The passionflower vines have found a healthy balance between devouring the garden and being devoured by caterpillars. I have to say, those passionflowers have really grown on me despite their rampant growth. Every glance out the back door yields an eyeful of butterflies circling the vine covered fence to seek nectar and lay eggs. I've also been finding a lot of gulf fritillary cocoons all over the garden and patio, so more are on the way.
The milkweeds are visited by doting monarchs, while various swallowtails and sulphur butterflies have a refreshing drink of nectar at every flower in sight. Hummingbirds have to contend with the flocks of butterflies for their own turn at the incredible multitude of bottlebrush and firespike blooms! There are plenty flowers for everyone, luckily.
This baby garter snake was a nice little surprise! He let me get unreasonably close for comfort just so I could get some photographs, and he then slinked around the garden for the remainder of the afternoon. Isn't it cute?
As always, lizards were everywhere. They were climbing the (incredibly fast growing) orchid tree, jumping from the bottlebrush trees onto the gingers, and just meandering about the garden everywhere I looked. This green anole is still brown because it just leaped from a branch to this clump of Neoregelia cruenta and hadn't found the time to change color yet. It seems that the more lushly planted a garden is, the more native green anoles you find. Invasive Cuban brown anoles tend to like the hot sidewalks and mulch beds.
My other bromeliads are also faring well, thanks to their ability to hold a reserve of water in their tanks. They're great plants for dry shade as long as the cups are periodically filled with fresh water. One thing to look out for in dry times like these is vase rot. The water can easily become stagnant after sitting in the cups too long, and before too long you might discover the center leaves begin to rot with a smell akin to death. If you catch the vase rot soon enough, you might be able to save the plant as long as you remove the center leaves and thoroughly rinse out the plant with a nozzle. Allow the bromeliad to dry out, refill with water, and place away from the other bromeliads in a quarantined spot to prevent the vase rot from infecting others.
How have your gardens been faring lately? If you have a blog, please leave a link so I can look for myself!