Late Summer’s Tiny Gems

After a blazing hot summer, the garden is in that in-between moment when the summer riot turns tiny and quiet until the fall steps forward in all its glory. You have to look closely in a sea of green for the garden’s little gems.

Hummingbird-loving Cuphea ignea.

Butterfly favorites Jupiter’s Beard,


and Butterfly Bush.

The purples and pinks of Pentas,



And Cosmos bespeckle the beds – their large drifts long gone.

Dainty Veronica tries to stand tall,

while bright Rudbeckia hides under the White Orchid tree to escape the hot sun.

Only the Dahlias and Sunflowers dare to be bold.

And if you look very, very closely – you might just find some other tiny little gems hidden in the garden.

But that is a story for another week. Stay tuned.

What is a Weed?

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I always thought of Milkweed as a weed. I never knew that it had such mysterious powers.

I stumbled across Asclepias, or Tropical Milkweed, in our nursery this spring. I never had enough hours of direct sun in my own shady garden to even consider it. Listed among its virtues (color and height) was its ability to attract butterflies. In our area it grows as a perennial. Bonus. It will return year after year. I planted a couple of 6” pots at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden and waited.

It wasn’t until later that I read that it was a preferred habitat of Monarch Butterflies. By the looks of things in the garden tonight, they are delighting in their home.

As the sun lowered and temperatures “cooled” to a more moderate 94-degrees, they were putting on quite a show; delighting in a dance that had everything to do with each other and nothing at all to do with me. It looked a lot like these Milkweed seeds.

Still as I stood, they would not settle long enough to capture them in a photo. So I put away the camera, returned to my watering duties, and just enjoyed them as they swooped, fluttered and glided through the air.

For their beauty and companionship in the garden, they are more than welcome to munch and make their home in the Milkweed of our Memorial Garden.