Friday, April 29, 2011

The Butterfly Gardener

This gorgeous collection above was curated by Amber of  RedtileStudio . I love every single thing about this collection and I'm honored to have my fox dish included! :)

My little caterpillar has emerged from his (her?) chrysalis!
The butterfly formed his chrysalis while in a jar, after about a week he emerged.  This variety of butterfly uses the passionflower vine as a host plant.  I've been working on increasing the number of vines in my yard. I know of a spot where they grow wild and I will go and take vines to put in my own yard. The area where they grow gets mowed from time to time, which kind of sucks for the butterflies because then they have no vines to eat while they wait for them to grow back.  I've found the most successful way to transplant is to pull up as much of the root as possible. You will get some, but not enough to sustain the plant in most cases. I dip the "root" in rooting hormone and put it in a terracotta pot that rests in a pan of water. I keep these plants in filtered sunlight. In about a week I have a nice strong root system and the plant does well.  I have a flower bed that I'd love to just fill with wild vines of green so the butterflies have plenty to eat. Hopefully I can get back to the patch of vines before the lawn mower man comes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going Green

This beautiful collection including my newest little hedgehog set was created by my EliteSixteen team mate DeDe of SwedeHeartVintage . I am enamored of all things green and woodland!

I have been once again trying to create the garden of my dreams. We've been having a horrible drought for the last few years so it's been tough. Watering is a miserable chore once we hit the middle of summer. Normally we would have rain storms every single afternoon but last summer we got totally cheated and had very few. I'm trying to be very careful to plant things that I know will thrive so I had to longingly walk past the beautiful foxgloves and heliotropes when at the garden center.

A big thing for me is planting things that attract wildlife. Last year my husband and I went out hunting and brought back samples of wild passionflower vine, which we rooted and planted. It's sturdy, not quite as showy as the cultivated varieties but infinitely superior at keeping up with hungry caterpillars.

The caterpillars are such a wonderful educational source for my children as they complete their life cycles. This is a gulf fritillary caterpillar and when it is mature it will look like this: The Gulf Fritillary Butterfly . When they near time to create a chrysalis often we will bring them inside so that we can watch the process.  Our garden has host plants for about 10 different species of butterflies at least.