Later on this evening we’re hav­ing a big birth­day cel­e­bra­tion Chez Bum­ble­bee. It’s my husband’s mmmmm birth­day cel­e­bra­tion and I want to do it up right. His favorite meal. Favorite wine. Favorite cake. Can­dles. Flow­ers. Oh, and those flow­ers? We have some mums!

This year I have seen some stun­ning arrange­ments of mums. So I decided to pull together a mum-featured arrange­ment for the birth­day boy using plants that I could later plant out into the gar­den. It just so hap­pens that the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas  peo­ple offered us a mum chal­lenge this month too—with a $50 Lowe’s gift card give­away. (That’s right. Pay atten­tion, peo­ple, because there could be some­thing in all this for you.)

I went to Lowe’s search­ing for a nice com­bi­na­tion of plants that would work both in the arrange­ment for the table and that I could also reuse in the gar­den. Here’s what went into this arrange­ment and the costs:

Two Pur­ple Mums (Chrysan­the­mum x mori­folium) — $13.96

Two Lacey Blue Russ­ian Sage (Per­ovskia atrip­li­ci­fo­lia ‘Lisslitt’) — $15.96

One Big Twister Rush (Jun­cus effusus ‘Big Twister’) — $6.98

Three Dianthus – $8.94

Con­tainer — Mine

SUBTOTAL — $45.84

Lowe’s 10% Mil­i­tary Dis­count — $4.58

TOTAL — $41.26

Besides a very nice table arrange­ment that we can enjoy at the party and for the next few days, I also have sev­eral plants that will work right into my gar­den. Win-win!

Now you can win too. As part of the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas pro­gram, I can give away a $50 Lowe’s gift cer­tifi­cate to one reader. So, leave a com­ment on this post by Wednes­day, Octo­ber 17, and you might be the one. You can make your own mum arrange­ment or pick up sup­plies for your own next DIY project.

Happy birth­day, Harry! I love you.

Robin
Keep Reading

Aug 22
2012

I Have Butterflies

Some of nature’s won­ders require that you stop, pause and look closely. This isn’t one of them. There’s a rea­son the Bud­dleia is called a but­ter­fly bush. It’s cov­ered in swal­low­tail butterflies!

This but­ter­fly bush is the Bud­dleia davidii ‘White Splen­dour’ (I think). It is approx­i­mately 8′ in diam­e­ter and nearly 10′ tall. It was relo­cated a cou­ple of years ago to a more roomy loca­tion because I didn’t believe it could pos­si­bly grow this big.

All sum­mer long the but­ter­flies are numer­ous and indus­tri­ous in our gar­den. It’s one of the rea­sons I grow dill but hardly ever get to eat any. The cater­pil­lars eat it all. Glut­tons. Glo­ri­ous gluttons.

By far the East­ern Tiger Swal­low­tails out­num­ber the other but­ter­flies. But we also have Painted Admi­rals, Black Swal­low­tails and—the glo­ri­ous Zebra Swal­low­tail. (You can see those in the video below.)

A while back a friend of mine was envy­ing our pro­lific Paw­paw patch because it is host to the lar­val Zebra Swal­low­tail. If you don’t know Paw­paws, they are a  fruit tree native to North Amer­ica. The fruit of the Paw­paw is rather sweet and mushy. For some it’s an acquired taste. But Zebra Swal­low­tails just love Paw­paws.  In fact, it is also called the Paw­paw butterfly.

I wish I were a bet­ter pho­tog­ra­pher and video­g­ra­pher to share how the bush comes alive. This is def­i­nitely one of nature’s big­ger shows in my garden.

 

Robin
Keep Reading

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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