National Butterfly Center, icebox pickles, sun scald, habitat makeover

Before we head to the garden, let’s go to the kitchen, where Trisha makes absolutely delish easy icebox pickles!

Refrigerator pickles Trisha Shirey for Central Texas Gardener

I couldn’t resist making a batch, flavored with garlic, hot peppers, and some really good dill seed from Penzeys’ Austin location. Oops, forgot to take a picture before I scarfed down half the jar.

Refrigerator pickles

What a kick to watch the transformation in just one day. Here’s Trisha recipe. Works great for cauliflower, okra, and lots more.

Back outside, I hope to see a little more butterfly action soon. It’s been a tough year for them and my plants that are usually so lively with them. Drought devastates our creatures, too. How interesting, though, that bougainvillea nectars butterflies like this Gulf Fritillary.

Gulf Fritillary butterfly on bougainvillea

Shoestring acacia is a drought tough tree that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. I adore the little fluffy flower balls!

Shoestring acacia

Daphne makes this Southwestern native her Pick of the Week.

shoestring acacia in bloom Austin Texas

Though lovely, it’s not the best choice for everybody. See if you qualify.

Now, did you ever consider how the bird and butterfly migration works hand in hand (or rather mouth to mouth)? Get inside stories on butterflies with Marianna Trevino-Wright and Max Munoz (Cowboy Max) from the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

Tom Spencer with guests from The National Butterfly Center

Find out why South Texas is home to so many unique butterflies.

Orion Cecropian National Butterfly Center Gray Cracker butterfly National Butterfly Center

And those butterflies that migrate: what happens on the way from your backyard to New Jersey and back?

Monarch butterfly on goldenrod The National Butterfly Center

And oh yes, before we dump all the blame on “elsewhere” for diminished populations, first let’s take a closer look at home.

Julia butterfly on Mexican flame vine National Butterfly Center

Now, here’s the ultimate road trip to see a bounty of butterflies! Clean off your camera cards and head to Mission for cute butterfly overload Nov. 2- 5 at the 18th annual Texas Butterfly Festival. Check out all that’s going on, thanks to the dedicated people at the NBC to preserve these essential creatures to our ecology.

Extend the trip at the 20th annual Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival, Nov. 6 -10. Incredible birds & speakers, too! And do check into Fiddlewood tree, a nectar & larval host for butterflies and berries for the birds.

Great Kiskadee on Fiddlewood tree National Butterfly Center

Tropical mandevilla attracts butterflies, too, and it’s a pretty annual vine for summertime. Question of the week comes from Marie, whose mandevilla is in a little trouble.

mandevilla sun scald

Get Daphne’s answer, which applies to many plants, including plumerias and even natives that can suffer from sun scald.

Our viewer picture comes from Daphne’s garden! What a cutie snuggling on her periwinkles.

Little frog on periwinkles by Daphne Richards

On tour in Kyle, see how Ida Bujan worked with her HOA to create an almost lawn-free garden with mostly native plants.

Habitat garden Kyle Texas

In a fairly small space, she crams it full of plants that attract resident and migratory animals, like on her carpet of frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) and perennial zexmenia (Wedelia texana).

Frogfruit lawn replace Kyle Texas

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda