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Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Perfect Day in Fall

It seems that fall may have finally arrived in my little corner of the world.  The skies are clear and the temperatures dropped into the 50's overnight!  Right now it's a very pleasant 75 degrees with low humidity.  I probably should be doing more actual work out there than I am -- all I've done is a bit of weeding to get rid of the ever encroaching nutsedge and bermuda grass in the island beds.

But I'm also taking the opportunity to sit on the patio and read and enjoy the sights of the garden without sweating. It's all the same stuff I've shown you before - zinnia and cosmos, salvia and cleome.  But now we have lots of winged visitors too (in addition to my own contributions in the form of newly hatched Monarchs)
I've had wonderful success with this Big Cube cage I got this year.  In addition to the 9 Monarchs I was able to hatch in August, we ended up with another 15 chrysalides in the cage and 6 have hatched in the past two days!

This is one of the newly hatched Monarchs, enjoying some nectar before getting ready for the migration. Also in the photo is another visitor - a Gulf Fritillary.  We have five or six of them hanging around at the moment.

Below is a short video of the same scene :-)

Below is another visitor we see at this time of year - a buckeye.  Those markings really do look like eyes, don't they? This one seems a little ragged, but he's not letting it slow him down :-)

And finally here's another video I took showing some of the Gulf Fritillaries enjoying the zinnia.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going in for surgery on Tuesday October 11th. It's rather major surgery, so I probably won't be posting in my blog for a while. I'm so glad I got to see some of the butterflies hatch before I went in, and my husband promises he will keep an eye on the other chrysalides and release them once they have hatched.

I'll see you on the other side!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The End of Summer and Even More Monarchs

Ooops - it's been a month since my last post! There really hasn't been a lot going on to share with you.  The Profusion Zinnias, which overflowed the island beds all summer are starting to go to seed and look a bit ragged, but the Gulf Fritillaries and other butterflies are still enjoying them.

Ditto the Cleome.  I collected lots of seeds from each of them, so I'll have plenty to share next spring :-)

The Salvia splendens took up the western half of the island bed and is still going strong.That's the first time I've had much success with salvia.  This variety has small red flowers that I have seen the occasional hummingbird taking a sip at.  I've never had luck with the blue/purple varieties though.

The Cosmos, which was just feathery foliage all summer is suddenly a mass of pink flowers.  I must never have paid attention to when it bloomed before.  I thought it was a summer bloomer, but it's here now and looks lovely.

But the most exciting thing going on in the garden at the moment is the number of Monarch caterpillars and chrysalides I have in the Big Cube  cage I purchased back at the beginning of the summer.

I've got a total of 16 in the cage - more than I had back in August! They have been eating me out of house and home but luckily I have some healthy stands of milkweed in the garden that I can take cuttings from.  I just have to make sure there aren't any cats already there when selecting cuttings!

I'm going to be going in to hospital for surgery on October 11th, so I hope I shall see some of them eclose before I go in.  Then my husband is going to take over the Monarch husbandry after that.

At least they should all have pupated by then, so he won't have to pick milkweed for them.  He'll just have to check daily for new butterflies and release them from the cage when they are ready.

I'm linking my post up with Camera Critters. Please take a few minutes to visit and see what other critters stories and photos people are sharing.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.