By this time last year, my passionflower vine was producing so many flowers and subsequent Gulf fritillary butterflies that I could barely keep up. I referred to her as Audrey II (and, apparently, a “her”) as she wildly attempted to consume everything her tendrils could grab onto. This year, just before I planted the sunflower and wildflower seeds, I yanked out quite a few of her vines that were already coming back to life. Unfortunately I miscalculated and ended up pulling too much of Audrey II out of the ground. As a result, my passionflower vine is just now making headway across my iron porch railing. There have been no butterflies and very few bees hanging around my veggies and flowers this year – is this why I still have no tomatoes and only three okra pods? Bah, but I fear I may have contributed to the potential decline in the number of Gulf fritillary butterflies this year, so…I’m sorry.
Anyway, all this butterfly business (or lack of) seemed like a good enough reason to go out to the local nursery and buy more flowers. I lie – it was a good reason, but I really just wanted more flowers. This time I was smart about it, though, and only brought home flowers that are known to attract pollinators: bee balm, echinacea, black-eyed Susans, and Speedwell. If I’d had more money and know-how, I would have bought the place out.
Along with these, I also came home with a very healthy basil plant and two lemon balms. It was suggested that the lemon balm would help ward off the mosquitoes that have moved into Oklahoma City along with a weird push of humidity. The lemon balm didn’t seem to work, though. I like to think of myself as a tough Southerner who can handle the elements of summer, including mosquitoes, but I have a feeling my year in Oklahoma has made me subconsciously exchange certain parts of my old character for new ones.
For example, the Oklahoma wind doesn’t bother me as much as it used to and my excessive consumption of sweet tea is no more. A fair trade considering where I now live…