Daily Pictures #94

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

A friend found and gave me a pop up dog crate which will be put to good use! I swear when I saw it I thought it was for laundry, but the side/door says something like "Super Paws". There is mesh fabric on 2 of the 4 sides of the rectangle at least 4' long. Maybe 2' high. The end has a zippered "door" with mesh on it too.

Another score for the butterfly habitat but I will have to find a place to start lining up all these campers. Maybe I need to add on to the tiny playhouse/converted to my "hidey hole" and make a greenhouse/butterfly conservatory. Hmmm! There's a neat idea! :)

Portland, TX(Zone 9b)

Here you go Crit. The only problem with this design is that the frass collects at the bottom, and there is no way to empty it. I bought some black mesh at Walmart and my wife sewed on some elastic and made the top removable...like a shower cap. I might have her make another "shower cap" and cut the bottom out so I can empty the frass. They make a lot of it! I brought this batch in and within 1 day they were all cocoons. All of the rest of the gulf fritillaries eclosed today. Most took 9 days, some took 11 days. Successful releases on all of them. Tally so far in the new hatchery 2 monarchs, 7 fritillaries. I have been looking for BSTs, cloudless sulphurs and buckeyes on the other host plants, but haven't found any yet.

Too cool!

Russell



This message was edited Apr 25, 2012 7:25 PM

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Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I'm still enjoying this thread,great pic's and info,folks.The rarest visitor to mine is the great star spangled frittilary ,only I won't see them until july if at all.

Grand-Falls, NB(Zone 4a)

The BST chrysalis turned moldy. i had kept it in the garage, it must of been to humid in there for it. But the Polyphemus moth cocoon all look fine. I will move them outside in a shady spot this week and wait. I'm expecting them to eclose at the beginning of June.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Caught a skipper basking in the sun.

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

And the usual duskywings are in the yard.

Melanie

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Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

What a morning! heavy rain &wind. Now the sun is out and I just saw a pretty light butterfly with a black spot flutter by.

Not sure if this is the right place for this,but I wonder if anyone has used a pre-planned butterfly/hummer garden? Got any pictures of the finished result or recommendations?
I have a space that i want to fill and want to attract BFs and Hummers as well as add a bird bath.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Saw a Red-Spotted Purple circling my cherry tree but it's too high up to hope to find catepillars. : (

Scarlet, I would make sure the pre-planned garden includes host plants as well as nectar plants. Too many of them seem nectar-plant heavy to me.

Melanie

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

I've seen those roll-out strips of seeds that are for bf's and hummers. That is about the best I can do for you. Not much infor here, huh? LOL

I saw a bf, of course did NOT have my camera, that I did not recognize. It was a dusty golden color with dots on the back wings. Kinda plain but really pretty at the same time. Does that make sense?

My yard is just FULL of Red Admirals. They adore the waterholes with the brew on them. Am anxious for more bf's to arrive!

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the input. I will probably end up searching the free plans and then pick and choose what I like best, plant per plant. I am just not good at visualizing the result. I see something pretty and I want it. Design is hard for me. As far as host plants, I have some parsley, dill and milkweed(syriaca) parked in pots. If I find bronze fennel I'd add that. I think it might look nice with cosmos. I had a great Dallas Red lantana last year, but can't find it for sale anywhere. I should have brought it in for winter. It was a favorite for tiger stripes, mourning cloaks and quite a few others. Hummers liked it too. I did get a pretty yellow to rasberry color and a lavender color lantana. I have a maynight salvia,some mixed columbines, pineapple sage, a small major wheeler honeysuckle and hyacinth bean waiting for a spot to grow. Plus the gazillion zinnia seeds saved from last year. Do BF's like marigold? Well any ideas are welcome. Also pics of gardens would be great inspiration. THANX!

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

Lantana is perenniel here and should be there too. It may still come back to life!

Red Oak, TX

Scarlet:

Dont' worry too much about the design of your garden and getting it "right". The butterflies and hummers don't care a bit about how it looks. Just give them the right plants, put the plants in the right area for their needs (sunny plants in the sun, etc.) and sit back and enjoy.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Dale's got it right. I think butterflies tend toward messier gardens that look more natural. I also refrain from pulling weeds they really like; in my case, the ubiquitous Spanish Needles (Bidens spp.). So my garden isn't always pretty but I have more butterflies than anyone else. Caterpillars, too! My latest batch of Monarchs is tearing through the milkweed again.

Melanie

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Scarlett - send me a dmail. I have a lot of bronze fennel and rue seeds I traded for this season so the bugs could come and eat them. :)

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

I knew I should of bought some bronze fennel at the Herbal Affair, but I didn't 'cause I have some regular fennel growing from seed.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

This is my first year growing bronze fennel so I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Melanie

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Is the difference color, or caterpillar type/ preference as far as regular fennel vs. bronze fennel.?
Also, are BF eggs big enough to see?, i have both flat and curled parsley which I inspect regularly, not sure if i am missing eggs.

Saw a BeeYouTeeFull BF today. I think Mourning cloak..Velvet black with iridescent blue on lower wing and pale spotted edge. It was basking on a small rock next to curly parsley, very slowly opening and closing it's wings. Aahhhh..so nice.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Both types of fennel attract the Eastern Black Swallowtail; it's just a matter of which look you prefer. Butterfly eggs are small, but you can see them. On the parsley you'll see little off-white colored round eggs. They actually kind of stand out because they're not green.

Melanie (who saw a Zebra Longwing playing on my passiflora!)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Lost my bronze fennel that raised several batches of cats. It did well for three or four years, getting about 5 foot tall or more. The regular fennel that makes bulbs for eating stays lower for me anyway.

Red Admirals are on everything this week. I have put out brew also. It doesn't take but a few minutes and they are loaded.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

My bronze fennel has actually been a bit of a perennial up here every year. This is my fourth year for it. I'm just amazed. I have five kinds of plants for the black swallowtails and there is really never a "favorite" I think it just depends on what is the healthiest at the time. For the first time last year they used the Rue.

I moved my swamp milkweed last year as it was struggling with the dry summer and the bad aphid infection I had. I lost most of it, but some is coming back.

I'm hearing reports of black swallowtails here, but my 8 chrysalids are still "chillin'". I've not seen them or any larger butterflies. Three question marks, a zillion red admirals and some cabbage whites.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I have bronze and green fennel and get four of the five species of BST's I keep trying with the rue and have always failed to grow it thus far.I'm trying to get the giant SWT's a host plant as they visit the zinnia's.Have some red milkweed ,the native tall, the vine form, and the butterfly weed in orange ,only haven't seen any monarch cats in years now.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

I went to the Green Thumb Festival over in St. Pete today. I was mostly shopping for orchids and bromeliads but I found some Giant Milkweed for sale. I've never seen it for sale before so I was super excited to get some, particularly as I have dozens of hungry cats and am running low on food. In good news, I saw lots of people who had bought tropical milkweed so the Monarchs should have plenty to eat. I even saw a Monarch fly through the park while we were resting and having a drink. I love plant sales!

Melanie

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Hey ! Sounds like everybody down there is having lots of visitors. I guess it's okay that I don't have any just yet - my stuff growing from seed is still pretty small. I have released 9 BST and have only 1 chrysalis left. It looks healthy. It's just taking its time. :)

Crit - if you need seed for the fennel and/or rue let me know. I wanted the bronze because it looks so striking.

Mrs. Ed? Have you ever had skin irritation handling the rue? I've read that it can cause skin problems and I'm supposed to use caution handling it.

I've got tons of seedlings of both the rue and fennel. It will be my first year growing both. I have a lot of dill volunteers popping up and I'm glad. I saw a tiny sprig of parsley where one of my large plants went to seed last year. It seems odd to be planting so many of the host plants for just one type of butterfly - but I am also growing from seed the senna again. Some Christmas senna and popcorn senna came in the round robin this past winter.

Mellie I have to start more tropical milkweed. I also lost one of my large swamp milkweed plants last year - I can't remember where I posted, but if you remember the stalks started turning black from the ground up - I have never seen anything like it and no one could guess what it might be. Someone suggested some kind of borer? One is outright killed with no new growth. This week one of the plants which looked like it was dead sent up a single shoot when the other plants a foot away are at least 2' high. O well.

I have poke and purple MW growing in other parts of the yard, the A. physocarpus, common MW. I guess that's enough. Just hope to have enough in numbers in case I get hit in August!

Russell and I had a mighty trade - thank you Russell - I am eager to try the seeds - I laughed out loud when I saw the giant packet of Cassia alata seed. I suppose I will be forced to have blooms this year. I have a place in full sun for it this season. Will keep you posted. Thank you so much for everything you sent.

If anyone is interested I still have some of the FL paintbrush seed left. I have about 15 seedlings I started in February and they are still only about 2" high. Maybe it's the cool weather on again off again. I have more seed than I can use - if you see something you'd like off my have list or on my journal send me a Dmail to inquire for seed. ;)

A.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey Amanda, No i have never had any skin irritation with the rue. But I have to say that I don't really have to handle it much. I weed around it, but it stays small and I don't really have a need to cut it or anything. I moved the cats on it last year to the parsley. I have tons of that that wintered over. I'll have to fall plant some to live for next year since they are biennials.

I know this is the wrong thread for this, but does anyone have a picture of Verbena Bonariensis seedlings? I'm hoping I'm loaded with them since I had a plant last year.

Really cold her the last few days. No real butterfly sightings. I

Portland, TX(Zone 9b)

You're welcome Amanda. DON'T plant all of those Cassia seeds or you will have a jungle! I have so many seeds from last year, I give everyone a bag like that! I would like to try some of the other types of senna if you get any seeds.

I am also getting cassia seedlings popping up here and there. I pull them up because I already have 2 very large plants. They made it through our mild winter with no problems and they are bigger now than they were last year at this time. They are already beginning to bloom - no flowers yet, but I can see many buds working their way up. So far, today has been slow for BFs. Only one tiny hairstreak on a monarda that just popped up. I swear, I don't know where these things come from, but it is cool having new plants with no effort! I wonder if they were always growing, but I either mowed them down or pulled them up. Same with coreopsis...they are everywhere!

Russell

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Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

eeek!

Is that lemon beebalm? (monarda citriodora?). I am trying it from seed. It is so pretty!

I just planted some globe thistle seedlings.

Sorry Mrs Ed - I don't have pictures of seedlings. I grew mine from seed again last year and they're giant now.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

Mrs. Ed, I have some that I am wondering if they are Verbena Bonariensis seedlings too....need to look around on the web I guess! But I am letting them grow...they are either verbena or Iron Weed!!

Loads of Red Admirals and Question Marks right now.

Red Admiral on Allium

This message was edited Apr 29, 2012 2:01 PM

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Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm too tired to chase butterflies today; it's all I can do to feed the Monarch piggies. By the way, they took to the Giant Milkweed just fine after eating Tropical Milkweed their whole lives. Some people say caterpillars won't switch food, but I've never really had that problem.

Loving everyone's pictures!

Melanie

Portland, TX(Zone 9b)

Monarda citriodora is my best guess Amanda. It is very pretty and must spread pretty easily from seeds. I have several large clumps of it growing and they are all blooming. It smells great too.

Russell

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

My neighbors are now talking about me in low whispers when i am walking the dog.." here comes that weird lady...did you see her planting those awful weeds?" tee hee! I'm happily getting all my stuff ready for a summer of butterflies. Its ok, if the neighbors stop talking to me, i have the dog, who is an excellent conversationalist! I got a red pentas..and the pretty purple winky columbine that i got for 75% off is blooming. (amazing what happens when you water a plant!!!)
The red admirals are all over lately. a few whites and 2 tigersripes came to my yard this morning.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Neighbors are overated.

In weird news, my Dad had stored my extra critter keepers in the butterfly house for winter. Today, my brother was going outside to grill up some steak and he heard some thumping. Apparently, Dad didn't realize there were chrysalises in one of those critter keepers and today a Spicebush ST emerged and wanted out! Makes me want to go Spicebush hunting again; I love those caterpillars!

Melanie

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Ha ha! That critter musta been pretty big, Melanie!

I found yesterday that the cuttings/runners I took of the Lindera benzoin a few weeks ago have new sprouts, so maybe one day I will have some too.

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

Yes A., I would love to try some of your fennel and rue. I have some milkweed planted in peat pots, but they are not doing very well. Neither are the 4 o'clocks or morning glories. Sheesh.

My DH tilled a large bed for me along the pool railing and the back fence that I have been wanting since we moved here. We don't have a tiller but a friend of his lent us his. So now I have LOTS of room for new plants! I'm so excited! Not so exciting is that we worked until dark and I could no longer see the roots to pick out of it. I was going to finish doing that today and wouldn't you know it!!!!!! We got 1 1/4" of rain last night. UGH. Murphy's Law I guess, but I can't complain about rain.

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Crit, don't forget to take some before during and after pictures! I would like to see the progression as you put it together.

There is what i believe is swamp mmilkweed growing about chest high and ready to bloom in the abandoned field by my local gas station. Could this be transplanted? my own seedlings are only about 3 inches high.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Scarlet, I say go for it. I've dug up plenty of stuff on the side of the road and it has done fine. Milkweed tends to be pretty resilient, although I've never grown that particular type.

Melanie

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

happy to say that swamp milkweed does not have that dreadful tap root like the tuberosas. So chances are good that you'll get it intact. I will say that the root ball is quite think and fibrous, kind of like a hosta. I have one tiny bit that survived my aphids. sigh.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I don't remember if I posted about my swamp milkweed last summer succumbing to something that turned the base of the stalks black. One giant plant has not returned. Another giant plant was slow to start and only has one stem coming out of its stump. The third plant came up looking healthy but now the base of the stalks look black. I have another I transplanted into that bed which is much smaller and shows no signs yet.

Is there a lesson to be learned here like the aster yellows virus that afflicted my echinacea last year - can't plant these things close together or they will all fall to some borer or ick in the soil?

I don't know what to do. These were huge plants and in their 4th or 5th year. Last year was the first year they bloomed. :/

A.

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

Quote from scarletbean :
Crit, don't forget to take some before during and after pictures! I would like to see the progression as you put it together.

There is what i believe is swamp mmilkweed growing about chest high and ready to bloom in the abandoned field by my local gas station. Could this be transplanted? my own seedlings are only about 3 inches high.


Scarlet, we move them all the time, and they are easy--just make sure they get plenty of water until they're established.

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

I don't have any 'before' pictures. I thought about it AFTER he started the tilling. lol But I can start taking them now. I just need to remember which thread to post them on! ^_^

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from yakmon :
I caught this GF depositing eggs on and around my passiflora...this one missed the mark by a bit. She even tried to lay eggs on my camera!

We pulled 7 large GF cats off the Passionflower and 2 monarchs from the MW and brought them inside 2 days ago, they have all changed form before our eyes. I found a few more cats today, but they turned out to be moth cats, and they can escape my hatchery, so they went back outside. Everything is getting munched in the garden, but that's why we plant what we plant, I guess!

Russell

Russell have question we have passion vine with all stages of G F 's can not find any infomation how long each stage of life last ? Are tell me where to find it.

Thanks LEW-TEX




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