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Up-Close Insect Observations and a Relaxed Form of Nature Study

This past month saw a return of the Outdoor Hour Challenge to a more topical approach as opposed to a seasonal approach. For our family, it breathed new life into our time outdoors and although we had a focus we were much more open to letting things just happen.

As we gardened, sat outside for our dinners, and traveled to various local locations, the insect topics came to us and we worked on paying close attention to the opportunities. This truly is the kind of nature study that interweaves itself into your everyday life, the kind you can do just about every day.

We were trimming lavender when we noticed this foamy white globs on many of the plants. We knew right away that it was some sort of insect that was creating these globs but we were not sure which insect. When we were back inside, I Googled “white foam on lavender” and right away we could easily see this was a common search. There were many resources that all pointed to the Spittlebug.

After doing some reading online, we found that it is many times found on rosemary plants too so we went out to look. Yes! There it was on our rosemary plants.

  • They are related to aphids.
  • They feed by extracting plant sap.
  • Nymphs cover themselves with a frothy mass that provides protection from predators.
  • There can be more than one nymph in a glob.
  • Oh, and the “spittle” is not spittle at all and actually comes from the other end of the insect. 🙂

Although they can do minimal damage to plants (according to most sources we read online), we decided to take the advice of most and just wash the globs off with the hose. Easy enough.

We have had a huge increase in the number of flying insects in the front garden. The sage, the butterfly bushes, and the lavender are all still in bloom and each day there are hundreds of flying creatures that come to enjoy the flowery goodness. The fiery skipper above is the most common butterfly we have in our garden at this time of year. Isn’t it amazing to see all the parts up close? Can you see the probiscus?

The bees are thick and it makes me realize how easy it is to provide a healthy bee habitat. Plant bee friendly plants and provide even the smallest amount of water and they find you. We had a visitor the other day ask if we were afraid of bee stings and I honestly answered that even though we are in close contact with the bees, they avoid us more than we avoid them.

The flying insect we do have trouble with is the yellow jacket. We had to put up a trap for them because they were stinging my son…..who somehow seems to attract them. Every evening when we sit outside to eat our dinner, one or two of the pesky little insects come to buzz around us and our plates of food. They are very persistent this year for some reason. I think this is the fourth time we have had to rebait our yellow jacket trap. This style has been very successful for us and it is very economical to use since you just buy little packets to bait the trap after it gets full. (You can buy them on Amazon: Rescue WHYTR-BB8 Wasp Hornet Yellow Jacket Trap Reusable.)

I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between native plants, non-native plants, and insects since reading a book on this topic. Bringing Nature Home is another one of the books I received from Timber Press to review and share with you in a post. This book goes more deeply into how introducing non-native plants into our habitats creates an environment that can make life harder for native insects and plants.

It is far more in-depth than I could grasp on the first time through reading it but it has given me lots to think about. It is a book that makes me wish I was staring over with choosing plants for our whole yard but since I can’t do that, I can look forward and make better choices in the future.

If you are interested in reading and learning about how plants and insects (and other creatures), both native and non-native, thrive or die because of choices we humans make….this is the book for you. I am going to read it through again once I have some time to think and meditate on my responsibility as a garden owner.

We are still experiencing temperatures far above normal and the abundance of sunshine has drawn us out into the garden just about every day this week. We did lots of pruning and composting but we are still delaying our actual autumn garden clean-up until we see a change in the weather. The birds and insects and I suspect a skunk and raccoon are still frequenting our garden and enjoying the food source.


Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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You Build It and They Will Come – Butterfly Garden

Painted lady
This is the summer of the butterfly! We have been observing many kinds in our front yard garden…it is amazing to watch as several flutter around from flower to flower. The American Lady butterflies are smaller than we expected but they are daily visitors to the butterfly bushes.

We planned this garden for bees, butterflies, and birds and they are now moving in and taking advantage of our neighborhood oasis that we have created. Our neighbors all stop by to tell us how much they enjoy seeing our yard as they walk and drive up the street. It makes me smile.

Creating this wildlife habitat has been a dream realized. I can honestly say that we have spent time every single day enjoying the wonderful things in this space.

Western Tiger Swallowtail
The Western Tiger Swallowtails are the most frequent of the larger butterflies to visit every day. They spend lots of time on the butterfly bushes but they also land on the lavender from time to time. I think they are my favorite butterfly.

Butterfly garden June 2012
The white butterfly bush is the color that attracts the most butterflies from our casual observation. It has larger amounts of flowers so I think they may be the attraction.

Monarch butterfly garden
We have had a few Monarch butterflies in the past week. This one looks a little tattered. It is exciting to see a Monarch though…this is exactly why we created this habitat. We looked forward to having our nature study subjects come to us…and they have.

Butterfly garden June 2012 (21)
This long thin purple flower cluster is my favorite shape and color. This could be called my purple section since I have purple lavender, sage, and butterfly bushes literally bursting out all over. The bees have found this space and they are here all day long.
The deep purple bushes line the front street and there are hummingbirds that can be seen landing on the blossoms as they take a break from collecting the nectar. The blooms don’t even dip down…those hummers must be super lightweight.

There are a few more butterfly varieties that have come to visit but I haven’t caught them with my camera….yet. I will share when I do.

Just for the record, the bee balm and nasturtiums started blooming this week in the back yard. Beautiful!

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Frontyard Garden – Surprise Yard Art Sunflower

So….when Mr. A was spending all that time down in the shop over the past few weeks I thought he was working on his mini bike. Turns out he was creating a surprise for this garden loving mama.

Sunflower Yard Art (3)

We have a spot in the front yard that I have been saving for some garden art but so far I hadn’t found anything I liked. Using his welding skills, his amazing creative eye, and a lot of hard work, Mr. A designed and then made this sunflower art and then while I was out for a walk, placed it in the garden. (Mr. A is my eighteen year old son….in case you are new to the blog.)

Sunflower Yard Art (7)
It is about five feet tall and is now securing situated in the rock garden area on the top terrace of my front yard. I can see it from my living room window which is really the best angle for seeing it. Didn’t he do an amazing job?

6 11 12 Front Yard (7)
The rest of the front yard has become an amazing palette of color and every corner is now filling in with living things. The hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies are always flying here and there among the blossoms. The bees are even up in the blossoming tulip poplar tree.

Sage (2)
I am enjoying the sage this year…I think it is the shape and the delicate flowers. Or maybe it is the scent of sage that sort of lingers in the air after you walk by.

We haven’t added anything new this week to the garden but the Lamb’s Ear that I am trying in the rock garden is growing and filling in the space I have. My friend warned me that it will take over but I am confident that the rocks will contain it or in the end I can thin it as needed. You can see the poppies in this image too…they are being left until they go to seed so we can have a bumper crop of springtime poppies next year.

Our time this week in the garden was spent trimming bushes on the side of the house, cutting back the neighbor’s blackberry vines from the fence line, and a bit of weeding around the bottoms of the bird feeders.

Now is such an exciting time in the garden. My focus this year has shifted from veggies to flowers since we have an amazing Farmer’s Market where I can glean as much fresh stuff as our family needs without all the fussing. I may go back to growing lots of veggies in the future but for now it is nice just to enjoy the colors and shapes of the flowers. (I do have a few staples in the back square foot garden but not much more than herbs, zucchini, okra, and a tomato.)

Sigh…I love this time of year.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

6 11 12 Front Yard (7)

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Garden Color and Fragrance – Early June Delights

Daisies June 2012

My garden is full of promise…the promise of beautiful things to look at and delicious things to eat.

The daisies are filling in a big spot in the back cutting garden and we are anxious to study them as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge later in the summer. There are coneflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias as well that have buds so stay tuned for some updates on those in a few weeks.

Star Jasmine
Some things are already smelling like heaven…the star jasmine is in full bloom and already needed a trimming back from the sidewalk. The cats lay under these plants since they make wonderful shade in the afternoon sun. Wouldn’t that be delightful?

Disneyland Roses June 2012
Last week when I was working with the window open I could smell this rose on the gentle afternoon breeze. It is a Disneyland Rose and it has been a faithful bloomer these past few years. It is loaded with pink/peach flowers. This rose is what I imagine the perfect rose fragrance would be…a signature scent.

Hydrangeas (1)
The hydrangeas are bursting open this week and the delicate color of the flowers on this particular bush is one of my favorites.

Hydrangea Nature Journal - with watercolor pencils
A few years ago, I used my watercolor pencils to capture the pastel colors of this lovely flower and then used a fine tip marker to outline it a bit. Keeping track of my favorite garden flowers in my journal is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon.

Jerusalem Sage
This is something new in the backyard this year and it is really taking off. We added this Jerusalem Sage to a spot that gets super hot and dry in the afternoons up against the house. So far it is thriving…I did put it on the drip system until it is established and then I think I can back off with the water. The texture of the leaves is soft and fuzzy which adds a nice layer of interest to this side of the garden.

Purple Butterfly Bush
The front yard has been joined by the blooming purple butterfly bush! The hummingbirds have been seen enjoying this particular bush…actually fighting over it in the early evening hours. My cat friend Cocoa is like my garden shadow these days. She seems to pop up wherever I go. You can see my sage growing in two spots in the background of this photo. It is just starting to bloom.

Red Hot Pokers June 2012
Another favorite of the hummingbirds is the Red Hot Poker plant. This is Mr. A’s favorite plant in the garden and he has been eagerly waiting for it to bloom. It looks good this year and I may end up dividing up the plant in the late fall to fill in a few spaces in the front garden.

Apples - June 2012
We have started to see quite a bit of growth in our backyard fruit. The apples are looking like apples! Not too many apples on the limbs but enough for each of us to enjoy a crisp apple come the end of the summer.

Someone asked in a comment a few weeks ago whether we had any lawn left in our yard. The answer is yes and you can see it in this photo. We have a small plot of grass left in the backyard, mostly for the dog to enjoy. We use it as her ball throwing spot and she loves to lay in the shady grass on the hot afternoons. Since it gets so hot here and there is very little rain during the summer months, we do have to water this part of the yard. I have it set on a timer and it waters five minutes a day and so far that is enough to keep it green. (I need to write a post showing how we have cut our water usage to a fraction of what it was two years ago and still enjoy a lush green garden.)

Figs on the Tree
Of course the figs are loaded as usual….this is not my favorite fruit but we eat a bit and then leave the rest for the birds and other critters. We have tried several times to eliminate this tree but every time we cut it down it comes back full and loaded with fruit within a year.

Blackberries - Early June
I do LOVE blackberries and we have our little patch just loaded with blossoms right now. This is exciting and it really seems like summer now that the berries are maturing. My blueberries are still all plant and no signs of blossoms or berries. I hope to get a bit of fruit from them this year. We shall see.

We have rain today so the garden is getting well watered but tomorrow we are going to see the end of the rain and be back to our warm temperatures. I am grateful for the rain but I am ready for the summer heat.

The June (Ocean Beach) edition of the Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter has published. You must be subscribed to the blog in order to receive the download link. It is a beautiful and informative edition that I know you are going to want to have in your collection. You can subscribe on the sidebar of my blog.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Updated Wildside-New Garden Arch-Delighted Nature Mama

Arch frontyard - frame
This was a big week in the garden.

My dear sweet husband surprised me by making a new garden arch for my front yard. We had talked about adding a decorative arch, kicked around a few ideas, and then he added his creative touch. I love the way it makes a sort of  “window frame” to the lower part of the garden. He is going to fill in the bare spot with another sage. The poppies are filling in naturally and I think by next year they will be to this lowest part of the yard.

Arch frontyard closeup
He added a few of my favorite things….birds, butterflies, vines. (Maybe all this garden beauty will distract me from my neighbor’s falling down fence.)

Tilled Wildside
He didn’t stop there. He finished up the top terrace of the front yard….he eliminated much of my wildside garden but now it is going to be filled with more wonderful color. Just a note: He used the idea I found on Pinterest to spray a solution of vinegar and water on the weeds before trying to remove them. He sprayed last weekend and let it sit for a week. It was awesome how easy those weeds just hoed out of the ground. He was able to do this entire area in less than an hour! I didn’t get a “finished” shot….I will soon.

Yarrow in the Garden
We are adding more yarrow…a different color this time. The yarrow in our front yard is amazing right now…what a great performer with no water and lots of sunshine.

Yarrow Lavender and Poppies
Maybe someday this new section will be as colorful as the established part of the garden. Here is an image from the top terrace looking down onto the yarrow, lavender, butterfly bush, poppies, and dogwoods. We also added some lamb’s ear among the rock garden. I am going to see if spreads too much but it has added a new texture to the yard.

Switch gears now and head to the back butterfly garden.

Columbine red yellow beauty
The columbine is starting to bloom! This is such a wonderfully happy flower that loves my semi shady spot in the butterfly garden. Look at those colors!

Columbine red yellow
How about the shape? Isn’t it interesting to see how different the back of the flower looks from the front? I am adding this image to my nature journal…I think watercolors.

Swallowtail in the garden
Last but not least, I wanted to share another one of my swallowtail visitors to my back garden. This magnificent butterfly spent quite a bit of time yesterday fluttering among my potted plants. He seemed to like the bright pink dianthus the best.

So now you know what I am one delighted nature mama. I love this time of year!

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Our Beloved Dogwood Tree – Blooming Right on Schedule for Our Nature Study

Dogwood Nature Study 1
Our Dogwood Study with the Handbook of Nature Study
(It is not too late to join us if you still have a dogwood blooming in your neighborhood.)

Funny how we all have had our favorite spring Outdoor Hour Challenges. For me? This dogwood study has been about two years in the making. I have always wanted to have a dogwood tree in our front yard but it wasn’t until we did our massive front yard remodel that I was able to find a dedicated spot for the dogwood tree. We choose one with white blossoms…my favorite.

You can see our front yard transformation here in this post: Removing the Lawn.

Dogwood Nature Study
We waited last year for it to flower but we only had leaves. This year….ta da! A dozen or so creamy white blossoms to enjoy and now study.

Dogwood Nature Study - bracts
We read in the Handbook of Nature Study about how the flowers have been waiting inside the bracts all winter long, protected and sheltered until conditions were right. I have spent the last month or so going out almost daily to check the branches for any signs of opening. What a gift once we saw the bracts changing!

See the notched bract? This is another thing discussed in the Handbook of Nature Study that I would have never noticed if it wasn’t pointed out to me.

Dogwood Study - flowers and bracts
I had to convince Mr. B that the true flowers are the ones at the center and not the big white bracts. We counted the flowers and found there were 25+, some open and some closed.

Dogwood Nature Study Notebook Page
Notebook Page for More Nature Study Book #3

The Handbook of Nature Study said that this was a perfect lesson to use a hand lens for so we brought ours out and took a deeper look. Amazing! If you haven’t yet done your dogwood study, I highly recommend this activity. You might note it in your ebook to do for next year as well if your dogwoods are no longer blooming.

Dogwood Study - Leaves
How fun is this? Don’t the leaves look like a bird? I was busy standing on top of my retaining wall to take photos of the dogwood and looking down on the leaves….it truly looked like a bird!

Spring Yard - Color 1
Now for a few fun images from our evening study. Here is a colorful view of our front yard right now….hubby brought me home a new garden flag for the front stairs. I love it! We did have a swallowtail in the yard a few days ago so it won’t be long now until butterfly time! The Kona dog is taking a rest from helping us weed and water.

Rock Garden
I don’t think I shared my new addition to the rock garden. We took a new hike up into the mountains and into an area where you can collect rocks, a true rockhounds paradise. We brought home this big piece of serpentine which is the California State Rock. Isn’t an amazing shade of green? Our rock garden has become its own little micro-habitat with insects and critters living around and under the rocks. In the evenings there is a very loud cricket chorus in our yard. It is a comforting sound and I stand on the deck and listen in the dark and imagine where they all are as they sing.

Red Bud
What a wonderful study! It all started back when we decided to remodel the front yard a few years ago and we put on paper our list of plants and trees we hoped to include. The dogwood came two years ago and this past week we added a California redbud. I am looking forward to seeing it grow and mature…maybe next year it will bloom for us.

I invite you to take a closer look at your dogwood using the Handbook of Nature Study!

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Garden Update and Nature Journal Tutorial-Window Frame

Nature Journal Picture Frame Button

When we started our front yard remodel in 2010 I had no idea how much joy this space was going to bring to our lives. Each week it is a new palette of colors. The plants are really filling in this spring and new critters are moving in as well. Here are some glimpses into our garden and then a nature journal entry tutorial for you to give a try.

Lavender Yarrow and Butterfly Bush
Butterfly bushes, Yarrow, and Lavender – April 2012

Lavender is the main blooming plant on display right now. The bees love it and so do we!

Forsythia and Lavender
Along with the lavender is the forsythia, which contrasts so well with the lavender.

CA Poppies - Ready to Bloom
The poppies are just beginning to show signs of flower buds and they are just waiting to tip their “hats” and show their blazing orange colors.

Critter Hideaway Under Our Front Rocks

This is something new this week….a critter is making a home under my big rock! They have pulled the landscape material back and exposed a little space to hide in right there alongside my front path. I wonder who it is?

Yard Art with Lavender Yarrow and Butterfly bush

I still really enjoy watching our butterfly “fly” around in the breeze. It adds a little bit of whimsy to our front yard.

Nature Journal Tutorial- Window Frame

This project may at first appear to be a little complicated but I encourage you to give it a try. The finished project is so fun to look at and remember your nature time.

Nature Journal
Watercolor pencils and brush

Window Frame Beginning Step
Begin by sketching a frame that includes both pages in your nature journal.

Window Frame Pencil Sketch
Sketch your subject. I chose this butterfly bush sample to sketch. Just for fun I made it extend outside the frame.

Window Frame Journal Complete
Now you can add water to your sketch, a title, and a little detail sketch if you wish. Add some fun lettering along the one side…add a date (which I did after taking this photo) and you are finished.

I would love to see your version of this nature journal idea. Send them to You can find more of my Nature Journal Ideas on Squidoo. I also wrote this entry that might help you get started: 3 Tips for Nature Journals When You Think You Can’t Sketch.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Moss and Poppies: Living in the Cracks

I love carrying my little point and shoot camera with me when I walk. If something grabs my attention, I can seize the opportunity to capture the moment.

This morning the sun was shining, although the air was crisp. I was the only one out and about the neighborhood. I love that.

We live near a school and a few summers ago they built a sidewalk to nowhere. There really is no rhyme or reason to where it starts and ends. As puzzling as this sidewalk is, it allows me to walk with Kona any time I want without worrying that my shoes will get muddy. We take the brisk walk on the cement down the street to where the sidewalk dead-ends and then we turn around and come back. I have decided they built this sidewalk for me since I rarely see anyone walking on it at any time of the day.

Sidewalk to Nowhere and oaks
Here is the view at our turn around spot. There is a busy road here but the view is pretty with mostly oaks but also a nice mix of conifers.

Creek and Blackberries and thistles
The creek that runs here seasonally is covered in blackberries. I snapped this photo and then realized that there are thistles down here as well! I have my own little thistle patch within walking distance of my front door. You know I will be following their progress throughout the winter and then into spring.

We arrived back at the house in a much better mood than we started out…funny how that always happens no matter how short the walk. I took Kona off the leash and she did what she loves to do….run up to the deck to sit in the sun. I actually took a minute to notice that we have a welcome addition to the remodeled frontyard.

Moss Between the Pavers
We didn’t plan for this to happen but it is a great touch to our new paver walkway. Moss is growing in the cracks. I have always wanted a walkway with moss between the bricks. Thanks moss for inviting yourself!

Poppies in the Cracks
Not only moss but on closer inspection I noticed that there are California poppies emerging from between the cracks as well. I am going to leave them and see what happens as the winter progresses. We planted a scatter garden last fall and these must be volunteers from that batch.

Moss and Sage on My Rock
One last image for you: Here is one of the decorative rocks in our front garden with a bit of moss growing. But, isn’t it pretty with the sage blossoms that have fallen there…love the mix of color. My favorite combination of purple and green.

Another terrific day to be outside enjoying all the bounteous gifts to be seen. Now to make a cup of something warm to heat up these cold hands. Tea or coffee?

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Nature Study on an Ordinary Day – Autumn

Leaves in Kona's Dish

Sometimes it is nice to head out the door and see what comes your way, no assignments. My neighborhood is rather ordinary – no parks, very little sidewalk, lots of empty lots with weeds/wildflowers, and a busy street. I take my lovable Labrador for a walk every morning and in the late afternoon, sometimes with my camera and sometimes without. We head down our side street, around the corner and onto the sidewalk to walk alongside two open lots. Right now if you don’t stop to look closely you would think there wasn’t much there to be interested in. But wait! Don’t judge too soon because you might miss a few interesting things.

11 2011 Queen Anne's lace
Queen Anne’s Lace….in bloom….in November! Can you believe that? This is the latest I have ever seen with fresh blossoms in our neighborhood. I would have missed that if I did not slow down to look closely.

11 2011chicory
My neighbor has a fresh crop of chickory blooming as well and it is surprising to see it as late as this.

Sign at the storm drain
Now if my boys were younger we would take time to investigate this sign. Where does the water from our gutter go? The river is really far away and the creek is more of a trickle…is that where this water goes to? We will have to wait until the rains come again and try to figure it out. The gutter and sewer drain were put in last summer so this is something new to our neighborhood.

11 2011 Star Thistle
We have been on the look out for thistles and the lot has a whole field of star thistle. I was hoping to spot a purple thistle but no luck here in the neighborhood. We do know a spot along our walking trail that had thistles so we will need to hop over there one day this week to check it out. (Thistles will be this Friday’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.)

11 2011 Mystery flower
I love a good mystery and this flower is a mystery! There is a little patch of these growing on the hillside around the bend from the end of the sidewalk. Kona went four wheeling off the path and I stumbled onto these beauties. I really need to look them up in our field guide. See? It isn’t such an ordinary walk after all!

Heading back home I slipped the camera back into my pocket and we just enjoyed the sunshine and the time outdoors together.

Rounding the corner and into our drive, I smile at our front yard. Yes, it makes me smile every time I see it.

11 2011 Front Yard Remodel Fall
If you have been reading my blog for the last year you know we pulled up our grass in the Summer of 2010 and added drought resistant plants for a whole new look. Here is what our yard looks like today.

11 2011 Front yard sage
The star performers right now are the sage, the purple fountain grass, and the dogwood. Color! I love the feel and movement in this yard now that the grass is gone and the birds, butterflies, and bees have all moved in.

From ordinary to extraordinary in fifteen minutes! I challenge you to find something interesting on your next neighborhood walk. Comment and let me know what it is once you find it!

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Butterfly Days – Early Autumn Time Garden Update

9 12 11 Front Yard

It feels like fall and the front yard is starting to change and take on the colors of autumn. The leaves are starting to drop from the Tulip tree, blanketing the ground with a riot of yellows, oranges, and browns.

9 12 11 Front Yard Remodel Progress

Time for a front yard update! I can hardly believe this is the same yard that we planted last fall and saw come alive last spring. You can see my July Update post for several images of the garden. We have been able to cut our watering down to twice a week and I anticipate even less next summer once the plants are all established. It is amazing the color and variety you get even within drought resistance plants. I love this yard so much more than the old ordinary lawn we replaced.

Note: We live in a dry place. Normal summers mean NO rain at all and this was a dry summer. We have had somewhat cooler than normal temperatures up until the last ten days. The heat turned on and I have been closely watching the yard for signs that I needed to water a bit but the only thing I pulled the hose out for was to fill up the birdbath.

Textures in the Front Yard

One of my favorite aspects of this garden is the many textures and the movement that you notice when you watch it from the window. The grasses sway in the slightest breezes.

Front Yard Remodel Pink Grasses

Here is a close-up of the pink fountain grass. It is so very delicate and feathery.

White Butterfly Bush with Butterfly

One of our goals in plant choices was to have the yard become a habitat for living things….like these butterflies.

Butterfly Bush White with Butterfly

We also wanted fragrances and with the lavender, sage, and butterfly bushes all in bloom we have a yard that smells inviting to humans and other creatures.

Butterfly Bush White with Skipper Butterflies

If you look closely at the left bloom, there are two skipper butterflies stopping by to enjoy the flower this morning. The plantings also encourage the birds to visit and the hummingbirds can be seen daily in and out of this garden.

Butterfly Bush with Delicate Colors

Everything about this yard inspires me to be creative….the delicate pinks of the butterfly bush, the lavender of the sage, the crimson of the crepe myrtle. I just want to snap as many photos as I can so on a cold winter afternoon I can pull them out and paint some in my journal to cheer me up, reminders of warmer days.

Sage and a Butterfly

One last butterfly on the sage….this plant didn’t look very healthy at the beginning of the season but it loved the heat and sunshine. It made an amazing comeback. (I like the shadow of the sage on the rock below the butterfly…just like lace.)

Another great update showing the progress in our frontyard remodel. It has been a year since we underwent the big change and I have no regrets.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!