Sunday, August 13, 2017

Monarch education

Monarch Butterfly: National Geographic

I took all these photos (below) of the butterfly that was feeding on my Butterfly Bush (buddleia Black Knight). I'm thinking that this is a Monarch, but something kept nagging at my brain. I really am not sure if this is a Monarch and wondered what it was and how is it different?
Swallowtail Butterfly: Ann Bailey
I never claimed to be an expert but soon found out I really don't know much about Monarchs. I found out that they are orange, maybe a bit golden, but mostly orange. My guy is yellow - a pale yellow. I learned that he is a Swallowtail Butterfly.


The most important thing about Monarchs is that they feed on everything, but lay their eggs ONLY on Milkweed. Very unusual.
He's so pretty, but I feel bad that his wing is torn and I wonder how it affects him.
I planted five Butterfly bushes this summer, so I'm happy to know the Swallowtails and bees and other buzzing creatures will be happy! Not sure if Monarchs visited...

I've been planting feverishly (it's been so hot) this summer. My plantings are mostly driven by economics and what I can get on sale - or free. I wasn't thinking about milkweed. But I am now. I will search to find at least one Milkweed to plant this Fall if it is advisable.

For a wonderful site on Monarchs and how to bring them to your garden, go here .

So, do you have milkweed, and hopefully Monarch visitors?

Happy gardening, my friends!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Moonflower miseries....

My love affair with moonflowers (Datura metel) continues on , even in its ups and downs. The photo below was taken at the end of last summer. You can see the wonderful spiny seed pods hanging off the plant, indicating hope for its future. I would let them "ripen" and when the seeds were bulging out of the pod, I sprinkled the dried seeds all over the bottom of the little plot of soil I prepared for them surrounding the mother plant. I lightly covered them with nutritious soil and put them to sleep for a long winter's nap.
When Spring came, I kept impatient watch over my Moonflower patch. One warm Spring morning my efforts were rewarded with a few hundred sprouts peeking up through the dirt. I was so excited - I would have Moonflowers all over my yard!

Two days later, I walked into my garden to check on things. I stopped cold in my tracks. EVERY SINGLE SEEDLING HAD DISAPPEARED!

I was heart-broken. I stared at that empty spot for weeks and weeks. How could this have happened? Daturas are poisonous. I loved how they didn't seem to get eaten by too much. I had to have 200 seedlings in my spot. It had to be the rabbits. I hope they thoroughly enjoyed their Spring salad. Hope they didn't get a tummy ache...... 

I sprayed the heck out of my Moonflower spot with two different organic sprays - one for insects and one for fungus - just in case some moonflower was struggling to appear.

As the weeks went by a few seedlings appeared and now I have ONE plant, for which I'm grateful.

I'll definitely have to figure this out and do something different this year. Well duh, right??

Here's this year's Moonflower:

Are you growing Moonflowers yet?

Happy gardening, my friends!

Photos: Ann Bailey