Welcome! This blog is mostly about butterfly gardening, but other types of plants and gardens, as well as
other wildlife is blogged about too.
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted here.
A lot has happened since my last posts. Most relevant – I’ve gotten divorced and moved. So I no longer have the garden I had before. I have to start all over. It’s been going pretty slow too.
Last year I got a few plants started, nothing special. Some fennel for Black Swallowtails, a swamp milkweed, black-eyed susan. I had a baptisia too, but the deer got it! Didn’t have that problem at the other house.
A few days ago I happened to be outside and saw a Black swallowtail lay some eggs too! Still don’t have a decent camera to be able to photograph first instar caterpillars though.
I’ve got some other flowers blooming now – my yellow coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) and my purple milkweed!
Too bad they weren’t planted next to each other, I think they would look great blooming next to each other! Hmmm, I think I have some more Echinacea paradoxa seeds somewhere .. and a little space next to one of my purple milkweed – maybe next year!
My monarda, sometimes called bee balm, is blooming now! I don’t have a lot of plants that bloom very early in the spring/summer – but this is one of them.
My wild violets – Viola sororia – are blooming! They are so pretty when blooming in large groups. Unfortunately this year, since I’m behind in getting the garden cleaned up, some of them are covered by dead plant debris from last year. I got some uncovered over the weekend though:
My Bird’s Foot Violets (Viola pedata) are blooming too! Something has eaten some of them though.
See close up – you can see where the flowers were bitten off the stems:
I also have a prairie violet Viola pedatifida (I think that’s the right spelling), last I checked though it was just barely coming up, definitely no blooms yet.
Someone asked about how I keep my pupa over the winter. I used to have an enclosure that I could raise caterpillars in and let them pupate also. It started falling apart and I don’t have a new one yet. I don’t really raise that many anymore anyway, so I don’t have that many to overwinter.
The ones I do have I keep in canning jars, and use mosquito netting to allow air circulation but to keep predators out. They’ve usually pupated on sticks which I can then break to fit into the jar. And I keep the jar outside, usually close to the house.
Here is a picture of one jar from the top:
Here is just the lid and the netting:
The netting is the kind with only really small holes. Some parasitic wasps are very small and it has to be able to keep them out. Here’s a close up the netting, my camera doesn’t do close ups of tiny things though, so it may not be that helpful:
I think the purple milkweed flowers are the prettiest of the flowers of milkweeds! They bloom kind of early in the year – in fact mine are about done blooming how. Their leaves are thicker unlike the swamp milkweed but the monarchs still seem to like them.
This picture was taken a few days ago:
I mentioned Purple Cone Flowers – Echinacea purpurea – in my last post. Those are starting to bloom now too. I have many more of them, they are great nectar sources for butterflies that are around early in the summer. And then later when they go to see gold finches love to eat the seeds. Of course, I’ve also seen them pull the petals off the flowers too!
This is a picture of the first Purple Cone Flower I had bloom this year:
This is the first year my Echinacea paradoxa (yellow coneflower) has bloomed. They are a rather small plant- at least mine is, not so much in height but they don’t spread out very much. They only seem to have one flower on the plant, unlike the Purple Cone Flower – Echinacea purpurea. I started the ones I have now from seed and am trying to start more. I think I could find room for a few more in my garden. Gold finches love to eat the seeds from purple coneflowers, I am curious if they will be interested in these seeds too.
Malva is, I’m pretty certain, closely related to hollyhock. It is supposed to be a host plant for the Painted Lady butterfly, although I have not seen any on it yet. This is a variety which I had bought the seeds for quite a while back but never any luck with them before, but this year one of my plants is blooming very nicely!
Here is a close up of the flowers:
Here is the plant from a little distance:
My monarda has been blooming – starting to fade now but I took these pictures a few days ago. It is a nectar source, not a host plant. I wanted it in part to have something that would bloom early in the season. I don’t really see many butterflies in my garden this time of year yet, but its good to have something for them if they do stop by.
a close up: