Hatching Butterflies

>> Thursday, August 25, 2011






When planting our vegetable garden this year, our first, we decided to add some dill just for the butterflies!  Black Swallowtails use dill as a host plant.  I only planted one plant, thinking we'd be lucky if any butterflies found it.  Would you believe we had 14 caterpillars all on that one plant?  Needless to say, they decimated the plant and ate it down to absolutely nothing.  We plucked a few caterpillars off the dill and placed them in a safe place on our patio to go to chrysalis and hatch to butterflies.

Gorgeous, huh?  Needless to say, next year we'll be planting more dill!  We placed her out on the black-eyed susans to dry her wings and find her way around the garden.




I LOVE butterfly gardening!!!

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The Great Moo Poo Tea Experiment - Success!

>> Monday, August 22, 2011


I never would have believed it.  On June 24th this rose was all but dead.  All sticks, no leaves, dead. And now look at it!  Beautiful!!




If you haven't heard of Moo Poo Tea now is the time to jump online and order.  This stuff is unbelievable.  Annie has been so kind and so attentive to how my roses were doing after I told her about the condition of them at the beginning of the summer.  Just look what her fertilizer has done to my rose only 8 weeks later!

You know  the best thing about it?  Not only does it work, but I don't have to break my back carrying 40 pound bags of manure!  It's just in a bucket of water!

Thank you Annie.  You saved my roses!

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Vacation Time

>> Thursday, July 28, 2011

We're headed to our family cabin in Canada to enjoy a lot of this:




Hopefully my garden will not become a jungle while I'm gone!  See you all soon!!

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Raising Caterpillars to Butterflies

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Several years ago our hearts were captured by the miracle of a caterpillar emerging into a butterfly right before our eyes.  We raised about 15 monarch caterpillars and watched them hatch.  Ever since then we've been planting flowers and plants to feed them!  They are very picky eaters, so if you don't have their choice host plant in your garden, chances are, you won't see them stopping by!

This year, since we started a vegetable garden, we had to plant some dill, as this is the favored host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.  Only one of my dill plants made it through the harsh cold and wet spring, and it is now feeding 9 caterpillars!  I'm worried there isn't enough for all of them, but we'll see how it all plays out!

When they emerge they will look like this:

female
 male
Unfortunately near the end of their caterpillar stage, they can be targets for bird-food, so we may be making a safety house for them.  I'll keep you updated on our progress!

I can't wait to welcome them into the garden.

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Sweet Success!

>> Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh, the sweet success!!




And one VERY HAPPY new gardener!!

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More Butterflies have Arrived!

>> Thursday, July 21, 2011


This beautiful Red-Spotted Purple Swallowtail visited our garden last week.  I first spotted him on this tubing that is on the pump to our swimming pool.  He was there for quite a while, so I suppose he was trying to get some moisture.  Then he gently floated over to the hostas to sun himself, where he graciously allowed me to photograph him!

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Tomato Hornworms - YUCK

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unfotunately I have discovered one of the most disgusting creatures I have run across in a long time...and it was eating my tomato plants!!  The photo above doesn't look so bad, does it?  Looks like a harmless little caterpillar.

But just look at it when some wasps have laid their eggs inside the caterpillar!  They eat it from the inside out and then hatch, killing the caterpillar.  Talk about cannabalistic! ew



So the first thing I wanted to do was get rid of it.  Who wants that nasty thing hanging on the tomato plant?  So I quickly disposed of the ugly little fella.

After I took the photo, I headed into the house to check in with my #gardenchat buddies over on twitter to see what this creature might be.  Sure enough, they were quick to identify it, but I learned I should have left it on the tomato because the wasps that hatch will then become natural predators for any other caterpillars on the plant.  Ooops.  Do your research first!

Well a day later I found another one, so my mistake was corrected.  As much as it grosses me out, I left him out there so the wasps can have their way with it and guard my garden from any more invasions.

This very ugly creature eventually turns into some kind of hummingbird moth, but there are so many varieties, I couldn't find the exact one to be able to show you.

How about your garden?  Are the pests invading?

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I love gardening and I hope to share that passion with you, to inspire you to jump in and get your hands dirty!

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