Tag Archives: Flower Gardening

For the Love of Butterflys

     I BREAK FOR BUTTERFLYS should be on the bumper of my car.  I love these beautiful creatures. 
     This year, in the garden, I attribute them as the pollinators of my green beans.  They are little yellow butterflys, no bigger than a moth.  I don’t know their name and they are too fast to take a picture of. 
     I was recently reading an issue of Country Gardens magazine (summer 2012) and discovered an article called “Of Milkweed and Monarchs, Plant milkweed to help pollinators: Monarch larvae depend on it for their survival.” by Anne Raver.  I was astounded by the news I read which explained how important milkweed is to the Monarch butterfly and how the population has dwindled over the years.  The article is too long for me type and I couldn’t find it online, so here some excerpts from the article.

     “Common milkweed and it’s cousins, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed, to name a few in the milkweed family, are crucial to the Monarch butterfly.  The female lays her eggs on the underside of a milkweed leaf, and the larvae feast on the leaves.  Milkweed is the only food these caterpillars eat, though the adult butterflys will sip nectar from many flowers.  And so, if milkweed disappears from the face of the Earth – destroyed by herbicides, mainly – so, too, will the beautiful black, orange, and white Monarch butterfly.”
     “The main culprit, scientists say, is Roundup, or glyphosate, the popular herbicide farmers spray on million of acres of soybeans and corn that have been genetically modified to tolerate the weed killer.  According to Chip Taylor, Ph.D., a professor of insect ecology at The University of Kansas and director of Monarch Watch (monarchwatch,org), milkweed has disappeared from 100 million acres of corn and beans grown in the middle of the United States.  These fields, which used to be dotted with milkweed and other familiar weeds such as chicory and Queen’s Anne’s lace, are in the Monarch butterfly’s migration path.
     Monarchs, of course, are the heroic butterflies that can fly as far as 2,000 miles from their northernmost range in the eastern provinces of Canada, down through South Dakota and Texas, on their way to the Transvolcanic Range of centeral Mexico, where they cluster by the million in the  oyamel fir forests.”
     “Since the 1990’s, when over wintering Monarch populations covered an average of close to 23 acres in Mexico’s fir forests, numbers have plummeted to cover as few as 5 acres.”
Monarchs on Fir in Mexico

     About the migration: “The fall migrators are born in late summer, without the hormone necessary for reproduction.  If they ae lucky, the make it all the way to Mexico.  In mid-February, when temperatures raise above 55 degrees F., those same butterfly’s awaken, triggering the hormone that will prompt them to mate when they touch down on a milkweed somewhere in the southern United States on their flight back north in spring.  some females scatter eggs over 1,000 miles, and most die before they reach their spring home.  But those eggs hatch into larvae – that will eat your milkweed, if you plant it – and develop into butterflies that continue the journey.  They mate and lay eggs as they go, and these offspring grown up to fly north.  So, as Taylor puts it, the grandchildren or even the great-grandchildren of that monarch that made it to Mexico for the winter could be sipping nectar in your garden the next summer.”

The website Monarch Watch encourages people to plant milkweeds in gardens and create a Monarch way station.  “Which can be as simple as planting 10 or more milkweed plants, of two or more species, in our gardens.  A truly effective Monarch way station, he says, is at least 100 square feet and includes a number of milkweed species as well as others flowering plants.”  Their are over 100 different species of milkweed and you can find some of them here, with pictures, (http://www.monarchwatch.org/milkweed/guide/index.htm) on the Monarch Watch website.
(end of excerpts)
Butterfly Milkweed, one of my favorite wildflowers.http://www.butterfly-weed.com


Work and gardening don’t mix sometimes

Garden 4-9-12

     The garden on Monday 4-09-12.  Potatoes in the foreground, the onions are next to them but you can’t see them well.

Arrived home from work on Tuesday and my Dad had bought his watermelon, cantalope, and tomato plants.  He as usual was in a hurry to get them in the ground. I managed to put him off till the next day.  So, yesterday after work I planted his 8 tomato plants, my 4 sweet bananna pepper plants, and 4 orange bell pepper plants.  I also planted some carrot seed planting strips.  Planting strips?  Yes something new I found; made by Ferry-Morse.  The seeds are incased in a strip of paper.  To plant you dig a shallow trench, lay down the strip and cover with dirt. Done.
Here’s a picture of the package front.

Today I was too tired after work  to plant anything so I took some pictures of my Herb Garden,  Flower Garden and I put the plastic circles around the tomato plants. 
Note: To make plastic circles you cut a plastic pickle bucket in half and  cut out the bottom; giving you 2 circles.  You place one circle around each plant pushing it into the dirt.  This plastic circle allows water to gather around the plant watering the roots instead of just draining away.  These come in handy during the summer months when you have to water your plants.  At the end of the season save the circles and use them next year.    I promise to take a picture and post it so you can see what I’m yaking on about. :O)
BTW:: If you have a Firehouse Sub resturant in your area they sell their pickle buckets to customers.

     Here’s a pic of my herb garden sofar this year. 

        Back row (left to right):: Lavender and Rosemary
        Front (left to right):: Sage, Basil and Oregano
The lavender and sage are blooming right now.  This is their second year here in the herb garden along with the Rosemary.

Here’s a pic of my Flower Garden sofar this year.

The flower garden remains a work in progress; each year I add more to it.  Last fall I added two hibiscus bushes and I’m waiting to see if they’ve survived the winter.   That is moss covering the ground.  I am hoping that it will cover it completely one day.

Gardening Tips & Flower Garden


Coffee Grounds
Used coffee grounds make excellent earthworm food.  Earthworms will multiply rapidly by adding coffee grounds to a compost heap.                            ~ Phillip Smith, New York

Cabbage butterfies are repelled by tomatoes, rosemary, sage, and peppermint.  Plant any of these along side your cabbage plants.                ~ L.F. Easterbrook

Nasturtiums among fruit trees will reduce destructions by aphids.           ~ L.F. Easterbrook
(Note from Me:  Nasturtiums also work well in the garden next to squash plants to keep aphids at bay.)

To control insects:  Mix powdered garlic and black pepper in equal parts in a pint of hot water.  Let it sit till it cools by about half, then strain through a dairy straining pad or something similiar.  It sprays easily from a had sprayer and really stops the bugs.                ~ Martin Stansbury, Illinois

    This morning was so nice, 65 degrees, that I went out and worked in my flower garden.  The flower garden is in front of the house; it is a work in progress. I’m a bit disappointed; all my tulips have not come up yet and I am concerned that a mole ate the bulbs.  I was reading in a issue of Organic Gardening about baring your soil.  The article recommended raking away your mulch to allow the soil to warm up in the spring; giving the plants and bulbs the needed warmth and sun to emerge out of the ground.  The article did suggest keeping your mulch or ground-up leaves so you could put it back later when the summer sun heats up.
     I took this advice and raked the largest dead leaves away uncovering the ground-up (mulched) leaves I placed their last fall.  This leaf mulch was about 2″ thick so I raked away enough leaving just a thin layer.  I’m hoping that this will allow the tulips that haven’t emerged encourgement to do so.
    I did find a new growth in the other flower bed.  Did I mention there are two in the front?  Anyway, it looks like a bulb growing but don’t ask me what it is I have forgotten I even planted anything there.  I do have some hycintha bulbs I need to get in the ground, it’s a bit late so I may just wait till fall to plant them.
   I bought two new plants for the flower garden; ‘Hawaii Blue’ Ageratum and ‘Silverdust’ Dusty Miller.  I’m going to wait till Monday or Tues. to plant them.  Monday starts a few days of above ground planting.