Remember the Cassia tree I staked out a silent auction for? It died, but don’t feel sorry for me, it left behind a lineage. Two months ago, I trimmed back its dead branches to form this au natural bottle tree.See that little squirt of a Cassia tree to the bottom-right? Today, it’s crowding out the bottles.And this formerly flying seed found a home in an empty pot on the other side of the patio. There’s nothing but bright yellow blossoms and butterflies to look forward to with this tree. The original came home with a cloudless sulpher caterpillar attached and attracted butterflies within days. Butterfly gardens usually require a combination of plants, and they take time to establish. A cassia tree is an insta-butterfly garden. It won’t attract more than the sulphur variety, but with their bright yellow and orange wings, they’re enough to enchant any garden.
Spring is here. Stems are sprouting, and seeds are dropping. Today I collected Milkweed seeds and the last of the Cassia seeds. The first Cassia already sprouted.
But the real fun was had with someone else’s seeds today. Cooper and John came home from a bike ride with a giant Mahogany seed a little over a week ago. Today Cooper brought it out from his room and asked if one of us had cut it open.
The actual seeds look like Maple seeds, but you can’t stick them to your nose – there’s no seam to split open…I tried. That was my childhood memory; John went straight to the helicopter trick.
It’s fascinating the strange and unexpected things that trigger memories. The first time I cut parsley as an adult, the smell overwhelmed me. It threw me back to my late grandmother’s kitchen, making bread crumbs. That was always my job. I’d cut the parsley from the garden and then climb up on my stool by the sink to wash it and put it in the food processor with the toasted bread. It’s one of my more vivid memories – maybe because it was something I could do myself, maybe because I still have a scar on my chin from falling off the stool, or maybe because of no other reason than that smell.
It’s been an uneventful and wonderfully warm New Year’s Eve so far. The temperature got up to the seventies, and I’m taking it as a sign of good things to come in the new year! Here are a few of the other good vibes my garden was giving off today:
Tiffany, my favorite rose in the garden because of her sublime scent, is about to bloom.
The Salvia is more beautiful and blue than my camera can portray.
The Cassia tree is starting to give me seeds.
And Lukey, he knows it’s going to be a good year because he spent half the afternoon in the garden gnawing on a ham bone.
Congratulations toUbermommy; she’s now uber-executive-director too. In her first three months on the job she led her team to a successful Buddy Walk, raising over $65,000 forManasota BUDS(Bringing Up Down Syndrome). And congratulations to me on winning the silent auction for a butterfly garden fromMariposa. John was still feeling guilty over the grapefruit tree, so he literally stood by the list for the last 15-20 minutes of bidding, adding my name the minute anyone else bid. No one was going home with that butterfly garden other than me. We mutually agreed afterwards that we felt bad about bullying Ubermommy with our eyes when she made an attempt to outbid me. To make up for it, she got a potted mini butterfly garden of yellow lantana, white button sage and milkweed.
The package was incredible, and the garden is already delivering butterflies. John’s diligence and devotion won me a cassia tree, passionflower vine, porterweed, two pentas, two milkweeds, three button sages, and three lantanas! Plus one other unidentified plant that also went to Ubermommy. There were 14 plants in total, and the cassia tree even came with a caterpillar!
I think it will turn into a sulphur butterfly, but then again it could be a moth. I couldn’t find confirmation in any of my field guides, and I really don’t care either way because the cassia is already attracting so many sulphurs. They’re an elusive group of butterflies, always flying through the garden but never landing. With all the different flowers planted over the years, there have been monarchs, fritillaries and swallowtails hanging around but never sulphurs. Now I have my missing piece – a cassia tree. It seems like every time I look out at it there’s a sulphur flitting around its flowers. The big win has greatly improved the view from our kitchen and Florida room windows. It was as if HGTV came in and gave us a mini-makeover. Here’s the before:
When we first planted the area, it was beautiful – two pink Perfume Delight roses surrounded by a bed of pink mums. It held up well for never changing out the mums and very rarely fertilizing the roses, but the weeds and grass took over and it was ready for an overhaul. Here’s the after:
The only thing it needs now is a little sign that says, “Ella’s Garden” because she’s the reason I walk every year. Go BUDS! Go Ella!