An Unusual Year

By the end of July my photographic library usually has a myriad of colorful photos of the butterflies that grace the gardens.  This year they are few and far between. Perhaps it was the many March snowstorms or the early heat followed by a cold snap.  Maybe it is the lack of some larval foods as seven oaks fell during a wind storm. 

Felled oak trees

But last week a few began to appeared.  It led me on a quest to locate their caterpillars.  A of today I am raising six monarch and six black swallowtail caterpillars.  I hope to help increase the population!

Cabbage white on white cone flower 2
Cabbage white on white cone flower
Red admiral on pink cone flower
Red admiral on pink cone flower

 

Monarch on pink cone flower
Monarch on pink cone flower
Silver-spotted skipper on white cone flower
Silver-spotted skipper on white cone flower
Black swallowtail caterpillar on dill
Black swallowtail caterpillar on dill
Black swallowtail caterpillars on dill
Mature Black swallowtail caterpillars on dill
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The Argument for Hostas in a Certified Wildlife Habitat

I am both a gardener and a caretaker of an official Certified Wildlife Habitat.  For many years I have been faithful to the mission of providing food, water, cover and places to raise young for all species of wildlife that share the garden space.

Flycatcher Hatchlings in their nest

 I know the importance of removing invasive plants and adding native plantings.

Bee on Goldenrod

 Along with this commitment I also work diligently to create a landscape that provides for the humans who frequent the garden a space for peaceful contemplation and exploration.

Stream-side path by the Labyrinth

A species of plant that is found at the intersection of garden and wildlife habitat is the hosta.

hosta

Utilizing its structural impact hostas create focal points in the garden landscape.

Whirlwind hosta by standing stone inthe lower garden

The multiple shades of green found in the myriad of hosta cultivars encourage the gardener to create their own unique garden palette.

hosta in the lower border garden

Along with structure and color, hostas provide the four elements needed in a certified wildlife habitat.

FOOD – WATER – COVER – PLACES TO RAISE YOUNG

Golden Tiara Hosta

Look among the leaves in summer and you will find a multitude of insects hiding from the midday heat.

Cabbage butterflies on hosta flower

Skipper Butterfly on Hosta
 Take a closer look at the flowers and watch insects collect pollen or feed from their nectar.

plantain lily hosta

After a rain storm hosta leaves cradle droplets of water from which the smallest of garden inhabitants drink.

Rain drops on Hosta Leaf

Insects and arachnids utilize the safety found within the dense leaves of a hosta plant, to raise their young.

Venusta Orchard Spider

In autumn decaying leaves provide a refuge for insects and others who hug the earth.

hosta in autumn

The green stink bug or green soldier bug (Acrosternum hilare)

Then in winter these same leaves provide sustenance for deer who cross the growing season’s boundaries.

Whitetail deer eating hosta leaf
Allowing  hostas to decay naturally in the landscape also minimize clean-up time for the gardener.

hosta after frost

By sharing  your garden bounty, you will be rewarded!

To learn more about the Certified Wildlife Habitat or Hostas click on the links below

Garden for Wildlife –  making a wildlife habitat at home

American Hosta Society

Whitetail deer grazing on decaying hosta leaves

The Web of Life

Walking silently into the garden I seek out  manifestations of the inter-connectedness of life.

A once drifting beauty becomes sustenance  for an eight-legged wonder

 


While yet another lies in wait hoping a raindrop will not wash away all it had created. (This spider lives on a leaf of the plant featured in Mystical Morning)

Thank you for visiting the garden today.