Wednesday, October 19, 2011


There is something really nice about pottering about in the garden. I often go at lunchtime and get a pair of pruners and a trowel and walk around the beds trimming this or that, pulling a few weeds. If you do it often enough things stay looking reasonably good.
Yesterday I pottered a bit. I cut back the Scabiosas in the left bed - they are pretty much done flowering, and the way to cut them back so they grow again looking bush is to trim back all the dead stems, and any finished flower stems all the way down to the "crown" - the mound of leaves at the base. Cut the sticks all the way down so none are sticking up, and it looks neat.

I also watered in the two new Scabiosas Emily got for that spot, and cut all the dead branches off the Lupinus arborius there too. That lupine is seasonally deciduous in that location: it doesn't get enough water. I think we should remove it now, and replace it with something that can establish over winter, otherwise we'll have a dead-looking plant again from about June onwards and will have to look at the gap in the bed until October/November... I think a big yellow variegated Phormium would be a nice contrast for the Scabiosas. Right now the lupine and Scabiosa foliage are too similar.

I trimmed up some Calendulas by the brick path, watered the newly planted lamb's ears, Euphorbias, Scabiosas and Ratibidias, and noticed some lovely butterflies. The top one is unusual - haven't seen it before. I hopped over to and discovered the bottom one is, as I expected, a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) but the top one? No idea!


  1. I grabbed my copy of Butterflies of San Francisco and I would say that top one is a Gulf Fritillary. Same family as the Red Admiral, and according to the brochure, "the Gulf Fritillary is well established in the Mission District near Holly Park."

  2. Excellent work Dale! Agraulis vanillae is the Latin name - butterflies seem to get all the best Latin names.


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