Monarch

Raising More Monarchs This Year:

As much as I want to complain about the heat and heavy rain, the garden seems to enjoy it.  The lawn that I haven’t invaded with extended garden yet is lush green.  Vegetables and flowers are growing profusely.  Except for tomatoes, the heirloom types don’t do well at all.  And insects, they follow their food in.

We are happy to see more Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) this year.  They are not just visiting the flowers, they also mating, laying eggs and producing a new generation in our garden.

Monarch
A male Monarch on Garden Phlox
Monarch
This one taking nectar from Zinnia
Monarch
This female really loves Lantana. She traveled from flower to flower for almost 30 minutes

And then……

Monarch
Mating

I keep checking underneath Milkweed leaves for their eggs and caterpillars.  I found some eggs but it’s hard to look for caterpillars especially when they are small.  They are very good at hiding.  But, I did find some….

Monarch-caterpillar
Probably hatched a day or two ago, with a hole on the leaf that he chewed off
Monarch-caterpillar
A full grown Monarch caterpillar. It’s as beautiful as it’s metamorphosed version

Seeing them in all stages in our garden makes us happy to be contributing to slowing down their possible extinction.  Hopefully they can make it safely back to Mexico for their winter hibernation.

 

 

First Day Of Spring

Welcoming With Snow….And Colors

Today is the official first day of spring but it has been snowing since midday.   So far we have accumulated around two inches.  I don’t mind the big fluffy flakes with no wind; very peaceful.  However that spring itch has gotten to me.  I started trimming the tropical plants in the basement and fed the ones I have no plans for transplanting to a new pot.  It’s a task I do one month before I can take some of them outside for real sunlight and fresh air.

They seem to know that spring is coming.  Many of them are pushing out flowers and new leaves.  The ones that have been in a semi-dormant stage during winter are showing signs of new buds. Here are some ‘basement buds’ trying to rush spring along a little:

Scented Geranium 'Rober's Rose' has flowering buds on every stem                                                        s.  The flower has lemon-rose scent
Scented Geranium ‘Rober’s Rose’ has flowering buds on every stem. The flower has a lemon-rose scent
Geranium 'Skeleton Rose' also has many flower buds
Geranium ‘Skeleton Rose’ also has many flower buds
Geranium 'Tango Violet', though the flower has no scent, it has a very s      triking color
Geranium ‘Tango Violet’, though the flower has no scent, it has a very striking color
Most of the Lantana leaves had dropped off in winter but now green buds and flowers here and there
Most of the Lantana leaves had dropped off in winter, but now green buds and flowers are here and there
Christmas cactus or should I call it 'Spring' cactus
Christmas cactus or should I call it ‘Spring’ cactus

And a welcome mat from the windowsill:  Moth Orchids

This Moth orchid has been blooming throughout the winter
This Moth orchid has been blooming throughout the winter
This one just bloomed a couple of weeks ago
This one just bloomed a couple of weeks ago

 

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