Some new updates~Butterfly’s!

so I’ve been lazy about posting on the blog but I have not been lazy in the garden lots of nice changes. In keeping with my promise to myself to increase my chances of having butterflies and bees I am happy to say I am seeing success! I have planted a bed of fennel, with some parsley and dill and I just saw yesterday my first baby black swallowtail  Catapillar  on a fennel plant, WOOHOO!

The last picture is showing some eggs  that are about to hatch shortly. When the butterfly lays the eggs they’re clear to whitish but then they turn dark when the baby Catapillar is ready to emerge, so cool! Today it is just like raining on and off really heavy at times and I keep going out to check on him, poor baby he’s getting pelted with rain and I believe there might be one or two other babies that hatched though they really tiny I will report back. Yesterday also was waxing a female black swallowtail butterfly laying eggs on some of the Fennel plants so I was psyched to see that.

This is a cool little video I took a couple weeks ago see that swallow tail has made her presence known in my yard I love it!

 

OK so I just may be obsessed with Catapillar’s/black swallowtail butterfly’s/and stuff like that but I just can’t help but be fascinated by the whole process that these creatures go through . had I known what I know now when I was younger it would have definitely lead me on a different path professionally and I would imagine on a personal level, I am just at awe,it’s all totally captivating. With this said I will definitely dive into other aspects of gardening and nature and things of that sort give a little insight of things that worked and things that I’m trying. I like Posting these things not only to help whoever happens upon my blog but as a Diery of sort of my journey into the beautiful garden that my wonderful husband made for me!

IMG_6079IMG_6080IMG_6081

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YAY Spring 2017

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine. ~Jeffrey Glassberg

Ok so I am back, so glad Spring has sprung. This video has gotten me in the mood for getting my butt in gear and get out to the Garden. I have lots of goodies growing and can’t wait to try some new things!  Sorry I will get the videos taken care of

 

 

 

Getting rid of Grass Before & After….

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

From day one I hated  having grass in the garden area. The upkeep is time consuming and it never really had that “manicured” look to me.

We have come a long way from here:

img_0761

After a lot of work on my husbands part we were here:

grass=Messy, messy, messy!

 

Ok so we took the plunge and started on a Saturday morning after the Tenn. River Rock was delivered

img_3897

Than the weed barrier was laid on top of the grass, that was cut ultra short.

Figuring out where to place the pavers was a bit tricky and we took my natural stride into consideration and placed them accordingly, so it is easy for both me and my husband to walk on them with ease.

Now the hard part….Bucket by bucket we added the river rock to the garden, this step went well into Sunday…But when we finally finished this is what we had. We just love the effect!

More to come…..

 

 

 

 

Bees

The lovely flowers embarrass me, they make me regret I am not a bee~Emily Dickinson, 1864

 

I have never had such beautiful basil plants as I did this season. For the first time in my life I did not cut off the basil flowers and my gosh did the bees love this! The basil plant below was the one they seemed to love the best and it was amazing to hear all the buzzing going on each time I walked past it, too cool! I planted regular basil and Thai basil. Next season I will be planting other varieties as well.  I read that they are attracted to the color purple and now for sure I believe it! They were also all over my Bottle Brush Bush.

 

 

e894610a-a1c1-405e-835a-c99904300622

Got to keep those very important bees happy , they are essential to pollination.

img_3642-2

So glad Bill took this video and texted it to me at work….made me smile (but I wished I was there)!

Some interesting information…….

Bees are some of the hardest working creatures on the planet, and because of their laborious work ethic, we owe many thanks to this amazing yet often under appreciated insect.

Our lives – and the world as a whole – would be a much different place if bees didn’t exist. To illustrate this fact, consider these numbers: bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.

Honeybees and the other pollinators and the invaluable pollinating services they provide us with helped produce approximately $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S. alone in 2010; that’s estimated to be one-third of everything we eat! The other animal pollinators such as bats, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, and beetles contributed to an estimated $10 billion in 2010! To say we rely on the pollination efforts of bees (and other animals) to sustain our modern food system is an understatement.

Let’s take a look at the amazing world of bees and acknowledge all they do for us:

Different Types of Bees

Worldwide, there are around 25,000 different types of bee species (around 4,000 in the U.S.). This huge number is divided into over 4,000 genera of bees, which are then further subdivided into just nine families of bees. The Apidae family is perhaps the most well known family, with familiar members such as the honeybee, carpenter bee, and bumblebee.

All of these species dutifully serve as pollinators of our agricultural world. And they are all excellent at what they do. For example, all bees have stiff hairs and pockets on their legs, allowing them to collect more pollen and be more efficient transporters of it between plants. Not only that, bumblebees appear to be even more successful at pollinating certain crops due to their larger sizes and more vigorous vibrations. This helps to better disperse pollen amongst the flowers and fruits it visits.

Pollination – How it Works & Why it’s Important

What is pollination? Simply put, it is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower, the anther, to the stigma, which is the female part of the flower. Upon the two’s meeting, a plant’s seed, nut, or fruit is then formed.

Some plants rely on animals to assist with their pollination process, while others can pollinate themselves or rely on the wind to do it for them.

Bees also tend to focus their energies on one species of plant at a time. By visiting the same flowers of a particular species in one outing, much higher quality pollination occurs – rather than spreading many different pollens to different plants which are not being pollinated, all plants of one species are getting an even distribution of vital pollen from others of its same species.

Pollination is essentially plant reproduction. Without help from animal pollinators, our everyday food supply would look much different – at least one third of our staples we’ve come to rely on would no longer be available.

Bees Provide Sources of Food

few examples of the foods that would no longer be available to us if bees ceased pollinating our agricultural goods are: broccoli, asparagus, cantaloupes, cucumbers, pumpkins, blueberries, watermelons, almonds, apples, cranberries, and cherries.

Honey is a food product created by bees and is not to be forgotten. Made by bees regurgitating nectar and passing it back and forth in their mouths to one another before depositing and sealing it in a honeycomb, its intended use is for the bees’ winter food stores. Humans are quite fond of this amber liquid as well – the 2013 honey crop was valued at $317.1 million.

Bees Beautify the Planet

Pollinating flowers and contributing to the beautification of the planet’s floral landscapes may be the bees’ perhaps simplest and least economically important actions, but it’s certainly its most aesthetically pleasing one.

By keeping flowers pollinated, bees perpetuate floral growth and provide attractive habitats for other animals such as insects and birds.

Bees are easily amongst the most important insects to humans on Earth. These humble, buzzing bugs deserve a huge thanks – for helping provide us with our favorite fruits and vegetables, their delicious honey, and beautiful, flowery gardens!

 

More to come……

More on my new best friends!

Butterflies, bees our winged, happy friends Oh, to dance in the air and float on the breeze… ~ Terri Guillemets 

Yesterday I was doing more research on butterfly’s in my area of Charleston SC. I spent a few hours in the garden a couple of weeks ago on a warm, sunny fall day and was so surprised at the amount of different butterfly’s and moths fluttering about.

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly I believe, having it’s way with my Cypress Vine – :>)

cloudysulphur

Red-Banded Hairstreak Butterfly on a Echinacea flower

img_3882

Sachem Skipper

img_3888

Long-Tailed Skipper  on a Justicia brandegeeana (Mexican shrimp plant). He was very pretty with his blue/green and yellow/orange back. He was superfast and hard to take a picture of. This was the best one I could get… Love the new IPhone 7 plus they take great pictures!

longtailedskipper

Last but by far my favorite to date! Found this beauty noshing away on my Fennel plant back in May. He was such a beautiful caterpillar I had to find out what he was and thank god for google…found out it was the caterpillar of the Black Swallow Tail Butterfly – OMG! I put him back on the fennel plant and check out the three short videos to see what happened – :>)

img_3336

 

Here is a great picture of a Black Swallow tail, sadly it’s not mine and I only was able to see and appreciate his beauty for a very brief time that one morning .

untitled.png

Posting these made me smile today. More to come…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Someone Say BUTTERFLYS!

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun And find your shoulder to light on, To bring you luck, happiness and riches Today, tomorrow and beyond. ~ Irish blessing 

Had some success this season and many (ouch) failures as well. By chance I happened to plant some of the right things and had lots of butterfly’s and bees, what a hoot! Ok so my main objective this coming season is going to be to get more butterfly’s, bees and hummingbirds to visit (and hopefully live in ) my garden, because to me, that is what gardening is all about. To sit and just watch all the activity is a truly wonderful feeling!  The more I read about caterpillars/butterfly’s and the whole transformation the more I must have them in my garden!

One thing I am glad I did was take the time and do some research when I noticed something was seriously eating my passionflower vine. A very pleasant surprise!

Fritillary Butterfly!

Notice in the pic below all the orange caterpillar’s on the Passion Flower Vine and the beautiful Fritillary Butterfly flying around.

I am very happy to share with them as this is a host plant for this butterfly and they will lay their eggs and the caterpillar babies are one hungry bunch! One of their “nectar plants” is Echinacea flowers, which I’m so glad I grew from seed and planted this season. It’s been one of my personal favorites for years and  I will be planting lots more in the future. I’m glad the butterfly’s love this plant as much as I do!

IMG_3857.jpg

close up of the Caterpillar…awesome!

IMG_3830.jpg

IMG_3847.jpgIMG_3807.jpg

Some interesting Information……

Butterfly Host Plants

Even though host plants aren’t top-of-mind when planning a butterfly garden, no butterfly garden is complete without these important, ‘behind-the-scenes’, plants.

Host plants are the nurseries of the garden. If you keep an eye out you’ll see the female as she flits around the plant, gently laying her next brood’s eggs, sometimes on the top of leaves but usually on the bottom, hidden from predators.

Then, in 10 to 14 days, the tiny larvae, less than an eighth inch long, emerge and begin eating the plant. It’s a fascinating process as they munch away, growing larger everyday. Equally fascinating is watching the caterpillar leave the plant to form a chrysalis.

Host plants range from flowering plants like Milkweed and Passion Vine, to herbs like Fennel, to bushes as well as trees like Sweet Bay Magnolia.

By including both host plants and nectar plants in your garden, you can attract a wider selection of butterflies while providing an environment that supports their entire life cycle.

Butterfly Nectar Plants

Of the two types of plants you’ll need to attract butterflies to your garden, nectar plants usually get top billing. And why not? They add color, style and beauty to your garden while providing the food most butterflies and other wildlife need to sustain life.

For butterflies, presentation is everything so by grouping a number of the same nectar plants together you’ll help butterflies see your scrumptious offering from a distance.

Some nectar plants have the reputation of being favorites to a wide variety of butterflies – plants such as Coneflower, Butterfly Bush, Tall Verbena and Lantana, to name a few. Be sure to check with your local garden organizations for any plants that may be considered ‘invasive’ in your area.

You may want to consider planting nectar plants that are native to your area. They not only can require less maintenance than non-natives but can bring a welcome variety to your gardens. Check with your local garden organizations for a list of the native plants in your area.

Finally, be sure to extend your garden ‘menu’ with your favorite butterflies’ host plants.

 

More to come on this fascinating subject.

 

 

Much needed “Hello”

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne

This post is so long overdue! Lots have changed in the garden and I am eager to get back into giving updates as to just what those changes are. My schedule has once again changed and hopefully I can now have my daytime free to pursue my love of gardening and this personal blog.

 

Love, love, love not having grass in the garden anymore! We used TN Pea gravel and pavers purchased at Home Depot. Was hard work (Pictures to follow), but we think it came out great!