Eastern tiger swallowtail

A tiger swallowtail stopped by yesterday at the lantana, as if to prove my point from the previous post. From the time he spent on these flowers, I think he loves lantana almost as much as I do. I'm pretty sure it's a "he" from the lack of color around the "tail".


Love affair with Lantana

(Lantana "Sonset")

I've fallen hard for Lantana. It started as an innocent crush as a teenager visiting my grandparents in Georgia. I had never seen it as a child growing up in the Midwest, so the pure novelty of these beautiful flowers got me hooked at first.

Now I love lantana for a myrid reasons. Let me count the ways:

1) Attract butterflies
2) Tolerate hot and dry conditions
3) Thrive in the full sun of my backyard patio
4) Bloom consistently through spring, summer, and fall
5) Look great in beds and containers

What else can you ask for? Well, actually there are a couple things...and certain lantata cultivars have even more to offer.

How about a perennial lantana? Look no further than "Miss Huff". I've been amazed at how quickly these plants have grown since I first tried them out this spring. I've been warned they can become large shrubs after a while! They have the classic gold/orange coloration and are hardy even in Upstate South Carolina, zone 7.

How about pastel colors to suit my obsession with pink? Try "Sonset". The flowers are yellow at first but mature to beautiful coral and pinkish-purple shades.


The Compost Caper

My neighbor piles up his yard clippings in his backyard, forming large mounds with no apparent purpose. Meanwhile, I have this fantastic urban compost tumbler, plus an old-fashioned auxiliary compost pile, to fill up. Last night I actually contemplated using the cover of darkness to steal some grass clippings. Don't worry, I have not gone totally crazy; I'm planning to knock on the door and ask permission first. I still feel a little crazy.