Welcome to my Western Pennsylvania garden. Join me on a "Walk Down the Garden Path".

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Story of a Poor Butterfly Bush

I have to admit that I am ashamed to have to call this "The Story of a Poor Butterfly Bush", with poor being the operative word. I am so ashamed, I didn't even take a before picture. There is no way I could post it, so why even bother taking it.

My husband planted this bush at least a couple years ago on one of our problem banks. This is where the trouble starts. Our property is riddled with these banks which are covered in vetch which, if you want to keep the hillsides cut down it is a time consuming job better suited to a mountain goat. But since it was a nice sunny spot and he was optimistic about being able to maintain this area, that's where he planted it.

Since it is not really in a nice and tidy bed, it had been forgotten this year. And for various reasons, we haven't been keeping the hillsides as trimmed and the grass cut as short as we have in the past. This is not really a problem because it is very rural where we live, but back to the Butterfly Bush.

I didn't even realize it was still alive. But a couple of weeks ago my husband asked me if I had time during the day, would I clean out around it. So last week, on one of those gorgeous days, I did just that. Part of the reason for waiting is that it had been too darn hot to be wearing boots out in the yard. And now you are asking, why would you have to wear boots. The first reason goes back to the fact that despite all my hill climbing work, I am not a mountain goat and I don't want to twist my ankle working on these hills. The second reason is this guy or some relative of his, whom I was afraid might be lurking about on the hillside.

This guy was in our garage on Saturday, but more on him at a later date.

So with my boots on, I was able to clear out all the vetch and cut out the dead branches. I then put some mulch around the base to try and discourage the vetch from coming back. The result is this. Now, I know this still doesn't look great, but it's a vast improvement from the before.

You can't really tell from the picture but there are several flower heads getting ready to bloom. So soon, this guy will have another choice for his dining pleasure.

Thus ends our tale. It is a hopeful ending. Hopeful that I can keep things nice for our dear Butterfly Bush and it can thrive here at our lovely home and become a feeding ground for many lovely flying friends.


tina said...

Can't wait to hear about your snake. What type? Butterfly bushes are truly survivors.

Cindy said...

I believe it is a black rat snake. We see them around every year and although they are not poisonous I don't want to step on one or surprise one and get bit. My upcoming post will be on attempting to catch (and hopefully catching) this one. Yes that's right, he is still in my garage!

tina said...

I am glad you did not kill him as they are good for the garden, but no, I would not want to get bit. Good luck!

Cindy said...

Oh no, we never kill them. It's more of a catch and release program. But you have to catch them first. This one went behind the wall in the garage (it's a detatched one), so we have to wait until he appears again.

tina said...

Thank you so much for saying you don't kill the snakes. I think it sad to kill something you know nothing about and clearly, rat snakes will not harm you and even help by eating the voles and rats. I have too many here for my kitty to catch by herself but oddly enough, I rarely see snakes though we do have some.

Cindy said...

I wish this snake would eat some of the chipmunks running around here. They are the latest pest in my garden - nibbling my tomatioes. But I don't think we have many voles, so I guess I have mr. snake to thank. haha.

DP Nguyen said...

What a scary snake! Yikes. they scare me.

I wish luck to the butterfly bush in its new location. that butterfly picture is so pretty!

Cindy said...

DP ~ Yes, they look scary, but they really are helpful in eating other pests (mice, etc.)
And thank you, I'm glad you like the butterfly picture.

Sarah said...

Cindy we were just talking about planting some butterfly bushes today. We're hoping to have a bird/butterfly garden area. I'm glad yours survived!
That snake picture is TERRIFYING. Seriously. I'm afraid of encountering garter snakes when I garden, I think I would throw up and pass out if I ever saw that creature.

Eve said...

It ain't where you start, it's where you finish. : )

Cindy said...

Sarah - Oh, you'll love the butterfly bush. Just don't let it get neglected like ours, although as you can see they are survivors!
My husband took that picture. I didn't see the snake in the garage because I was busy with other stuff that day but I did see him a week or so before that outside the garage and I ran away. Now whenever I feel anything touch my legs I jump because I think it's a snake, of course it's not (thank god!)

Cindy said...

Eve - Yes that's so true! And let's hope it's a strong finish!