LysmachiaMoon's blog: Monarchs!

Posted on Aug 31, 2021 1:31 PM

They are off to a slow start here, but we finally have a few Monarch butterflies fluttering around. I've been checking my own milkweed patch diligently since July and I am finally starting to find some caterpillars. Yesterday, we released our first new Monarch, a female. I found her as a one-inch caterpillar about ....what? a month ago? She went into chrysalis about a week ago and emerged yesterday. It was so lovely to watch her take flight; I hope she finds a mate and makes lots of babies.

I've got another chrysalis which should emerge in a few more days. I've also got three caterpillars all about 1 inch. One of these I found while looking through the milkweed patch. The other two were sheer luck; I picked a leaf to feed the one I found the next day and these two (smaller) were on that leaf. Never even saw them until I got in the house. Then, and this is really exciting, I found a leaf that I thought might have a Monarch egg on it, so I picked it, stuck it in a tiny jar of water and yesterday TWO babies hatched out. They grew from the size of a pin-head to about 3/8 inch in a couple of days (one is smaller). Once they reach about 1/4 inch I know they will really start to grow fast. This is the first time I've tried fostering eggs and I'm nervous and excited about it. I haven't been checking any other milkweed patches and I really should take a walk up Barr Road and see if I can find anything along the pastures. All but one of these that I have are from my own small patch.

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I'm beginning to come out of the late summer doldrums and looking at areas around the garden that I'd like to improve/change. The biggest challenge is still the Below the Deck garden. It looks "ok" but still far from beautiful. I'm hoping to move some miscanthus clumps in there and some Matrona Sedums later in the fall.

I realized that I've sort of neglected the Stumpery. I planted a lot of hostas in there several years ago, some ostrich ferns, and then I sort of walked away. The result is that it's looking a bit sparse and not exactly the "feel" I wanted. I'd like to get some height in the back and I'm hoping to build up a sort of raised bed hidden behind all the logs and stumps. I looked at some of the palm trees that Lowe's sells (house plants here in PA) and if any of those go on clearance, I may try getting a couple, overwinter them and then summer them out in the stumpery area. My nephew suggested caladiums and at first I thought that was a good idea, but now I realize they would have to be the more muted colors, not the vibrant pinks and reds. What I really want to get a lot more of is moss....I stuck some bits of moss on some of the logs and rocks and despite the dry spell, I'm amazed at how it took. I'm also thinking of a way to mimic the sort of vines you might see in a jungle like setting...could this actually be a use for those dratted wild cucumber vines??? Can they be trained along a rope? This is the sort of exercise I just love, trying to envision a garden spot and then figure out how to get the vision into reality...without it actually having to be "reality." Gardening is like theatrical stage setting...you don't necessarily need a tree fern if you can get something that looks like a tree fern! Fer instance, that massive tree trunk that is the focal point of the stumpery...it's really three chunks of wood propped together and stabilized with a (invisible) concrete block). As I said in an earlier post, slap some moss on it and you got yourself a show!

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Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Monarch question? by gardengus Sep 8, 2021 11:19 AM 4
Caladiums by TShutters Sep 1, 2021 9:14 AM 1

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