I have treasures I do not own.
I have waited for years for Monarchs to come to my Butterfly weed.
Finally, they came and laid eggs on the Asclepias tuberosa.
Now there are caterpillars eating the Asclepias leaves as they should.
I hope they pupate where I can watch over them.
(I do not interfere with wildlife unless necessary.)
I am thrilled they are here. They are treasured guests.
I hope the cycle continues for years to come.
More Monarchs…More caterpillars…
Thanks to some seeds that I saved from another garden.
My dreams are small. My treasures are alive.
Life is precious.
I am always on the lookout for some fun fungi.
One of my favorites is the Indigo Milky Cap mushroom, Lactarius indigo.
I think they are lovely.
The inside and sap are true indigo blue.
These show up under our oaks in the fall.
This one has a distorted shape. It is rubbery and tough. I never eat wild mushrooms. I love my liver.
This is my first year with Verbena bonariensis. It was a gift.
I love it for its tight purple clusters of blooms and its airy loose stems.
I did not know that it was a butterfly favorite.
On any warm day, I can count on a show at the verbena arena.
I cut the stems back when they went to seed, thinking the show was over.
I was mistaken. They have grown back and re-bloomed.
I will be cutting them back each June to encourage a second show in August.
Who knew? Probably you. Flower is always the last to know everything.
This is so much easier than chasing butterflies.
My three Saddlebacks, Acharia stimulea, have stayed on the coffee tree for weeks now.
They are slowly getting bigger as they nibble leaves away from end to stem.
I caught a photo of one just as it molted.
One paused on top of a bean for hours.
I have been stung several times trying to find them. I pester pests.
They have a face on their backside to trick predators.
I will miss them when they pupate.
It’s been one of my daily tasks to check on them.
Beautiful but toxic.
Not everything cute should be petted.
I hope this is not an insult to the caterpillars. (“You talkin’ to me woman?”)
They are named for their yellow necks, Yellow-necked caterpillars(Datana ministra)
They appear every year on the same little oak.
I notice because the leaves disappear due to skeletonization. Which is a fancy way of saying everything is eaten but the veins.
I purposely disturb them just to watch them twitch. They go into defense posture.
The adult moth is called the Yellow-necked Caterpillar Moth. Ho Hum!
It looks like a rolled brown leaf with a scalloped end. I have never seen one in person.
The poor moth can’t live down its baby nickname. Kind of like “Stinky” or “Tootie.”
How would you like to be named after your favorite food?
Ms. Chocolate Eclair? Mr. Potato Chip? Mrs. Pimento Cheese?
Well someone named these bugs after their food, Large Milkweed Bug.
Its Latin name is not much better, Oncopeltus fasciatus. That sounds like a disease!
I found these on my Butterfly weed which is in the Milkweed family.
Here is an adult on a seed pod.
These nymphs do not have wings yet.
They are the same color as the Asclepias blooms.
Is this camouflage? I doubt it.
You are what you eat. These are toxic due to the milk weed seeds that they ingest.
They don’t need to hide.
Flower (Ms. Mongolian Beef)
I appreciate my gap-filling plants that keep the butterflies around all summer.
One of the butterfly favorites is garlic chives, Alium tuberosa.
These lovely white bloom clusters are full of fliers in August.
I can count on getting photographs of something on them any time of day.
This morning I had the good fortune of finding a Painted Lady.
These have four eyespots with a cobweb pattern on the underside of their hindwings.
The garlic chive plants keep them busy until the sedums bloom.
This plant is so hardy that a clump has survived out of the ground for over a year.
I cut the blooms as they mature because it will seed itself everywhere.
It is deer resistant and beautiful. The butterflies are an added bonus.
Nature knows everything. We need to pay attention.
Plants plan ahead.
Let’s look at this vine.
It came up from some seeds of ornamental gourds that I threw out.
At each leaf joint is a bud cluster, which blooms one at a time, and a long three-pronged tendril.
Why such a big tendril for such a small bloom?
Because that little bloom will turn into a heavy squash/gourd.
That fruit will need to be supported if the vine is climbing.
The plant plans ahead by having a built in support system with each bloom. (Like a baby with a college fund.)
We will never know more than nature.
Pay attention people!
I learned something new today all by myself without books or the internet.
I was trying to get a photo of a giant dragon fly.
My daddy calls these “Snake Doctors” which makes no sense to me.
I thought I understood why they had the other name “Darner.”
I thought it was because they were big and straight like darning needles.
I was trying to get a photo of this dragon fly zooming by.
I put my camera on the action setting. I took dozens of blurred photos.
Then I paused to watch it fly back and forth, back and forth, over and over.
There was a pattern to its flight.
An epiphany occurred in the Flower’s brain.
It was not named for the shape of the needle.
It was named for the act of going back and forth like darning a hole in fabric.
Now that I knew this, I waited for it to fly back by.
Here is a flyby photo of a darner darning.
I love my little life!