happy to say that I've got caterpillars of all kinds -

The caterpillars completely decimate the leaves on the milkweed, stripping it bare, and then attach themselves to the fence and create cocoons

A few days later, they emerge as beautiful Monarch butterflies. Here is one newly born with the remnants of his cocoon still attached to his wing.

I now have Monarch, and other, butterflies galore! They flit about the garden, and my person, all day long. You should know that I didn't set out to take the butterfly photos below - they simply got in my way as I was taking the flower photos - success!

Those in colder climates, who are already feeling winter's weather, might be thinking that it's a bit odd for me to be blogging about a summer garden in December. You should know that I finished this post by adding the latest photos on November 22 - it was still in the 80's.

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