Sunday, August 2, 2015

Armadillo Blues

Our yard is under armadillo attack.
These funny looking little dinosaurs have grubbed around a bit during the past few years, but they didn't do too much damage, so we were willing to share our plot of land. There's a nice southwestern weirdness about them, and it's always fun to see the local wildlife.
But now things have gotten out of hand.

It's not just that they throw dirt all over the place, and toss stones about, and destroy my twig edgings.

They dig deep holes around the plants, tearing up the roots.

That leaves the poor plants exposed for five or more days until we can leave the city and return to the lake.  In this heat the plants die pretty quickly with their roots uncovered.

This little evergreen and the camellia behind it are deeply distressed.
I tucked the ajuga back in and most of them look like they will make it, but all the annuals died.

Here is a lovely patch of purple mazus before...

...and here is the same spot after an armadillo had lunch on what ever grubs and worms were living underneath the plants.

Apparently armadillos were once much larger (yikes!). 
The small version is trouble enough.

They ignore being shouted at, and are not afraid of the dog.
They do have a strong aversion to being sprayed with the hose and can run pretty fast!
But we are going to put up an armadillo fence - more on that project later.

I did finish planting prostrate rosemary along the front curve of the driveway garden. 

The Black Diamond crepe myrtle continue to be excellent performers!

The millettia reticulata is in bloom for the first time. This is it's third summer. Sometimes called evergreen wisteria, it is not related to real wisteria (Wisteria senensis).

And the desert willow trees are in bloom with their lovely orchid-like flowers.

Here is one of the passion flower vines looking just as it should - completely devoured!
Brilliant orange caterpillars are still foraging on it, while the butterflies have moved on to the butterfly bush nearby.

Happy gardening, friends!


  1. I had no idea that armadillos would get into your yard and damage things.

  2. Oh they do look creepy, Suzanne! yuck. So will a fence keep them out? They really do look prehistoric!
    I love that desert willow tree: never heard of it before, but such gorgeous flowers. It's so fascinating to see gardens from different parts of the country and what grows and does not grow...

    1. Yes, (fingers crossed), an electric fence about one foot high. We have the parts on order. It seems so drastic,but we are just about the only people in the neighborhood who don't have one.
      The desert willows are lovely. I planed a second smaller one earlier in the spring. It just started to bloom this week - I'll have to get another photo because the flowers are a deeper lilac color.
      Happy gardening, Libby!

  3. OMG, the 'Black Diamond Red Hot' Lagerstroemia is gorgeous! Thanks for showing those.

    Armadillos sound like gophers with shells. Only they carry Leprosy, I understand. The fence will be a excellent idea.

    I very much like your 'Spark' work in 'Change series'. It is like a garden where there are some architectural plants with sharp forms amidst shrubby plants.

    1. Thank you! You are right, I have seen those shapes on many of your posts exploring unusual plant collections. Everything we see must get "recorded" somewhere, creating subtle influences.

  4. Ooops, forgot to ask: do the black Lagerstroemias have fall color in your area?

    1. Hi H.B.,
      The Black Diamonds hold their deep color and their leaves into late fall, early winter. I love the way their very dark color helps to "cool" the landscape by bringing to mind deep shade!
      I have noticed that their seedlings have the same flower color, but dark green leaves instead of the deep purple color. I've saved several to transplant in other areas.
      Happy gardening and continuing to wish both of us some more rain!