Six years ago I helped my stepfather, Jim, by planting a butterfly garden in front of one of his rental houses. I'd guess that about half of the plants that I planted from six years ago are still alive today (there was a really bad freeze this year and it killed a lot of the plants).
Just about all of the lantana plants in the garden survived.
There are several varieties of lantana growing in the garden right now and I am sad to report that I don't know the names for any of them other than they are all lantanas. This multi-colored variety has grown from a seedling into a bush that comes up to my shoulders. There are six big bushes like this growing in the yard right now.
These blue (or are they purple?) blossoms are on a lantana hat grows into a bush about two feet tall.
Although not pictured, there are also several white lantana plants growing in the garden. Instead of growing into bushes, they grow like ground cover.
When I planted all these saplings six years ago I thought I was buying the same kind of plant, just with different color blossoms. I had no idea they'd all grow into different mature forms.
On a side note, lantana on Saipan grows like a week and has thorns. It has overgrown entire fields. Here in Florida we put it in our gardens and it attracts butterflies. I prefer the Florida variety.
These are plum blossoms. In Japan they are called "ume" (oo-me). There are three plum trees doing very well in the garden.
Plum blossoms look very similar to cherry blossoms. I'm color blind, so I have no idea if these are white or pink, but these blossoms sprout and then about a week later fall off.
Anyone who has been to Japan during cherry blossom season knows how beautiful these trees look in the Spring.
For one week out of the year the plum trees are the most beautiful trees on the block.
Yesterday we did some maintenance on the butterfly garden; we replaced some of the plants that were killed in this year's freeze and we put down weed fabric and pine bark. We also sprayed for bugs.
We got our plants at a nursery out in Oviedo. They were able to give us a really good price, but as much as I wanted to buy them, I refused to pay $29.99 for a Coontie Palm. Every other plant we bought was in the $4-$10 range.
Most of the plants I use are wild flowers. They aren't as showy as some ornamentals, but you can see from the photos above that they are just as beautiful. Plus, they have the added benefit of attracting butterflies.
The plants all kind of look like a bunch of weeds in the photo above, don't they? I promise they'll look better when they've had a few weeks and months to grow.
This is a before photo of one corner of the garden, right next to the driveway. Notice all the weeds.
This is after I put down the weed fabric and the wood chips and filled in some of the spaces with plants. It is a big improvement.
After I finished planting I laid down an entire bag of grass seed in between my butterfly plants. I watered yesterday and went back over there today to water it again. If you are reading this, please pray for rain.
The house is now up for rent if you are interested. It is in the Winter Park area right down the street from the high school. Call the number in the picture above for more information. Tell them you read about it on the Saipan Blog and ask for the special Internet rate.