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qebo's 2012 garden

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May 5, 2012, 11:21am Top

Well, if the 75ers can keep me consistently reading, maybe this group will keep me consistently gardening...

I got the back yard fairly well under control last month, with new soil and mulch during a dry spell, but it was a little too soon to plant. Now the weeds have enjoyed a weekend of rain and a weekend of my absence, but I'm going to ignore them until I plant the raised beds.

In the front yard, the tulip petals are dropping, and the peonies have buds.

May 5, 2012, 11:51am Top

Well, if the 75ers can keep me consistently reading, maybe this group will keep me consistently gardening...


May 5, 2012, 3:13pm Top

This group is also encouraging...

...welcome, qebo!

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 11:55am Top

Got the raised beds planted...

Raised bed #1: sweet peas, onions (two types)
Raised bed #2: chives, anise, caraway
Raised bed #3: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme

Allowing some volunteers to remain...


Wild Strawberries:

Intentional plants from previous years...

Allium with butterfly:

Peony with ants:

While weeding and cleaning up...

Dislodged pill bugs:

Original post: 5 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 5, 2012, 5:12pm Top

Not displaying the main section of the yard, which once was a lawn and now is covered with tarps. The plan is a native plant garden, but I'm vague on specifics.

May 5, 2012, 5:20pm Top

Welcome qebo. I look forward to seeing your progress. Y'know, any of you who haven't, should give some locational/zone/ and anything else you'd like in the thread Meeting each other on the green.

May 5, 2012, 5:37pm Top

I'm in Lancaster PA, zone 6A.

May 5, 2012, 11:20pm Top

> 5

The plan is a native plant garden, but I'm vague on specifics.

That's my plan as well, but I've got along way to go!

May 6, 2012, 12:04am Top

How are the wild strawberries? Are they any different than the type I'd grow myself?

May 6, 2012, 8:13am Top

9: Hmm, scouting about on the internet, seems that what I have is mock strawberries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_Strawberry), which are native to Asia and therefore which I should not allow. Sigh. I rather like them.

Edited: May 6, 2012, 8:40am Top

Mock strawberries seem to be a weed to me, although I go more aggressively after more noxious invasives such as English ivy and Japanese stiltgrass in my lawn. More recently, I've tackled ground ivy and garlic mustard which are much easier to pull up.

The true nightmare is going to come when I try to get rid of the daylilies that have competely taken over previously attractive flower beds. Their roots are a real pain to dig up. :(

English ivy
Photo by Equinest - Flickr, CC-A

Japanese stiltgrass
Photo by pennstatelive - Flickr, CC-A

ground ivy
Photo by cupcakes2 - Flickr, CC-A

garlic mustard
Photo by klm195 - Flickr, CC-A

May 6, 2012, 8:54am Top

I go after the weeds that grow tall. A major culprit is lambsquarters (http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/cheal.htm), a constant battle, sprouts are everywhere. Fortunately, they are easy to pull up, even when grown.

I had not thought of daylillies as invasive, but Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylily) says they are native to Eurasia, and the ones I'm familiar with here are imports from England, which spread by underground runners. "These kinds can overrun one's garden, and can take an appreciable amount of time and effort to confine or remove." Urgh.

May 6, 2012, 9:00am Top

Did you know that you can eat lambsquarters?! Last year, my CSA box included both purselane and lambsquarters. Both are weeds, but both are safe and 100% edible. I tried each. I'm not crazy about them. I'd rather eat spinach or kale. :)

Photo by Frankenstoen

May 6, 2012, 9:02am Top

13: I've heard that, or read it somewhere, but I so loathe them in principle that I'd probably gag.

May 6, 2012, 9:13am Top


May 6, 2012, 2:13pm Top

If there isn't a weed identification thread, there should be one!

qebo, if you like the mock strawberries, leave them!

What is a definition of a weed? Anything that is growing where you don't want it to grow.

Let them grow. :)

Edited: May 6, 2012, 4:10pm Top

qebo, if you like the mock strawberries, leave them!

Katherine, I spent the day pulling out mock strawberries! Are you going to be sad about that when you get here? ;)

I was debating what to do about the dandelions. I pullled some and let some stay. :)

May 6, 2012, 4:51pm Top

The trouble with mock strawberries is not that they are weeds, but that they are aliens. However, for the foreseeable future they would be replaced by landscape cloth and mulch, which is no more useful to native wildlife, and they're not invading anything I care about, so I may as well let them be.

I like dandelions too. I get them mostly along the strip between the house and the sidewalk, where they are visible to passers by. I weed to the extent necessary to be about average in the neighborhood, which is neither pristine nor decrepit.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 12:30pm Top

Yard progress through the years...

In April 2009 when I moved here, the yard was entirely grass and weeds:

In November 2009 I constructed a path, producing mounds of dirt:

In April 2010 I constructed raised beds, and averted my eyes from the mounds of dirt:

In May 2011, I had the mounds of dirt hauled away, removed the remaining grass, and covered the yard to prevent weeds:

And so it has remained for a year, with the tarps deteriorating over the winter, and weeds sprouting in the cracks, until today...

The tarps are gone:

The weeds are gone, and a circle (8' radius) is drawn:

Original post: 6 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 12:33pm Top

Today in disrupted bugs...



Original post: 6 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 6, 2012, 7:59pm Top

16: If there isn't a weed identification thread, there should be one!

Oh, yes, there should be. I have a weed identification book Weeds of the Northeast, which is helpful, with pictures of leaves and flowers and seeds and growth at various stages, but it's organized by plant characteristics, and my skills are limited, so I generally have to collect a sample from the yard and page through the book looking for a match, and I'm not always successful.

May 6, 2012, 8:04pm Top

I'll have to take a look at that book as I really cannot tell a weed from a non-weed. I know some invasive species, but, other than that, some of what's in my yard is anybody's guess!

You've been working hard on your garden! It makes me tired just looking at your pictures. :)

May 6, 2012, 9:04pm Top

22: It makes me tired too. :-) Intense springs and falls, with neglect in between.

May 7, 2012, 12:30pm Top

I love the progress you have made, qebo!

You've got your own little 'Eden' beginnings there.

So, what's the circle for? A garden? A pool?

May 7, 2012, 1:33pm Top

The plan for the circle is native plants. The general plan for the yard is to gain control first, with garden patches surrounded by mulch paths, and an eye toward more garden and less mulch as I figure out what works. The fence between my yard and the next (right side of photo) is south, and the neighbors are now assuming its existence (they tore down their old decrepit fence) and in my yard that strip of ground is always in the shade, so I'll let it be and maybe get a tool shed. I dislike the fence bordering the alley (top of photo) and sidewalk (left side of photo), partly because I can't see out (I'm surrounded by balconies and upper story windows, so there's no such thing as privacy regardless) and partly because it blocks sun from the strip of ground on the other side, so I want to replace it with a lower picket fence, once my yard is civilized enough to be in public view. (For scale: each of the fence panels is 8'.)

I have been thinking about a small pond...

May 7, 2012, 6:53pm Top

Oh, I want a pond...........

May 8, 2012, 12:40am Top

Love the raised beds, and obviously you are going by the square foot gardening method, which is my favorite. Yay, Mel Bartholomew

May 8, 2012, 7:59am Top

I've borrowed a lot of ideas from Mel Bartholomew's book...

May 8, 2012, 2:55pm Top

Searching for Pennsylvania native plant information today, I found a nursery dedicated to the cause and only 30 miles away: http://www.sugarbushnursery.com/whyNatives.htm. Not a casual trip, so I'll need to plan ahead, but better than trying to figure out what's what at the main local nursery.

May 8, 2012, 2:59pm Top

I am not meticulously observant of the square foot methods, but the raised beds provide level areas in a sloped yard, and the grid keeps the plants organized. I'm not skilled in plant identification, so when sprouts appear, I know they're weeds if they're in the wrong place.

May 12, 2012, 12:37pm Top

I was just out here: http://www.landisvalleymuseum.org/cgi-bin/eventsdetail.cgi?Year=2012&Month=0.... Only two vendors with significant native plants, but this was enough. Photos and list of the acquisitions when I get things organized.

May 12, 2012, 1:03pm Top

Oh, that looks like fun, Katherine! Can't wait to hear what you got.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 1:17pm Top

Acquired plants:

All together:

Many are on the PA Certification list. A couple are cultivars, which might or might not disqualify them.

Native plants:

Anemonella thalictroides (Rue Anemone)
PA Certification list.

Aster divaricatus (White Wood Aster)
PA Certification list. American Painted Lady and Pearl Crescent host.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (False Indigo) -- cultivar of Baptisia australis?
PA Cerfication list? Wild Indigo Dustywing host.

Caulophyllum thalictroides (Blue Cohash)
PA Certification list. Appalachian Azure and Summer Azure host.

Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohash)
PA Certification list.

Heuchera americana (American Alum Root)
PA Certification list.

Sedum ternatum (Whorled Stonecrop)
Brown Elfin and Buckeye and Variagated Fritillary host.

Tiarella cordifoliavar. collina (Foam Flower)

And a plant that was labeled native but turns out to be further west. It's so cool that I'll try to keep it anyway:

Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master)

Eventually it should become this:

Original post: 12 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 1:20pm Top

Today in yard reconstruction, the circle. This is measured and leveled, but I'll need to tweak and secure it with stakes.

Original post: 12 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: May 12, 2012, 9:11pm Top

Your plants look really neat. I'm not familiar with most of them, although I've heard of their genuses (geni?, genius?!) Heh! I can't wait to see what you do with them.

ETA: It turned out to be genera.

I thought that all cultivars were a "no-no" as they are cultivated hybrids of species bred for special traits. I'm not sure, though. When we get to the Library of Congress, let's head for the native plants section. ;)

ETA: I just read on wikipedia that "Most cultivars have arisen in cultivation but a few are special selections from the wild". That just makes things even more difficult!

I planted an anemone today as well! It was a meadow anemone anemone candesis. (picture of plant) I find that I really need to know the Latin names of plants now - mostly to determine if they are the exact species that have been designated local to my area. Your anemone looks completely different from mine.

I'd like to find an aster. I couldn't find any non-cultivar asters yesterday so I skipped buying any. I have a few cultivars in my garden but I'm not pulling them up (at least not now).

I wonder if your false indigo has anything to do with blue dye. I think it's going to be fun to learn all about these new-to-me plants. Isn't it funny that we know so little about plants that are native to where we live?

I have no idea what cohashes are. Does alum root have anything to do with herbs? I have a large sedum (probably a non-native) It's an also called ice plant. That stays - as it was always my mom's favorite plant, although the plant I have now was not hers.

I've heard of and seen foam flowers. I'll have to check if they're native to me as well and get one. The rattlesnake master (at least the bloom) looks pretty cool.

Are you going to keep track of the wildlife in your garden? I started doing that today and had the most fun tracking what I saw.

If we have more such beautiful days as today, we'll have great gardening weather.

Have fun!

May 12, 2012, 10:07pm Top

35: Isn't it funny that we know so little about plants that are native to where we live?
Yeah, it really is. When I walk around the city, I see pretty much the same plants everywhere, and few of them are native.

Re cultivars, I have the vague impression that it depends on whether the chemistry has been significantly changed. Sometimes also imported plants in the same genus are OK too. How to find out about specific plants, I don't know. I should be more careful.

May 12, 2012, 11:28pm Top

I got a list from the extension service in my state. When plant shopping, I carry with me the list that has the Latin names (genera + species). I think that's the only way to know for sure. Many plant dealers have no idea what a native plant really is and will try to sell you cultivars because they are identifying plants by genus name only (monarda, echinaceae, etc.) and not by species.

I think that, if you have the genus and species correct, whether a plant is imported or not doesn't matter because it is essentially the same plant.

Edited: May 13, 2012, 12:01pm Top

37: I carry with me the list that has the Latin names (genera + species).
Me too, but I got a little carried away. :-)

More information about yesterday's questionable plants.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' is a hybrid of Baptisia australis (PA native) and Baptisia alba (states around PA but not PA).

Tiarella cordifolia var. collina is a variant of Tiarella cordifolia (PA native) also known as Tiarella wherryi (states south of PA but not PA).

May 13, 2012, 10:46am Top

I have to finish my circle today, or it'll drag into next weekend, or later if the weather goes bad. I am soooooo tired after yesterday. I have been procrastinating since I woke up this morning...

May 13, 2012, 11:52am Top

So the false indigo really contains a blue dye, but inferior to other blue dye. Interesting!

I'm going to try to find foamflower. I want to put that somewhere in my garden as well.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 1:28pm Top

A new home for the False Indigo. Rationale for the location: it needs sun and this spot is sunny until late afternoon, it will become a small bush about the right size for the space, it is of dubious nativity so I don't want anything else dependent on its presence in case it doesn't work out, it will be adjacent to the expanding crop of violets with matching purple flowers.

I am still procrastinating. It's too hot to work on the circle.

Original post: 13 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 13, 2012, 1:03pm Top

Er, it's going to get hotter as the year moves on...

May 13, 2012, 1:07pm Top

Yeah. In the summer, yard work tends to occur after 5pm when the sun is on the other side of the house.

May 13, 2012, 3:12pm Top

I can't work in the hot sun anymore, I get sick. Early morning or early evening works best.

BTW, I like your compost bin, qebo. :)

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 1:29pm Top

The circle has been secured. Next steps are to fill the inside with dirt, and mulch around the outside.

Geometry is easier on paper.

Original post: 13 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 13, 2012, 8:58pm Top

Very nice! :)

May 15, 2012, 8:52pm Top

I love what you are doing here. This is going to be a bit of heaven when you get it going. I'd love a pond too but we have too much wildlife around here--don't fancy raccoons, skunks and coyotes using it.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 1:35pm Top

After two days of rain, my sunflowers are sprouting:

The reason for the cylinders is last year the weeds took over, and in my zeal to be rid of them I apparently removed the sunflower sprouts also. So this year I want to know where they are until they're tall enough to be on their own.

Original post: 16 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 16, 2012, 7:32pm Top

Ha ha. I did that once too.

May 16, 2012, 7:56pm Top

LOL. I think if there's a gardener on the planet who says they haven't done that, they're lying :)

May 16, 2012, 8:06pm Top

> 48

Only two of the dozen sunflowers that I planted sprouted. :(

May 16, 2012, 8:20pm Top

I planted several seeds in each cylinder, and pulled all but one before I took the photo because they were getting crowded. I hope this wasn't premature optimism.

May 16, 2012, 8:29pm Top

Once they're up, they should be okay. I think they're pretty hardy.

May 17, 2012, 12:20pm Top

I have lots of sunflower 'volunteers' under my bird feeders. As long as they don't crowd my perennials too badly, they stay. :)

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 2:42pm Top

This week in gardening...

One evening I planted a annuals in containers on the deck and in the yard, incompatible with the native scheme, but I already had the seeds and the containers.

Yesterday I dug up the circle and began mixing in compost. A lovely warm sunny day, would've been ideal for reading on the porch. Digging occurred in short stints, with orange juice and fizzy water between. Made more entertaining by the scattered bricks several inches below the surface. I stopped when I needed more compost and my arms and legs were too rubbery to bear another trip to Lowe's. Today will be more of the same. My yard is looking very brown at the moment. This will change.

Original post: 20 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 20, 2012, 10:31am Top

Brown but very orderly. I can see the garden it's going to be and it will be wonderful. Progress is being made!

May 20, 2012, 1:22pm Top

Very orderly, soon to be green. :)

Are you going to have stepping stones in that round garden?

May 20, 2012, 1:49pm Top

57: I'll need something to get at things in 200 sq ft. The default for now is narrow mulch paths, easy and inexpensive until I figure out a better solution.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 2:45pm Top

The local Unitarian Universalist church garden has been certified as a wildlife habitat! Not much more to it than these photos; I missed the section on the other side of the path with a water dish. Also not shown are the labels identifying the plants. Posted here to show that certification is much more a matter of features than scale. (Credit goes to the 5th & 6th graders.)

Original post: 20 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 21, 2012, 6:58pm Top

Did the children paint the rain barrels?

May 21, 2012, 7:05pm Top

68: I think that was a local artist.

May 21, 2012, 7:06pm Top

53: Once they're up, they should be okay. I think they're pretty hardy.
Nooooo! Two of my sunflower sprouts have suddenly gone missing.

May 21, 2012, 8:37pm Top

Do you have earwigs?

May 21, 2012, 8:52pm Top

63: Not that I'm aware, which doesn't necessarily much, but when I pull up weeds and rocks and such what I see is mostly pillbugs, occasionally spiders and earthworms. This was literally overnight, and they're completely gone, poof, nothing. The others are growing nicely. So far.

May 22, 2012, 7:53am Top

I would think rabbits.

May 22, 2012, 2:04pm Top

65: Could be. Haven't seen any rabbits in my yard, but I have seen them around and about in the neighborhood. On closer inspection, one sunflower sprout was gone completely, and the other still had the stem and roots below ground level. I planted replacements. Nothing else disappeared last night.

May 22, 2012, 2:57pm Top

Never thought of rabbits! We have more of a deer hazard here.

May 22, 2012, 3:32pm Top

We are attempting to grow our veggies on the porch this year because of our voracious deer.

May 22, 2012, 6:44pm Top

What about woodchucks or gophers? I think they eat plants down to the ground level.

May 22, 2012, 7:41pm Top

I'm in the city. No deer. Definitely rabbits, squirrels, birds. Could be other critters that I haven't seen. We'll see if anything else goes missing... I did finally observe the cat who has been using my raised beds as a littler box. Not feral; has a collar and appears well groomed.

May 22, 2012, 8:25pm Top

...and well trained.

May 23, 2012, 1:06pm Top

"Do it outside!!!"


May 27, 2012, 6:46pm Top

Today I put most of the plants of post 33 in the strip at the side of the house, which is mostly shady. Now I'm too tired to take photos. Soon.

Also several more sunflower sprouts went missing, not sure exactly when but I'd been checking them each morning after the last disappearance and they were OK as of a couple days ago. Some entire plants, others entire leaves. I guess I'll keep replacing them until I run out of seeds.

May 27, 2012, 8:34pm Top

And now it's raining. Which we need, but I'm worried that my new plants are not so well secured...

May 27, 2012, 8:40pm Top

Hooray for the planting but rats for the thievery. Hope it's a steady rain, not a lashing one.

Edited: May 27, 2012, 11:24pm Top

I planted a dozen sunflower seeds. Two came up and one died. Is an 8% success rate a bad percentage?! ;)

May 27, 2012, 11:32pm Top

I don't know. Doesn't sound so great, does it, but I don't seem to be doing much better. I've never grown sunflowers before, even as a kid. All of mine sprouted, but few have gotten very far. Maybe they need protective cages until they're bigger. Or I could start them inside. Are all yours the same type?

May 27, 2012, 11:33pm Top

How come they grow under the bird feeder, where I don't want them, but refuse to come up when intentionally planted?

May 27, 2012, 11:35pm Top

> 77

Mine were all the same type. I'm undecided whether to plant more or not. Time will tell...

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 2:53pm Top

Here are the plants from post 33, set in place at the side of the house, somewhat the worse for wear after two weeks of neglect in pots and a flash storm within hours of being put in the ground.

Anemonella thalictroides (Rue Anemone)
PA Certification list.

Aster divaricatus (White Wood Aster)
PA Certification list. American Painted Lady and Pearl Crescent host.

Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohash)
PA Certification list.

Heuchera americana (American Alum Root)
PA Certification list.

Sedum ternatum (Whorled Stonecrop)
Brown Elfin and Buckeye and Variagated Fritillary host.

Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)

And all together. This the north side of the house, tilted slightly to the east so it gets a sliver of morning sun. At right front is ivy, which began as the sole survivor among a pot of ornamentals given to me when I bought the house, and is now on the verge of becoming invasive. At center front is moss that I'm encouraging. Mixed in and around is a weed that I haven't yet identified. Then the sorriest rhododendron ever. The area of ivy and moss contained a yew tree when I moved here, a dense oppressive thing that I removed in hopes that the rhododendron would perk up, but clearly it hasn't, and it probably will go. Climbing up the wall of the house near the basement window is vinca, which grows insanely but which will remain until I've figured out what else to put there. The new plants are mostly toward the back of this photo.

The sad scrawny rhododendron:

Original post: 28 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 2:54pm Top

The only remaining intact sunflower:

One of the chomped sunflowers:

Original post: 28 May 2012
Edited to change photo source.

May 28, 2012, 11:15am Top

Looks like you've been busy. We've been out in the yard the past two days as well--husband bought MORE tomato plants to go into containers, and I had weeding to do, and anti-fungal treatments for the prior tomatoes. We ate our first harvest of green beans/wax beans last night.

May 28, 2012, 11:28am Top

I'm keeping some vinca in as a ground cover until I can replace it with other plants as well.

May 28, 2012, 12:53pm Top

Keen to see the foam flower, as it's a new one to me. I have the cimifuga (I do love those), several varieties of heuchera and lots of different varieties of stonecrop! Your poor old rhodie. I wonder if it would do better in a container? It's all looking interesting and lovely.

May 28, 2012, 1:21pm Top

Yeah, the poor rhododendron has been deteriorating, fewer flowers each year. And then this year somebody broke off a couple branches. (I'm on a corner, which has its pros and cons.) Who knows how long it's been there.

May 29, 2012, 7:06pm Top

I suspect the rhododendron needs some LOVE.

Have you had your soil tested? Do you know your ph?

If you have more neutral or alkaline soil, the rhododendron will not do well.

Try giving it some acidic fertilizer, or perhaps side dressing it with compost and coffee grounds.

Here's a link to a pdf about rhododendron problems:


May 30, 2012, 8:37pm Top

I'm not sure how much love I want to give to the rhododendron. But I suppose it deserves a chance. No, I haven't tested the soil. I suppose I should, regardless of the rhododendron. It's right near the house, brick w/ stone foundation.

May 30, 2012, 8:49pm Top

Rhodys do love the acid. They do well here, Appalachian mountains zone 7.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 3:48pm Top

A productive day, gardenwise.

I went out to the localish nursery and it is as advertised, native plants everywhere, less expensive than I'd expected. When I mentioned I'd come from Lancaster, the woman tending the operation (not the owner) told me about a native plant conference that is happening next week five miles from my house (too expensive, but there's a plant and book sale open to the public on Friday and Saturday), and a botanical society that meets a half mile from my house (but alas not during the summer). I'd searched for local garden organizations awhile back, and found several, but not this one.

And I got plants. And I saw other plants that I want to get but I'm not sure where I can put them. Photos are left to right, back to front.

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' (New England Aster) -- PA Certification list. American Painted Lady and Pearl Crescent host.
Vernonia glauca (Upland Ironweed)
Pycnanthemum muticum (Mountain Mint) -- PA Certification list.
Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) -- PA Certification list.
Monarda 'Petite Delight' (Dwarf Bee Balm)
Liatris spicata 'Kobold' (Gayfeather) -- PA Certification list.
Silene caroliniana (Wild Pinks)
Eupatorium maculatum 'Gateway' (Joe Pye Weed)
Eupatorium dubium 'Baby Joe' (Joe Pye Weed) -- PA Certification list. Summer Azure host.
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) -- PA Certification list. Monarch host.

Asarum canadenese (Wild Ginger)
Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder)
Dicentra eximia (Bleeding Heart)
Gaultheria procumbens 'Very Berry' (Wintergreen)

Campanula rotundifolia 'Thumbell Blue' (Scotch Harebell)
Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Lobelia) -- PA Certification list.

Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Blue Switch Grass)
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Original post: 2 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jun 2, 2012, 10:01pm Top

Fun! You have some that I planted this year and last - Joe Pye weed, swamp milkweed and blue lobelia.

I planted the Joe Pye weed last year. This year it's already as tall as I am and has not yet flowered. :O

Jun 2, 2012, 11:47pm Top

Oh boy! I'm keen to see pics of these in situ as they are growing. They sound like a really excellent blend of shapes and colours.

Edited: Jun 3, 2012, 10:36am Top

I'm keen to see pics of these in situ as they are growing.

They're not all that exciting in situ as, like you, I'm just beginning to figure out a native garden plan. I think the fun will come as the plants thrive (or some not) and start attracting more native wildlife to our gardens. That's why I'm doing a wildlife count on Pinterest.

Too bad you're not going to be here longer so we could have a native gardening plant search day! The problem with that, though, would be that you'd have to figure out a way to get all your plants back to Pennsylvania. :(

Hey, perhaps in future years, we could do either small plant or seed exchanges as our native plants continue to thrive. That might be fun.

Is it legal to send seeds through the mail to different states in the U.S.? Does anyone know? It might not due to seeds being able to carry bacteria and fungus. Seed companies, I presume, are regulated by USDA regulations.

Jun 3, 2012, 12:21pm Top

I'm keen to get them in situ... Today's job is to mark locations within the circle. Maybe I'll get plants in the ground during the week, but maybe not, what with the pesky need to earn $ during the day and several evening obligations. And next weekend is DC! I hope my baby plants will be OK in pots for a couple of weeks.

Too bad you're not going to be here longer so we could have a native gardening plant search day!
I may've gone a tad overboard yesterday, so it's just as well...

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 3:50pm Top

I used the last of the dirt just before the patches of rain turned into a thunderstorm, and the dirt store closes early on Sunday anyway. So this is where things stand, organized into sections with a bit more to fill in for leveling. The boards are intended to provide informal temporary access to the circle interior until I find a better way. I sketched a plan on graph paper for most of the plants, so actually putting them in place shouldn't be too difficult.

Original post: 3 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jun 3, 2012, 7:52pm Top

You are so ambitious! I think it will be beautiful--can't wait to see everything planted.

Jun 3, 2012, 9:18pm Top

95: Ambitious is chapter by chapter summaries of The Closing of the Western Mind...

Jun 3, 2012, 9:40pm Top

What about round stepping stones where the boards are, to echo the circular shape? Do you have a plan for the middle, like a birdbath or a 'feature' of somesort?

Jun 3, 2012, 10:00pm Top

97: Yeah, I was thinking stepping stones. But I'll wait until the plants have settled in and I'm more sure of what's needed. A friend dropped by a few hours after my plant purchasing spree, saw the circle and said immediately that in the middle should be a fountain. He's an engineer, so it rapidly became a contraption with plumbing and a solar powered water pump, but he was not offering to construct it. Maybe a bird bath? The plants that will be toward the middle are supposed to get 4'-5' high, so it wouldn't be a prominently visible feature.

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 9:51am Top

A birdbath should be located as much as possible out in the open - away from where predatory animals (like cats) can hide.

Now that daylilies have overwhelmed our own birdbath, I've noticed fewer birds visiting it. I really need to hack those daylilies down!

You are so good with your master plan. I have no idea where to put all of my native plants. I'm still moving them around to see where I best like them.

Jun 4, 2012, 10:47am Top

Ah, thanks, makes sense. So maybe the center will be buried treasure, obscured by the jungle, with hordes of butterflies as distraction.

Well, the "master plan" began with the annoyance of stepping through wet grass and puddles to get from the gate to the back door. Since then it's been piecemeal, but in general when faced with blank space, I take out the graph paper.

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 2:35pm Top

And here are cheaper ones--


The advantage of these is that, unlike a fountain, there is very limited maintenance.

Jun 4, 2012, 3:36pm Top

You can also take three fence posts and wire them together at the top. Once it's covered by vines, who is going to see what's underneath?

Jun 4, 2012, 3:58pm Top

Agree that an obelisk would look terrific.

Jun 4, 2012, 4:51pm Top

I like the obelisks. Also I hope eventually to have plants of a vining tendency. For the circle, the idea is that no plant will be placed precisely in the center, but several are supposed to grow wide enough so their leaves will approach the center. This is quite hypothetical, and probably looks neater on graph paper than it will in real life. (The reason for this is my center is precious and I do not want to lose it as a reference point. In theory it can be reconstructed, but in practice this would be tedious.) Maybe what I need is a flag pole.

Jun 4, 2012, 5:07pm Top

Or a weathervane?

Jun 4, 2012, 5:13pm Top

Ooh, yes, a weather vane would be cool.

Jun 4, 2012, 5:50pm Top

Or a well?

Jun 4, 2012, 6:02pm Top

Would I have to dig a pit?

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 6:07pm Top

No! It's just an ornamental well.

From the website I snatched that picture from: Add a rustic touch to your garden with this natural fir wishing well with burnt wood finish. Can be used as a planter and features a fully functional crank and handle; assembly required.

Jun 4, 2012, 7:04pm Top

Oh botheration. Just when I extricate myself from work, a drenching rain begins.

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 8:41pm Top

People actually stick those well things on top of their real well caps around here--you can tell a family of Dutch descent because they use windmills! And you see the odd lighthouse too. I'd have to build a bleak Scottish tower, following that pattern.

Jun 5, 2012, 9:35am Top

I like the wizard balls. Not sure what they are called. Let me go Google.

Okay, they are called Gazing Balls.

Jun 5, 2012, 9:40am Top

Brilliant, Morphi! Even Amazon carries them: http://www.amazon.com/Gazing-Balls-Yard-Art/b?ie=UTF8&node=3742351

Edited: Jun 5, 2012, 11:57am Top

I have a gazing ball - love it. The stand I have it on is quite short (maybe 2'?) but I'm sure you could get a taller one if you wanted to raise it above the tall central flowers.

My gazing ball is plain silver (mirrored) which I consider the classic "goes with anything" but the various other colours and the blown glass ones are also nice. I'm kind of intrigued by the glow in the dark ones, but in my experience the glow is underwhelming so I'd have to see what they're like before I spent money on one.

Jun 5, 2012, 12:28pm Top

I'd like a well, or maybe a lighthouse or windmill...

Jun 5, 2012, 1:40pm Top

I like the gazing ball and the windmill. Though gazing balls have been known to disappear or break... Not a real issue at the moment; first, I need to get the plants in the ground, then see how they grow. May be awhile. :-)

Jun 5, 2012, 4:17pm Top

I like the look of gazing balls nestled into the greenery - no pedestal. Don't know how hazardous that is for the glass ball, though.

Jun 5, 2012, 4:41pm Top

117> There are stainless steel gazing balls - they might be more durable. I kind of wish that's what I had but so far my glass one hasn't given me any trouble.

Edited: Jun 5, 2012, 7:11pm Top

Glass should be OK. I had one for over 10 years. Its final demise came when a massive snowfall crushed it.

Jun 5, 2012, 6:24pm Top

>119 tardis:: they aren't bad looking either. Not as lovely as the early mercury glass ones but still pretty good.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 3:52pm Top

I should've gone running after work, but it was such a pleasant evening that I went gardening instead. (I'll have to pay for this tomorrow morning.)

Remeasured all the strings and boards, tweaked a bit, got them as good as they're going to get; nothing is perfectly square or parallel in this yard, and nature will nudge over the years anyway. Marked locations for the plants.

Placed plant pots, spaced per instructions. The plan is for taller plants toward the middle, tapering toward the perimeter, but expected heights are not precise. This isn't everything, still have a few decisions remaining, but even allowing for growth there's space remaining.

Original post: 5 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jun 5, 2012, 8:54pm Top

Enjoying vicariously here!

Jun 6, 2012, 12:28pm Top

It's really coming together! It's going to be beautiful.

Jun 6, 2012, 3:48pm Top

I am so impressed with your scientific approach to all of your beds. I'm so ad hoc and slap-dash by comparison.

Jun 6, 2012, 5:01pm Top

Not all gardening needs to be scientific, there needs to be a balance with the slap-dash as well... ;)

Besides, flowers do not like to be contained within borders, they seem to thrive on E X P A N D I N G...

Jun 6, 2012, 7:54pm Top

I like the idea of placing the plants geometrically, then letting them go their own way. It's a small yard. Otherwise, I'd be more free form.

Jun 12, 2012, 9:07am Top

I have been considering placing trees along the street at the side of my house (I live on a corner, and the side is north so trees there won't cast a great shadow over the yard), wondering how to go about this and expecting rather a hassle of interpreting city ordinances and researching appropriate trees and hiring someone to apply brute force, but via a post on a Facebook neighborhood group, I have been made aware that the city has a program! They'll do everything except pay for the tree. But... not native? That's my impression though I need to research. An environmental conservation group, however, has a native tree program. Could coordination occur?

Jun 12, 2012, 9:48am Top

Wow! What a nice program. Still, at those prices, you're actually paying for the labor, as well. How long is your frontage on that side?

Jun 12, 2012, 12:33pm Top

I agree, that is a nice program. :)

Jun 12, 2012, 8:37pm Top

I could have given you a red oak when you were here!! I have two volunteers in my yard. I'm keeping one, and the other I'm giving to my younger son. However, it's not as if he doesn't have any other trees in his yard!

Is the property to the side of your house your property or city property? If it's city property, you'd be limited to what the city wants. If it's your property, go native!

You may want to check with your utility company about planting trees. My electric utility (PEPCO) had a free tree program this year. I was allowed to choose one free native tree and select where I wanted to put it. They gave me a map so I could locate the tree in an optimum location. A catbird seems to like landing on it although there's not much to the tree yet. :)

The arbor day foundation gave my son and his wife an assortment of trees and shrubs for only a $10 donation. Those trees were very small and easy to plant.

My eastern redbud (the one I chose from PEPCO) is only about three feet tall. It came as a long stick in the winter (it was dormant) and didn't produce leaves until this spring. That was the small tree you saw in the middle of my lawn! :)

Jun 12, 2012, 9:23pm Top

I am not quite ready for trees. Let me deal with smaller plants first. The strips of ground at front and side of the house are my responsibility, and there are city ordinances regarding trees, e.g. how far they must be from intersections. As I understand things, going through the city tree program would limit me to its list of trees, but other trees are permitted if I wish to take on more of the burden. Details are not crystal clear, but my brother works for the city government and knows the relevant people, so when I need detailed information I'll be able to get it.

Jun 12, 2012, 9:25pm Top

It rained all day today, and the plants in my circle appeared the happiest they've been since I put them in the ground. I watered last week, and my sister-in-law watered over the weekend, but they were still droopy yesterday. Today they're all perky and green.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 3:58pm Top

Today it was time to tackle the vinca at the side of the house. Also had to level the dirt, which was mounded over a tree stump. I now have a wheelbarrow full.

Here it is:

The roots are tenacious, so I'll probably be dealing with them for awhile.

Here it is gone:

Here it has been replaced:

From the native plant conference held here last week:
Gaultheria procumbens 'Very Berry' (Wintergreen) in the front.
Michella repens (Partridge Berry) in the back.

From the native plant nursery I went to a couple weeks ago:
Asarum canadenese (Wild Ginger)

Disrupted spider. Unfamiliar, so if anyone can identify it, please let me know...

And now, sigh, the back yard circle is in the shade for the evening, so I have to go out and make progress...

Original post: 16 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jun 16, 2012, 7:09pm Top

Looks as if you're making great progress.

I saw wild ginger at a native plant sale recently but didn't buy it because its blooms were truly UGLY!! Let me know what you think when yours bloom... :D

Jun 16, 2012, 7:27pm Top

I can't see your pic very well (aging eyes) but I wondered if it might be this one:

Jun 16, 2012, 8:35pm Top

135: I've seen photos of the flowers, and yeah, they strike me as dubious, but sometimes I'll go for interesting. I like the leaves.
135: Yes! Thanks. It was running away and trying to hide and all the photos are blurry.

I got three more milkweeds, three mountain mints and two catchflies planted in the circle this evening. Too dark for photos, and anyway I'll be continuing tomorrow.

Jun 16, 2012, 8:42pm Top

I want to see which native plants attract the best butterflies. So far, I lose!

Ew!! That's an ugly spider. :)

Jun 16, 2012, 9:38pm Top

And it bites, don't touch it!

Nice results, good job digging and planting. :)

Jun 17, 2012, 8:22pm Top

It eats sweet little pill bugs by piercing their exoskeleton, so I wouldn't trust it with my fingers.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 4:00pm Top

In one fell swoop: the wheelbarrow of dirt, the status of sunflowers, and from the native plant conference

I need to do another round of sunflower repair. A few look like they'll make it, a few that I replanted have multiple sprouts, a few are missing or beyond hope. The winner so far:

Also spruced up a section at the side of the house, but it doesn't look so sprucy to the uneducated eye so no photo.

Original post: 17 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jun 17, 2012, 10:46pm Top

Nice! :)

Jun 17, 2012, 11:31pm Top

Hah! Know just what you mean about "doesn't look so sprucy to the uneducated eye". I can spend a whole day weeding and fluffing, and I'm the only one who knows where.

Jun 21, 2012, 9:04pm Top

Just trying to get through the heat wave here... No rain, so I've been watering. One of the milkweeds collapsed. :-( Everything else that I've gotten into the ground is managing.

Jun 21, 2012, 10:15pm Top

Sorry about your milkweed. It is really, really hot here as well.

Jun 22, 2012, 10:15am Top

If y'all are planning to come and see me in Kentucky, bring buckets to haul away all of the free natives you want. I've got milkweed.

Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 11:22am Top

Hey! I just identified a wildflower in my garden from my new plant book. It was really hard to identify so I had to go through that book page by page, but it was worth it! I learned that my new "discovery" was a nectar-producing native plant which attracts butterflies! :)

It was a white aven!

Jun 22, 2012, 11:30am Top

147: Oh, how nice, both the wildflower itself and the means to identify it! I haven't seen that one in my yard, or elsewhere that I've noticed.

Jun 22, 2012, 12:45pm Top

Pretty flower!

Jun 22, 2012, 12:51pm Top

It doesn't look all that spectacular as it's a very small flower, but I'll welcome it to my garden anyway! :)

Jun 23, 2012, 11:41am Top

150: I am happy to have small wildflowers between the official plants.

This morning I did a bit of volunteer work prepping for a fence around a community garden a few blocks from my house, and someone there told me about monarch waystation certification:
There is a seed kit:

Jun 23, 2012, 12:30pm Top

Isn't "white aven" the prettiest name?

Jun 23, 2012, 12:59pm Top

Wow on the Monarch project. Unfortunately, here in Montana, I see only the rare (slightly lost) Monarch.

Jun 23, 2012, 1:10pm Top

The community garden was news to me, mentioned a few days ago in the post of a Facebook acquaintance. It's in a field behind a middle school, visible from classroom windows, and hoped to be the first of several similar areas in the city. The woman who told me about the monarch waystation certification said there's milkweed growing at the edges of the field (I'll walk over and take a look some time), but few flowers to provide nectar, so she's growing those in her plot. I like the idea of having a community plot, but I won't have time to do it justice until my own yard is a little more self-maintaining.

Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 10:38pm Top

I probably won't order a monarch seed kit as I have had little luck with planting seeds this year. My plants have all done well (knocks wood) so far. I jus plan on enhancing my garden with more butterfly friendly plants and see where that takes me. I have only seen two non cabbage white butterflies this whole season so far.

What I find extremely distressing, though, is that I'm not seeing any of those large butterflies (we used to have several species here = monarch, tiger swallowtail, anise swallowtail, mourning cloak) anywhere in my community, even where I see wide swaths of butterfly friendly flowers. Maybe it's too early in the season? I don't know.

I think that there is simply not enough meadow in the city any more. Plus, all the butterfly friendly places near me are so isolated from one another. How, on earth, would any butterfly be able to find them?

That's why I'm doing a wildlife tally. I want to se exactly what kind of wild life I *am* attracting to my yard. Today I saw a mosquito. Then he she bit me. :(

My Native Species group is very active in community gardens and weed pulls. I have enough work just maintaining my own garden at this time.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 4:03pm Top

Today I moved a stack of bricks so the water faucet would be more easily accessible, and disrupted a nest of ants. Eggs between the bricks, ants frantically scrambling to move them. Oh dear, what to do... I dismantled the stack slowly, layer by layer, waiting while the ants moved the eggs. There was a seam in the sidewalk below the bricks, and ants took the eggs there, or maybe continued along the seam into the plant cover. All hands on deck, didn't take long, and I think most of the ants and eggs got resettled. Stacks of bricks remain for repopulation. Eventually though the bricks will be hauled away...

The plants have been in the circle for a week, but today I cleared away the surrounding weeds:

Original post: 23 June 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jun 23, 2012, 10:06pm Top

155: Maybe it's too early in the season? I don't know.
I don't know either. Maybe we should find out.

How, on earth, would any butterfly be able to find them?
I wonder the same thing.

I have enough work just maintaining my own garden at this time.
Yeah, me too, but I haven't been in this city long and want to meet people.

Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 10:15pm Top

Hey, Katherine. You're getting there!

Maybe we should find out.

I guess! :)

I wonder the same thing.


Yeah, me too, but I haven't been in this city long and want to meet people.

That's a great way to meet people - by being involved in an activity that you love (sort of like LibraryThing and Bookcrossing for me).

I find it fun to watch the ants scurrying to relocate thier eggs. Poor things! ;)

The "Nature Channel" here in my backyard is boring now. The robin left her nest and stopped batting the wren house. The mother wren and babies are gone. I never even got to see the babies. The male keeps singing, but can't seem to attact any more females. I actually looked into his "dummy nest" yesterday. It's built of twigs, spider cocoons, and one small feather. I guess no lady wrens like it! :)

Jun 23, 2012, 10:20pm Top

(155) That's why I'm doing a wildlife tally. I want to se exactly what kind of wild life I *am* attracting to my yard. Today I saw a mosquito. Then he bit me. :(

FYI: the ones that 'bite' are females...seeking blood for their young. Ouch, itch...

Jun 23, 2012, 10:38pm Top

I stand corrected! :)

Jun 23, 2012, 10:47pm Top

qebo, you are very kind to your ants.

Jun 23, 2012, 10:56pm Top

161: I like ants. I was sorry to disturb them, but I've had to step over debris and weeds and get all twisted around turning on the water for the plants, and I'm hoping to persuade other people to tend the plants when I'm away for a week in July. I hope the ants have learned their lesson that bricks are not a sensible place for raising children, but I fear not.

Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 11:35pm Top

I wouldn't raise kids among bricks! ;)

Jun 24, 2012, 9:02am Top

Ants are okay in my yard (aside from the afore mentioned 'fire ants'), but not in my house. I don't kill any creature without a very good reason.

Jun 24, 2012, 9:57am Top

155: Monarch life cycle: http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/.

Jun 24, 2012, 10:24am Top

Well, the monarch butterflies should be here by now. I see they haven't made it. :(

Jun 24, 2012, 11:24am Top

We had a lot up here in the earlier Spring, Squeaky--maybe they just kept right on going?

Jun 24, 2012, 2:27pm Top

They just skipped my place, I guess. :)

Jun 24, 2012, 3:46pm Top

Did you leave the light on for them...?


Jun 24, 2012, 4:07pm Top

No. Maybe that was it! :)

Jun 28, 2012, 5:31pm Top

I just learned from this article that the ant 'eggs' we see are usually legless larvae. The actual eggs are very small. Fascinating stuff.

Jun 28, 2012, 6:19pm Top

Aha! That might explain why ants seem so frantic when their 'eggs' are disturbed: they are really 'babies'. :)

Jun 28, 2012, 9:57pm Top

171: Thanks! Photos of the difference: http://blog.wildaboutants.com/2010/04/02/ant-eggs-versus-pupae/. Yes, mine are not eggs but some stage of larvae. Unfortunately my photos are snapshot quality and I can't zoom in to see details.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 6:32pm Top

Things have progressed since the circle photo of a week and a half ago. I've mulched around it, temporarily to prevent weeds. The plan is to replace the fence with pickets or something more open, and plant along it. Flowers are appearing!

The circle:

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed):

Eupatorium dubium and Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed):

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Mountain Mint):
(Identification tentative. It was tagged as Pycnanthemum muticum but so was another plant that is different.)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergemot):

Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Lobelia):

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather):

Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master):

Bins of annuals:

(Still having troubles with a mystery chomping critter, but five are far enough along to look like they'll make it.)

Butterfly bush:
(I want to replace this with something native, but the damn thing keeps growing.)

Original post: 4 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 4, 2012, 12:40pm Top

My Joe Pye weed is also about to burst into flower. My wild bergemot is just about finished. My swamp milkweed is just about to flower as well.

My husband said he saw a yellow butterfly today, but of course he neither knew what it was nor took a picture of it. I'll be on the look out for it in my garden, though.

Your garden has come a long way. Now, you have so many perenniels, you can sit back and watch them flower every year. :)

Have a safe an fun holiday, Katherine!

Jul 4, 2012, 1:10pm Top

It's really looking great! It's going to be great to watch it all coming up next spring!

I like the butterfly bush - even though it isn't native, it's attractive, although the white isn't my favourite colour. I covet the lovely rich pinks and purples, but it's a zone 5+ plant and we're zone 3. I can push the zones only so far - zone 4 plants is about my limit.

My joe pye weed is budding, too. I hacked back all the finished-blooming pyrethrum next to it so it has some room to shine.

Jul 4, 2012, 7:06pm Top

It is looking pretty darn good, isn't it! I too like your butterfly bush: healthy, full of blooms, attracting the butterflies. What's not to like? Thanks for the update pics. I always love looking at other people's gardens.

Jul 4, 2012, 7:50pm Top

177: Well, it attracts the bumblebees. I've seen very few butterflies. I'm hoping they'll eventually notice the native plants...

Jul 4, 2012, 7:52pm Top

Huh. One of the photos that was appearing sideways spontaneously righted itself. Maybe the others will too.

Jul 4, 2012, 8:00pm Top

The pile of bricks with the ants? I was over at the community garden yesterday assisting with fence construction, and heard two gardeners talking about wanting old bricks for borders. So I offered mine. One of the gardeners came by this morning with a car. She was fine with the policy of minimizing ant destruction, but she did not encounter any ants. So they did learn their lesson, and now the bricks are gone.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 6:33pm Top

Oh no! Someone/thing vandalized the Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohash), within the last 24 hours. I discovered this when I went out to water the strip at the side of the house.

You can see it newly planted in post 80. That's what was lopped off:

It was growing a second branch. That's what remains:

Original post: 4 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 6:34pm Top

This morning I went out to check the plants and there was a Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) on my milkweed! This is very exciting because I have been wondering how critters will find my milkweed.

My very own milkweed beetle:

Original post: 5 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 5, 2012, 9:59am Top

Huh! I was going to post a picture today, but I find mine is a milkweed bug. Researching the difference...

Jul 5, 2012, 12:21pm Top

tom cat? (noting spray on wall behind)

Jul 5, 2012, 12:24pm Top

I wonder why (no pun intended!) why someone would lop off a plant like that?

Probably some stupid kid/teen....

Jul 5, 2012, 1:02pm Top

184: I was watering the plants.
185: The kid/teen contingent is large, and the activity level was especially high yesterday with fireworks getting set off around and about the neighborhood.

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 9:15pm Top

Oh please please please rain. Watching the radar...

ETA: Rain to the east. Rain to the west. NOTHING here.

ETA more: Well a storm whipped through in about 10 minutes, dumped buckets of water (and this after I'd given up hope and watered my plants before dark), cut off the power for just long enough to mess up the clocks, and blew off the top of a tree on the next block, a big leafy tree which appears on cursory inspection to be hollow inside. Smashed a car, but its owner doesn't seem too upset. Also blew over three milkweeds, so I just went out to prop them up as best I could in the dark.

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 8:39pm Top

I want a milkweed beetle!! I love that picture of him, by the way. :)

All I found today were those nasty harlequin bugs. Yuck!

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 9:20pm Top

188: Isn't it cute? It was still (or again) there yesterday, on the underside of a leaf hanging upside down. I did not see it today.

ETA: I'm not entirely sure I'll think it's cute when I have 100 of them.

Jul 7, 2012, 9:31pm Top

We need to be careful what we wish for...

It usually rains after I water, but if I put off watering as we're about to get rain, we DON'T (get rain, that is).

Glad no one was hurt!

Jul 8, 2012, 8:49am Top

The milkweed beetle is back on the milkweed this morning.

Edited: Jul 8, 2012, 9:19am Top

I just went back to look at my Pinterest board. It seems that I *did* see a "large milkweed bug" in my yard - just not on my plants. I have on note about the kind I saw here! I should have dated when I saw it. It does say I pinned it 6 weeks ago. Of course, I haven't seen one since! :)

Jul 8, 2012, 11:39am Top

Here's a page with all the milkweed critters together: http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/2011/01/milkweeds-and-their-associated-inse.... All in keeping with the orange & black theme.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 6:44pm Top

After a week of horribleness, a lovely day. Spent a couple hours yesterday evening weeding the triangle and finding homes for the remaining potted plants.

The triangle in March. Note the butterfly bush, which I'd reduced to stubs after several of its branches were broken in a storm.

The triangle in May, before I began constructing the circle.

The triangle yesterday after weeding and cleanup. I want to keep the alliums because they're cool. In the left corner is Phlox paniculata 'David'. In the right corner is Parthenium ariculatum (Wild Quinine), with stems and flowers hacked off because the guy who sold it to me said I should and also they'd gone brown. In the back corner is Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove), not doing so well but showing signs of survival. It will replace some / all of the camas; I like the flowers, and I like the dried stems, but for a month plus the flowers are gone and the stems and leaves slooowly turn from green to brown, also they are multiplying underground and getting crowded. I somehow neglected / avoided taking a photo of this stage. Behind the triangle are the sunflowers, several now with flower buds. In the raised bed are a few sparsely scattered onions, and sweet peas that are wanting to climb.

A sunflower is emerging!

Eupatorium (Joe Pye). I have yet to see any wildlife interested in it.

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed).

The bins of annuals. Front to back: Chinese forget-me-nots, purple bells, bachelor's buttons.

Original post: 10 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 7:59pm Top

Eupatorium (Joe Pye). I have yet to see any wildlife interested in it.

Same here. LOL!!

Your garden is coming along so well! I like the pathways.

Jul 10, 2012, 10:32pm Top

I really like the shapes you have, with your beds and paths.

Jul 11, 2012, 6:42am Top

oh, very nice! The pictures weren't showing for me yesterday.
Thanks for showing us.

Jul 11, 2012, 7:29am Top

Love the layout of your gardens, and I especially love the pathways. I can't recall, did you do those yourself?

Jul 11, 2012, 8:16am Top

198: Mostly. Designed, dug trenches, filled with gravel/sand, roughed in the blocks, then my father helped with leveling the 12x12 blocks, and I filled in the smaller ones. Not a job I'd take on casually again. Looked so simple on graph paper, but it was a lot of strenuous work.

Jul 11, 2012, 1:00pm Top

You did a great job!

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 6:45pm Top

Sunflower! And more on the way.

Original post: 13 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 13, 2012, 9:29am Top

You are so lucky. None of mine made it - even to chidlhood. :(

Beautiful! Sunflowers are such happy flowers. Will you eat the seeds or leave them for the birds?

Jul 13, 2012, 10:03am Top

My sunflowers completely failed last year, and survived this year only with repeated efforts. I marked the locations with cylinders to separate sunflowers from weeds, planted multiple seeds in each cylinder, planted multiple seeds again, and again, when a chomping critter destroyed the sprouts. One cylinder is empty after three tries. Others still have small sprouts that may or may not make it. I expect to leave the sunflower seeds for whoever wants them.

Jul 13, 2012, 10:13am Top

Hmm? Cylinders sound like a good idea!

Jul 13, 2012, 4:50pm Top

Those top lateral branches on the plant on the left make it look like a jubilant winner - arms in the air; and a pretty leaf-green dress.

Jul 13, 2012, 7:08pm Top

I've had no luck with sunflowers either. The slugs simply love the small shoots when they come up. I'm trying to find the best natural way to get rid of them---other than picking them out of my garden by hand . YUCK!!

Jul 13, 2012, 8:21pm Top

Donnao, diatomaceous earth is wonderful, but although it is not a poison, you do have to use some care when you spread it.

Jul 13, 2012, 9:19pm Top

2WY. I do that to plants too! It struck me the same way. Why is it that sunflowers look so good against a weathered board fence?

Jul 13, 2012, 9:22pm Top

205,208: My imagination's not so great, but I can see it now that you mention.

Jul 14, 2012, 7:27am Top

It's RAINING! Yay! The down side is that I did a round of weeding everything this week, and I'll be away next week. I fear what the weeds will do in my absence.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:03pm Top

The red admiral butterfly stayed long enough for me to get the camera.

A bee and fly and ant on the sunflower.

Word of the day: a bee stores pollen in its corbicula.

Original post: 14 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 11:04am Top

Wow! Great butterfly! I've never seen one that looks like that.

Qebo = 1
SqueakyChu = 0

I liked learning the new word as well! :)

Jul 14, 2012, 10:38pm Top

Red admirals want either Urtica dioica stinging nettle ("never touch this plant without rubber gloves") or Boehmeria cylindria false nettle ("lacks stinging hairs") for their eggs and caterpillars.

Jul 14, 2012, 11:23pm Top

What plant do you have that it landed on?

Jul 14, 2012, 11:48pm Top

Looks like a Butterfly bush...

Jul 15, 2012, 7:33am Top

Yeah, the butterfly bush. Which I want to replace. Butterflies like the nectar but won't lay eggs on it.

Jul 15, 2012, 10:50am Top

Try butterfly weed. It has such a pretty orange flower.

I had that plant before, but my invasive plants must have eaten it up. :(

Jul 15, 2012, 10:59am Top

Lovely visitors, qebo, and good photo captures!

Jul 15, 2012, 2:11pm Top

Send me your butterfly bush, I'll take it! :)

Jul 16, 2012, 5:25pm Top

Your butterfly is prettier than mine, but here's mine from today! :)

Silver spotted skipper on purple coneflower

qebo = 1
SqueakyChu = 1

My husband saw two hummingbirds fighting over the lobelia cardinalis today! I didn't see them, though. :(

Jul 16, 2012, 5:46pm Top

I love your coneflower, too!

Edited: Jul 16, 2012, 8:01pm Top

When I bought it, it had two of the same butterflies on it...but they flew away before I paid for it. :)

The garden center takes credit for the beautiful coneflower. It was Behnke's. I like to shop there because they identify which of the plants are native plants to my area. That's really nice!

Jul 17, 2012, 10:27am Top

Yay the score is even. That's not a familiar butterfly. I've been thinking about coneflowers but I don't know where to put them. (BTW I'm in California for a week so I can't see anything in my yard. Also it's hard to type on a phone.)

Jul 17, 2012, 12:37pm Top

Wherever they get sun, plant coneflowers. They will thrive in dry and poor conditions, too, once they are established.

Edited: Jul 17, 2012, 8:11pm Top

> 223

Actually, skippers are pretty common around here. It's just that I have had none in my garden for so long!

Jul 23, 2012, 11:09pm Top

I was very excited to come today and find an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on my Joe Pye weed plant. It then moved to the swamp milkweed (just like the book said it should!).

Here's a picture...

qebo = 1
SqueakyChu = 2

I think that's it for local butterflies for me as I've never seen other kinds here except for perhaps an occasional monarch. I'll be watching, though.

I looked up my butterfly on wikipedia and discovered that the one pictured (I took that picture) was a male. The female has a row of blue dots on her hind wings. My husband saw a female Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly last week on a neighbor's purple coneflower. He took a picture of that butterfly for me on his phone. How sweet! :)

Edited: Jul 24, 2012, 1:25am Top

Aw, that was sweet. And how excellent to get another butterfly! I've been away for a week, returning tomorrow. I expect to find more weeds than butterflies. Today I went to the butterfly pavilion at the natural history museum in Los Angeles for inspiration.

Jul 24, 2012, 8:03am Top

Last year I went to a live butterly exhibit at the local Brookside Gardens (Wheaton, Maryland). It was amazing. You can walk into the room which has butterflies flying all around you. They bring back that exhibit with new butterflies each year.

Jul 24, 2012, 12:44pm Top

Nice picture!

Jul 24, 2012, 1:12pm Top

Oh he's a beauty!

Jul 24, 2012, 9:20pm Top

Actually, the eastern tiger swallowtail has always been a fairly common butterfly where I live even though it's rather showy. I don't see many of them any more so the fact that it showed up at all here was great.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:04pm Top

An exciting day in the garden! In my absence, plants, some wanted and others not, have been proliferating, and a storm last night caused disarray so repair may take awhile. I stepped out several times to assess the situation, and saw: (1) A red admiral, but I've seen it (or one just like it) before so it doesn't add to my count. (2) What I'm supposing was a summer azure, flitting around the Chinese forget-me-nots. I didn't have a camera, so I'm not certain, but it was much smaller than the cabbage white. Nice to see because one of its host plants is Joe Pye. (3) What I thought initially was a hummingbird because of the hovering and blurry wings, but then I looked more closely... A hummingbird moth, identified by its two yellow stripes as a nessus sphinx moth. This one I caught with the camera:

qebo = 2
SqueakyChu = 2

Original post: 25 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 10:28pm Top

This was the summer azure that was in my garden earlier this year, but I won't add it to our count either because we hadn't started our little competition yet! :)

Doesn't it look dainty? :)

ETA: Here it looks gigantic, but it is really kind of small. I love this photo. Most of my photos don't come out so clear.

Jul 25, 2012, 9:26pm Top

I love your picture of the hummingbird moth. That's so cool, and a great picture!!

My husband saw a female black swallowtail butterfly today and took a picture of it with his phone. I'm not adding it to our count because I didn't see it, but I'll look for it tomorrow! :)

Jul 25, 2012, 9:46pm Top

Yeah, I didn't add the summer azure because you didn't, and also because I didn't get a photo. It had white wings with little spots, but it was flitting about and I didn't memorize the pattern for comparison. We could add it to the competition retroactively, but I'd say if we do then you can count it and I am obligated to get a photo.

Also missing the camera were two varieties of bumble bee on the same milkweed, one notably smaller than the other.

Jul 25, 2012, 10:27pm Top

Let's get points only for photos of moths and butterflies if we find some that are different. Let's not do retroactive.

Photos are good because then we can for sure identify the species. Well...maybe we could possibly identify the species. Well...maybe we could guess at identifying the species! :)

Forget about identifyig bees!! That was too hard. We'll still try a little, though, with the bees, that is.

Jul 26, 2012, 12:12am Top

Wow, the hummingbird moth is fabulous! What a great photo!

Jul 26, 2012, 7:03am Top

I'm very impressed by both your photo skills. I've been trying as well, and my results are not worth keeping.

Jul 26, 2012, 10:42am Top

236: I googled something like "moth hummingbird yellow stripes" and was a little amazed that my initial impression is the norm, and everyone else also describes it as a moth that looks like a hummingbird and it is named accordingly.
234,237,238: Complete fluke. The wings were a blur, and I snapped a dozen photos randomly, surprised when one happened to catch just the right moment. I'm envious of SqueakyChu's closeups.

Jul 26, 2012, 12:38pm Top

From Shenandoah Park's Facebook page:

This Red Admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, flew onto my finger as I was photographing milkweed. She clung on to me as well as she good as I continued to take pictures along the side of the trail, and kept coming back to my finger every time I would get too far from her. I've never seen anything like it...you just never know what kind of new friends you'll make in Shenandoah! If you see this personable little butterfly out in the park, tell her I said "hello"!

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:07pm Top

So I fixed a problem at work, yay me, and stepped into the yard for a brief break, remembering the camera since I'd forgotten it at critical moments yesterday, and I saw, flitting about on my milkweeds...

It flew away while I was trying to get at it from a better angle.

I checked the difference between Monarch and Viceroy, and mine does not have the black stripe on its hindwings, so it's a Monarch!

qebo = 3
SqueakyChu = 2

Original post: 26 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 26, 2012, 12:46pm Top

Woo! Pretty!

I've not been checking out my gardens this past week: with the thunderstorms every afternoon and the extreme heat, I've just not 1. felt like going out in the heat of the late afternoon and 2. had the opportunity to do so.

I do get butterflies, but have not captured any on 'film'. :(

Jul 26, 2012, 12:54pm Top

> 239

I'm envious of SqueakyChu's closeups.

Does your camera have a macro setting? That's what captures the details in the close-ups. It's not a particuarly expensive camera, nor am I a particularly good photographer. The camera is a Canon Powershot digital Elph.

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 1:00pm Top

> 241

so it's a Monarch!

How cool is that?!!!!!!!

The monarch is the butterfly we're trying to save because it's numbers have been dwindling. You're doing your part! :)

Heh! Our competition is heating up. :)

Jul 26, 2012, 1:02pm Top

243: Yeah, it does, but my closeup photos aren't nearly as crisp as yours. Could be the camera, could be I need to fiddle with settings. My camera is also a Canon, SD800, about five years old.

Jul 26, 2012, 1:03pm Top

244: How cool is that?!!!!!!!
Completely made my day!

Jul 26, 2012, 1:07pm Top

You two are funny! Only gardeners could have a butterfly competition--and on a site dedicated to books and reading, no less!

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 1:38pm Top

LOL @ tiffin! The truth is that I hate to leave LT. :)

I just checked out my garden for butterflies, but, alas, all I found were mosquitoes. :(

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:08pm Top

It returned for a more complete photo, then flew off to a tree.

247: Books? Oh, right.
248: I mostly have bees.

Original post: 26 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 26, 2012, 3:00pm Top

That's a gorgeous photo! You're so lucky to have a monarch butterfly visiting your swamp milkweed (which looks better than my puny one). :)

Jul 26, 2012, 3:20pm Top

Three of my milkweeds are looking quite happy, and one of them is developing pods. But a fourth, which came from the same nursery, is scrawny, and I don't know what the difference might be. I also have two from another nursery that are still small.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:09pm Top

Hah, got it. Summer Azure flitting around the Chinese forget-me-nots again this evening, and the Cerinthe / purple bells in the next bin.

I say we count them.

qebo = 4
SqueakyChu = 3

Original post: 26 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 26, 2012, 9:48pm Top

It's okay to count them since I'm losing! :D

At least I have my summer azure documented on a picture. I think it was too hot for any bugs in my garden today...although there were crickets (small black ones) as well as mosquitoes.

What are those blue flowers? They're so pretty!

I'm having quite a time with plant height. I seem to have all my plants in the wrong places because I couldn't anticipate their heights correctly. I guess I'll do better next year. My Joe Pye Weed's flowers are way over my head. I had to stand on a chair to get the picture of the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly!

My husband's insulted that I didn't count the butterfly that he saw. The picture on his phone was so small that I couldn't even identify what kind of butterfly it was. He'll have to get over it. ;)

Jul 26, 2012, 9:50pm Top

These close up photos are really fun! Look at the summer azures. THey have zebra-striped antennae! :)

Jul 26, 2012, 10:09pm Top

253: It's okay to count them since I'm losing!
You wouldn't be losing if you counted your husband's photo.

What are those blue flowers?
Chinese forget-me-nots. I've planted them in previous years. Non-native but they're annuals in bins which I think is OK.

I'm having quite a time with plant height.
I'm expecting I'll have to move things. I went by the tags on the plants, but some of them gave wide ranges, like 3'-5', and I'd guess they don't reach full height the first year. Recently I visited someone who had a "baby" Joe Pye, supposedly the smallest variety, and it was over my head.

Jul 26, 2012, 10:11pm Top

254: They have zebra-striped antennae!
Isn't that cool? I rejected a few other photos because the antennae didn't show up.

Jul 26, 2012, 10:14pm Top

This thread is getting long... I'll start a new one in August.

Jul 26, 2012, 11:14pm Top

I don't want my husband messing with my own butterfly count. If he wants to, he can start his own count! :D

Edited: Jul 27, 2012, 1:56pm Top

I'm going to need help identifying this one! I think it's in the skipper family.

qebo = 4
SqueakyChu = 4

It was sitting on the grass. It was very small so I didn't get a good picture of it. I was afraid it was going to fly away. It was sitting with its wings half-open - kind of like a jet plane. :)

Maybe it's a fiery skipper - Hylephila phyleus. Tell me what you think. Mine certainly had large eyes. I didn't see it flying, though. I ran inside, then it was gone when I went back outside. Mine was probably a male as it had orange wings with brown spots.

Check out this fun website!

Jul 27, 2012, 1:56pm Top

I don't know why I'm putting my butterflies on your thread, but it's fun to see them all in one place. What do you think?

Jul 27, 2012, 2:00pm Top

I think fiery skipper too. I have a book now, Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, and the wing pattern looks just like the female fiery skipper.

Jul 27, 2012, 2:01pm Top

260: Hmm, maybe we need a separate thread for butterfly sightings? Then other people can join the competition. :-)

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:10pm Top

Stepped outside and happened to see this one fluttering around and landing briefly on the butterfly bush. Didn't manage to zoom in before it flew away, but it seems to be a Red Spotted Admiral (Limenitis arthemis).

qebo = 5
SqueakyChu = 4

Original post: 27 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:10pm Top

Seems to be butterfly season. Fluttering orange caught my eye as I was standing in the kitchen making coffee, so I dashed outside and followed it around with the camera. A Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia).

qebo = 6
SqueakyChu = 4

(Truly I'm working today, but it's extremely tedious and butterflies are a nice respite.)

Original post: 27 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 27, 2012, 3:26pm Top

LOL!! I can't believe how many new butterflies you're sighting!!

Jul 27, 2012, 3:26pm Top

Can I count the cabbage white butterfly? I got a photo this morning.

Edited: Jul 27, 2012, 3:30pm Top

Yes. Add your cabbage butterfly. I'll go grab a picture of one when one comes by here (probably never again!). :)

Jul 27, 2012, 3:36pm Top

How about the little brown moths in the compost bin? :-) (I'd have to (a) get a decent photo and (b) identify them. Together, these may be insurmountable hurdles.)

Jul 27, 2012, 4:06pm Top

I think we can do both butterflies and moths. We can go out on a night moth hunt! :)

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:11pm Top

OK, here's the Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) butterfly of this morning.

qebo = 7
SqueakyChu = 4

A little while ago I saw the Monarch and the Variegated Fritillary again, two orange butterflies flying around in my yard at the same time. And just now, the Summer Azure is back.

I've never particularly noticed butterflies before, don't know what's around in the neighborhood that I might anticipate seeing in my yard.

Original post: 27 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 27, 2012, 6:52pm Top

I think all my butterfies are vacationing in Pennsylvania! :)

Jul 27, 2012, 7:17pm Top

I haven't seen a Swallowtail. :-(

Jul 27, 2012, 8:21pm Top

They should come to your Joe Pye weed or swamp milkweed. Don't give up! :)

Jul 28, 2012, 8:24am Top

I saw what I think is a lunar moth, yesterday. I'll try to remember to upload a picture (I took several).

Jul 28, 2012, 10:08am Top

Now I'm ultra-impressed!

Jul 28, 2012, 10:29am Top

I have never seen a lunar in real life but I would just love to.

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 3:46pm Top

I haven't been able to capture a white cabbage butterfly on film yet, but here's today's butterfly. It's sitting on a daylily leaf in my picture but it was feeding on the threadleaf coreopsis.

qebo = 7
SqueakyChu = 5

Poor thing! Look at it's hind wing. :(

ETA: P.S. It's a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).

Jul 28, 2012, 2:35pm Top

277: Poor thing! Look at it's hind wing. :(
Which raised the question of whether wings can grow back. Answer: no. But... they can be fixed: http://www.livemonarch.com/hospital.htm !

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 2:44pm Top

That's amazing (and the story as well)! I doubt if I'd even try for such delicate repair. This butterfly I saw today seemed to be flying pretty well on its own.

I also doubt if I'd be comfortable cutting off a part of a butterfly's wing - even knowing it needs the balance.

Jul 28, 2012, 2:44pm Top

Hey! My butterfly also has those zebra-striped antennae we noticed on otherbutterflies yesterday!

Jul 28, 2012, 2:49pm Top

In identifying my butterfly, I was confused by how similar so many of them are. The variegated fritillary (that you saw) and my silvery checkerspot are both brush-footed butterflies (whatever that means!). :)

Jul 28, 2012, 2:54pm Top

Wow! You've all been having fun here. Nice photos.

Jul 28, 2012, 3:04pm Top

277: ETA: P.S. It's a silvery checkerspot
Didn't you have Pearl Crescent initially? Markings look more like Pearl Crescent photos in my butterfly book.

281: brush-footed butterflies (whatever that means!)
Sez Wikipedia re Nymphalidae family: "In adult butterflies the first pair of legs are small or reduced, giving the family the other names of four-footed or brush-footed butterflies."

Jul 28, 2012, 3:07pm Top

281: In identifying my butterfly, I was confused by how similar so many of them are.
Yeah, took me awhile to identify my fritillary, saw a bunch of almost but not quite. Doesn't help that some of the internet photos are mislabeled.

Jul 28, 2012, 3:12pm Top

A thunderstorm just passed through. I went outside when it was done and saw several bumblebees huddled upside down under leaves. Awww.

Jul 28, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Hope they recover, qebo.

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 3:55pm Top

> 283

Didn't you have Pearl Crescent initially?

I did!

You're right. I'm changing it back to a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos). :D

ETA: Well, 7/8 of a pearl crescent. :(

Jul 28, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Silvery Checkerspot: Rear wings have a couple of white spots outlined in black, which yours doesn't.
Pearl Crescent: Front wings have a couple of yellow blobs with black dots at the center, which yours does.

Jul 28, 2012, 3:48pm Top

> 287

Heh! See my editing of message #286.

Want to become a park naturalist with me? ;)

Jul 28, 2012, 3:50pm Top

I'm impressed...

Jul 28, 2012, 3:52pm Top

289: There are two million species so far discovered. I can identify maybe a few dozen.

Jul 28, 2012, 3:55pm Top

Well, you have to start somewhere!

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 3:58pm Top

Actually that pearl crescent was kind of small butterfly and hard to photograph. I took maybe a dozen pictures of it, and that was the only one that came out. It definitely did not want me to see the designs it has on the dorsal side of its wings! Its preference was to remain incognito. :)

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:12pm Top

Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on the Joe Pye this evening. I ran upstairs to get the camera, and when I returned it was still there.

qebo = 8
SqueakyChu = 5

Also saw both Admirals, Red and Red Spotted this morning.

Original post: 28 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:13pm Top

This morning, a Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii) on the milkweed.

And a mystery caterpillar on a violet. Can anyone identify it?

Handy caterpillar identification guide: http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?guide=Caterpillars.
It's a Variegated Fritillary caterpillar. This is perfect, because Viola is supposed to be a Variegated Fritillary host. Also something has been chewing holes in my violets, but whenever I've looked under the leaves I've seen only pill bugs and millipedes.

Original post: 28 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 28, 2012, 10:31pm Top

You are getting to be quite the expert, Katherine!

Hmmm? So that is where my silver spotted skipper went!

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:14pm Top

Saw what I think was another Summer Azure, and I had the camera, but it was too small and far away to be sure. Then a few minutes later, a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

qebo = 9
SqueakyChu = 5

Original post: 30 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jul 30, 2012, 3:39pm Top

Try those pictures again. They didn't stay put.
Oh, there they are! Took longer to download.
Nice Painted Lady! I've never seen one.

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:15pm Top

Ooh, I did get a photo good enough for identification, and it's not a Summer Azure, it's an Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas), similar markings but with a yellow splotch near the edge, also smaller.

qebo = 10
SqueakyChu = 5

Original post: 30 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Edited: Jul 30, 2012, 4:58pm Top

Wow! Beautiful!! Both of the butterflies...

My plants need to start sending out more signals to local butterflies! :)

Jul 30, 2012, 5:05pm Top

I am worried that most of my butterflies have dropped by once and never returned, so maybe my yard initially seemed promising but didn't pass closer inspection.

Jul 30, 2012, 5:28pm Top

..or maybe they were just passing through. Butterflies do migrate!

Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 7:16pm Top

Skipper on sunflower leaf. Sooo many species of skipper, and this seems close but not quite to several. It flew away when I tried to peek at the underside of its wings.

qebo = 11
SqueakyChu = 5

ETA: Oops. Fixed typo.

(Or should I wait for ID before I count it?)

ETA: Closest I find in my book and SqueakyChu's link is Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna). There's enough variation in images for plausibility, but I'm not certain.

Monarch on the butterfly bush again today.

ETA: And for a brief moment this afternoon, Monarch and Painted Lady and Red Admiral all flying around in the yard at the same time.

Original post: 31 July 2012
Edited to change photo source.

Jul 31, 2012, 10:07pm Top

"You should ID it (as best you can/your closest guess) before you count it", says "SquakyChu". :)

Use this website in which you can post your zip code. That will narrow down the number of skippers.

Aug 1, 2012, 9:24am Top

Ever obedient to the rules, I have tentatively identified the skipper. The zip code filter is useful. My butterfly book includes maps of typical range.

Now it's time for a new thread.

This topic was continued by qebo's 2012 garden (2).

Group: Gardens & Books

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