Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Found the Island!

Yes! I finally found the desert island! And I have my 3 plants with me. Customs problems with the plants, computer problems(actually Internet interruptions) and the slow boat to China, have all delayed my arrival. But at last I can start my garden on this lovely island.

My first choice is the butterfly bush, Buddleia, a perennial in most zones. I let mine grow to whatever height is wants and only deadhead. This bush can be kept trimmed-but why? These 5" to 6" blooms are such eye candy.

To say it attracts butterflies is an understatement. It is truly a butterfly magnet! It's scent is especially tantalizing to butterflies. At times there were dozens of butterflies on the blooms at one time.

Mine is the dark purple, but it does come in several other colors, even a new bi colored one is now available. I am going to have to check that one out. The more bushes the more butterflies!

My second choice surprised me a little. While looking back through my pictures of bloomers this past summer, I found these glorious gentle giants-sunflowers. Originally I planted them as part of the bee counting project, but was enthralled by their beauty and the birds that also came. Finches by the dozens found the seeds as soon as they started to mature. For many weeks I could look out my window and see those bright yellow and black birds doing all sorts of acrobatics to get at the seeds.

And the bees did come! Not in as great a numbers as I had hoped for, but enough to pollinate the flowers and get covered from wing to the bees' knees in pollen. (sorry, I couldn't resist the old saying!)

My last choice was a toss up between the 'Heavenly Blue' morning glory and my beloved zinnias. As you can see, Blue won out! I don't think any one annual has captured my attention more than this mistake. Some of you may remember I bought this plant as a 'Moonflower'. When the first bloom finally opened and it was blue, I was so disappointed. But Blue just kept growing and flowering-hundreds of blooms each day-for months. She won my heart completely.

These gorgeous flowers brought me untold joy each day. Not to mention the attention they garnered from my neighbors and passersby. Bees of all types could be seen disappearing into their throats and coming out dripping with golden pollen.
The choices were harder than I thought they were going to be. As gardeners we love to surround ourselves with all sorts of blooms and plants. Our goal is to have something always providing color and interests and to attract wildlife and provide sustenance for them. I hope with my choices that is what I have achieved.
Shirl at Shirl's Garden Watch has certainly provided us with a very interesting challenge. One that I have enjoyed immensely. On these cold grey days of winter it was wonderful to see others' beautiful choices and see the color of warmer days. Thanks, I've had a wonderful time!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

It was a surprisingly difficult job to choose just three plants wasn't it Beckie?

I love your choices and i wasn't a bit surprised that you chose the Morning Glory. Your love affair with them has made me think about planting them again.

That last picture is just beautiful. The composition with the blooms seemingly blending in with the sky of blue.

I am glad to see that you are back online. I wondered what in the world was going on since we hadn't heard from you in some time.

Rose said...

I'm so glad you made it to the island, Beckie! Of course, there are many other garden bloggers here to talk gardening with, but it just wouldn't have been the same without you!

Like Lisa, I wasn't surprised at all by your choice of the Heavenly Blue--that would cover the island with the most beautiful shade of blue in no time. But I never would have guessed the Butterfly Bush or the sunflowers. I would have thought you would bring one of your roses. I guess this just shows how far we've come in the last year, paying as much attention to the wildlife in our garden as to the blooms.

Any luck with your camera?

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Great choices. The Heavenly Blue morning glory is one of my favorites. See you at the beach.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hello there Beckie !
I love your shot of our island girl !
I really like your choices too .. buddleia ! I should have thought of that too .. that honey scent and beautiful flowers .. sunflowers and that Heavenly Blue Morning Glory .. there were a few others that picked the same MG ..
I had a seed packet in my hand while shopping a few days ago .. but I made this pact with a friend about no seeds this year (we are trying to kick the habit ?? LOL)
Very wise choices that we can share with you ? please ?? LOL

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Great choices! It was difficult to just select three plants, wasn't it? You, could have cheated like me and tucked some zinnia seeds into the suitcase!

I'm hoping my butterfly bush will be larger this year and attract more butterflies to the garden. I had moved it to another location and I think it has been in transplant shock.

Roses and Lilacs said...

The butterfly bush is gorgeous. I agree with your choice of annuals. And just think, a little careful seed saving and the whole island will be blooming in a few years. I wonder how palm trees look with morning glory twining up the trunks?

joey said...

Lovely color combo, Beckie! Had a feelin' your 'Heavenly Blue' morning glory would be with you :) Do hope Thelma & Louise can find my woodland tent on the island and pop over for hugs and S'mores around a hearty campfire!

Susie said...

I could just feel the warmth of summer bouncing off that last picture of your morning glory.

Can't blame you for picking the other two either. The butterfly bush is a great plant. Mine in GA always seem to attract more bumble bees than butterflies though. I transplanted two(very small ones) this year closer to my patio. They had not grown at all where I had originally planted them.

I've not grown sunflowers but they are so pretty. They definitely remind me of summer.

tina said...

Those darned customs officials! They do tend to slow travel down, but it is all in good faith. Glad you made it! Love the plants but especially the sunflowers, they will be a welcomed addition to the island-anyone bring the salt?

Cheryl said...

Really lovely choices Beckie....your island will be colourful for sure....also full of insects.
Morning Glory had to one of your favourites.....that plant was just amazing......the best mistake you ever made, I think?

Love the first photo....couldn't you just be on that island sipping a nice pina colada??
Great butterfly shots......

perennialgardener said...

Better late than never Beckie! I love the choices you picked. You will have a smorgasboard (sp?) for the birds & butterflies! And look at all the seeds you will have to spread these beauties all around the island too.

kathleen said...

Yay. That was fun reading your choices Beckie! I almost took the butterfly bush too. Love your other choices as well. I haven't grown morning glories for awhile ~ I might need to try some this year. I remember seeing pictures of yours last year and thinking how pretty they were. Now if only we could be on that island today and out of this deep freeze!!

beckie said...

Lisa, I plan on putting 'Blue' on the deck this year along with a true Moonflower. The higher part of the deck should give them both plenty of room to grow.

I've been leaving comments, but just couldn't come up with much to write about. And...I lost my camera! I was so upset. Didn't have too many pictures on the memory card at least. Will have to wait til tax time to get a new one. :}

Rose, I did think about the roses, but as you said they are fussy and those dan Japanese beetles would surely find them! We have become quite the butterfly and bee watchers haven't we.

beckie said...

Debbi, wouldn't it be great to spend a few peaceful warm days on the beach of an island? The seeds came today and Rose and I had such fun going through them. This was great fun for a dreary winter's day.

Garden Joy, I want to check out getting a couple more butterfly bushes. I'd love a pink one and that bi-colored one looks beautiful. Of course I would share seed!

beckie said...

Robin, it took a couple of years before our butterfly bush really took off. I wait til spring to trim it now. Most years it starts to leaf out on the old wood and doesn't have to grow from the gorund up. Those years it gets huge.

Marnie, the vision of a palm tree with a morning glory growing up it made me laugh. As much as 'Blue' grew this year-it would have gone to the top!

beckie said...

Joey, now doesn't a camp fire on the beach of an island sound like a wonderful idea! :}I wouldn't even think about all the snow back home.

Susie, we get a lot of bees too-all kinds and sizes. I'm sure your bushes will look great by your patio. I read where they can be used as a privacy hedge. I think they like a well drained area.

The sunflowers were such a joy. I'd never grown them before and they made me smile each time I saw them. You should try a few and then sit back and watch the birds and bees.

beckie said...

Tina,I don't think we will get a chance to use the salt-the birds eat the seeds very quickly!

I sent the seeds to you today. Rose and I had such fun seeing all the diferent kinds and picking out what we wanted. I may have gotten carried away. :}

Cheryl, thank you! Yes, it was one of those 'happy' mistakes. But 'Blue' made a believer out of me. I'd never seen such beautiful blue blooms. Hey, if I could think of another 'b' word, I could use BBBB like Gail does with her PPPP!

Pina Coladas-heaven!

beckie said...

Racquel, our island won't be big enough soon as we will keep making new beds for all our plants!

The older I get, the later I am. :}

Kathleen, I am so tickled you can comment now! The newer varities of Morning Glories are wonderful. I guess I hadn't been paying attention the last few years to all the improvements in them. 'Blue' had flowers 5-6" across.

Did you get any of this snow? Were at the north edge of it and have 4 or 5" so far. Thank goodness we didn't get the ice this time.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the closeup of the sunflower--it's so bright and sunny. Just what I need during yet another snowstorm. My three are white pine, heuchera, and pansies. Maybe.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I do so love your choices, Beckie! I have the same dark purple buddleia, and enjoy it so much. Sunflowers sound wonderful...the birds will have a constant source of seed! And those gorgeous blue morning glories I LOVE. I've grown them from seed and soaked the seed first, then made a tiny cut into them, put them in the ground and they are so, so pretty:) I'll get a plot next to yours so I can enjoy the colors!!

Gail said...

Three absolutely perfect choices Beckie! I just knew that you would have to choose that wonderful heavenly Blue Morning Glory! It just shouted out how much you loved it every time we got a peak at it! I am seriously thinking about planting this beauty on the fence ...I have the seeds already (Burpee)...any suggestions on how to get them started?

The other two are surprises... I did for sure think Zinnias! Wasn't this fun! I keep thinking of Spring Fling and how that will be our island visit! Can't wait!

Take care and keep warm.


Wendy said...

Oh what fun! I've been reading about others' trips to the deserted island and enjoying the show of beautiful flowers.
I tried to get there on my dogsled, but the dogs ran away and left me in the snowbank.
I hopped on the back of a snow rabbit and he took me the wrong way! So now I'm sitting in the North Pole freezing my buns off!
{{sigh}} too late to join you on your island. LOL.

I do sooooo remember your stunning morning glories. It must have been very difficult to choose just 3 plants.
Your photos were a welcome sight today. If I look outside my windows all I see is snow (really)!

Laurie and Chris said...

Such pretty pictures!! Aw Sunshine!!! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

I love your choices! Buddleias are great, I get great joy from seeing mine with the butterflies on it, and sunflowers are such happy flowers that they always make me smile!Morning Glory is so fabulous when the sun is on it and will sit so well beside the other two. Your island will be a great place to be!

Sue said...

I have not had 3 plants come to my brain, so haven't participated in this adventure, but I sure have enjoyed reading others' posts, and seeing their lovely pics. I love your plants, too.

Naturegirl said...

Beckie: I love your choice of flowers to take to the big island w/ you! Butterfly bush.Happy Sunflowers. Glorious mornings with the Morning Glories! Perfect choices!

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie....just to let you know that I have emailed you to thank you properly for my beautiful gifts and card.....

Mountain Mama said...

Can I come to your island?
Oh what fun it would be to have a garden in a tropical climate!
I have three Butterfly bushes. My cousin gave me the first one several years ago and it is a lavender pink color, I bought a lavender blue one and the Black knight. The first one is huge now. I used to cut it back every year but have let it go the past two years. I didn't deadhead either but it still had lots of flowers last summer. In the late fall and winter little birds are all over it to get the seeds, then they distribute them all over the yard so I have bushes growing everywhere.
I absolutely love the blue glories. They are magnificent!!! We could let them grow up the palm trees on the island.

Randy Emmitt said...

Nice photos of the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. They are our favorite also. Last year they grew up from under our porch all the way up the 9 foot wall on the porch.