Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mom's Garden

This weekend I grabbed an opportunity to go visit my mom.  She's quite the gardener so I always enjoy a stroll around her yard.  She kept apologizing that this week seemed to not be one with so many blooms but I found her zinnias quite lovely.  I can't grow them at my house partly because our yard is so heavily shaded and partly because I have a black thumb of death.


I liked this tall one that stood out from the rest too.


Mom has always been enchanted by butterflies.  When Calypso was in kindergarten she had a whole unit on the life cycle of butterflies and told my mom all about it.  Then we found a mail order kit where you could raise a certain species from eggs to butterfly and gave it to Mom for Christmas that year.  Ever since she has been hooked.  Now her garden is full of plants intended to attract butterflies.  She has also planted a big section of various types of milkweed for Monarchs.  She checks the leaves daily to look for eggs so she can take them inside away from predators and raise them before releasing them.  Now she's the one doing demonstrations on the life cycle of butterflies.  Anyway, this weekend she had me looking for the eggs too.  I found about five including this one.  They are smaller than the head of a pin.  See it?


When they hatch you need a magnifying glass to see the caterpillar but they grown pretty quickly and Mom keeps them supplied with fresh milkweed leaves.  This one was about a half inch long.  Eventually, after molting about four times they create the chrysalis (what most folks mistakenly call a cocoon).  No pictures of that stage since all the ones Mom has are eggs or caterpillars right now but when you see one you get the idea of what they are called Monarchs. There is a delicate ring of tiny "gold" beads that form a crown on the chrysalis.  I hope to get a picture of one later in the summer.


I was lucky enough to catch a Monarch on one of Mom's bushes even though it was quite windy and hard to focus.  There were about 3 other species of butterflies on the largest bush but up too high for me to capture with my lens.



There were also a number of these busy visitors too.

12 comments:

G-Man said...

There sure is a lot of pollinating going on Trini.!!!
Great pics....

Mona said...

We have them monarchs all over the place here too these days !

Beach Bum said...

Bees are cool, especially when I can get my hands on the fresh honey they sell in the North Carolina mountains.

Bijoux said...

I had no idea the eggs were so small!

haphazardlife said...

Cool I want to go hang out with your mom!

Susan in the Boonies said...

Your pictures are purty.

I, too, have the black thumb of death.

And no sunshine. We pipe it in.

Craig said...

Very cool photos, Lime.

When I was a kid, somehow my imagination latched onto Monarch butterflies. I never got the kit, or anything like that, but Monarchs are pretty common around these parts; thanks for taking me back. . .

Kat said...

Wow! Great pictures! That butterfly was a great catch too! Beautiful!

silly rabbit said...

What a great post! Our kindergarten class used to raise Monarchs every year. I've missed that... but here it is. Ha.
When I was little in my grandmother's garden the Monarchs would sit on you if you held very still.

Craver Vii said...

These are great pics! That bee looks HUGE!

secret agent woman said...

I plant for butterflies and bumblebees, too. The last two are butterfly bush, appropriately enough. (more formally buddleia)

Hilary said...

Very cool and fine photography. I never knew that about the crown.