Friday, August 27, 2010

ID Me!

Anyone have an idea of what type of skipper this might be?

Butterflies and Blooms

Last night when I went to bed my first black swallowtail looked like this. Clinging to the lid of the fish tank.This morning he looked like this. In his beautiful, green chrysalis.The kids harvested more Russet Burbank potatoes this week. One plant grew these bright white, squishy "potatoes" with roots. Strange. I've never seen that before.
Elegant Stinkhorn...looks like a garden gnome sneaking up through the soil.
The Autumn Joy sedum and mum are getting ready to start their fall show.
The sedum attracted this gorgeous Common Buckeye. The first I have seen this season. This is one of the most beautiful butterflies I have ever seen.
Common Sulphur (right?) enjoying the Pink Delight butterfly bush.
Kellogg's Breakfast tomato blossom.
Rosy Returns daylily.
My container has looked terrible all season due to the really high heat and dry weather. Finally, after three overcast days, it is starting to look alive.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Morning Hike

I took the kids on a short hike this morning by a local creek. Trying to find some milkweed since my monarch cats don't like the Asclepias tuberosa. Look what I found. Once I popped off a leaf...the stalk oozed white sap. I found milkweed! I brought it home and the cats have been devouring it ever since. What a relief!Can you find the caterpillar below?
It was huge! An Imperial moth caterpillar!
Can you find the two caterpillars below?
Polyphemus moth caterpillars!
It's experiences like this that make me want to rush right back out the door to see what I can find!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is This A Form of Asclepias?

Can anyone tell me if this is a variety of Asclepias? The host plant for monarchs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Garden Critters

Swallowtail in three different stages. A maturing cat, a young cat, and an egg (upper right) are all within this picture.My cleome was filled with critters. From bugs to butterflies. Another variation of a harlequin bug.
Check out all the Harlequin bug and babies below. They were covering the cleome. Looks like these two bugs were working on making more as well.
On the underside of a leaf, there were eggs deposited. Black with white stripes. This cluster had some of those and ones that looked like they were hatching.
Tiger Swallowtail.
I have to look this one up.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Potatoes and Garden Treasures

Yesterday I let the kids help me dig up most of the potatoes we planted this Spring. The Russet Burbanks. I admit I was terrible about watering them. Terrible. In fact, I'm surprised they survived the heat and drought. We yielded about 7 pounds of potatoes from 4 of the seed potatoes. I know it would have been more if I watered regularly, but it was still worth it after seeing the smiles on my kids' faces when they pulled them out of the ground.There were a couple interesting finds as well.
This little female ruby-throated hummingbird spent quite a while hanging out at the feeder, clothes line, and in the holly tree. It was like she wanted to me to refill it with fresh nectar. You don't have to ask me twice! I'd do anything to keep her happy.
A clearwing hummingbird moth on my Pink Delight butterfly bush.
A cicada clinging to a tomato stem.
A black swallowtail cat that I found in the garden the other day! The first time I ever found one here!
Only two days later...
I also found these two eggs! The one on the right is blurry.
It's a great butterfly year!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Beauties and the Uglies

I had yet another fun discovery last night. As I was checking on my new friend before going to bed I noticed something interesting on the fennel. A swallowtail egg! This morning the kids and I went out and bought a 10 gallon fish tank and reptile cover for them. The kids found sticks and we placed the fennel plant with the egg and cat on it within their temporary me.Here is a better picture of the little guy. He is significantly larger than when I went to bed last night. That's pretty cool.
The monster gourd that has traveled over 30 feet up and partially down my American Holly has started developing quite a few gourds with some interesting mottling. Anyone know what kind of gourds these are? There are two in this picture. One on the bottom left and one on the upper right.
Squash Vine Borers! Hate them! Slowly they have been burrowing their way into the vines.
This is probably the only thing in my garden that I've been impatiently waiting to get ugly. My Russet Burbank potatoes. I might be digging these up this weekend. They are finally dying back. I'm not expecting a great yield though. I've been bad about watering them during the dry, hot summer.
My three Salad Bush cucumbers plants. The leaves and newest cukes are starting to turn yellow. I can't complain though. They produced an excellent harvest!
Hot and dry summers are not a friend to corn. Here is what I've been finding lately. Extremely poorly pollinated corn. I tried to hand pollinate, but I couldn't collect any pollen. The multiple heat waves were too much for them. Only the first couple of years turned out well...those that pollinated before the extreme weather hit. Next season I'll be planting an early variety of corn instead. I'm thinking a Mirai or other synergistic variety. Any suggestions on an early sweet corn?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swallowtail Cat and Tomatoes!!!

Today's Tomato Harvest....sans the ones my daughter ate. :) The green ones are just Isis Candy tomatoes picked too early by my two year old. In the mix are two Kellogg's Breakfast, one Brandywine, Celebrity, Jet Star, and mystery small red tomatoes that were supposed to be Cherokee Green.After picking these I took a quick stroll through the garden. Wondering what is worth planting again next season and what wasn't. That's when I came across the fennel. I thought, "I planted fennel last season too and never had a black swallowtail use it as its host plant. Here we are again. No swallowta.....Wait! What's that? No way. NO WAY! A black swallowtail cat! Holy cow. Kids! Come look at this!"
He's just over an inch long. On the smallest of the three fennel plants. The second my husband got home I dug up the pathetic fennel plant and transplanted it into a pot. Cat still on it. Placed it in my InsectLore butterfly house. I can't wait to see him metamorphasize into a beautiful black swallowtail. I'm way more excited than my kids. I've been planting asclepias tuberosa, parsley, and fennel. Never found a cat before. Never any damage to the foliage. Today was my lucky day! Below is the best picture of him that my camera would allow. It always wants to focus on something else. It thinks it is smarter than me. Ugh.
Here's his new home for the next couple of weeks. I still need to get some sticks for him to climb up and hang from.
He has just guaranteed that the fennel WILL be back next season.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rain and Hummingbirds

Finally! A steady rain. It's light, but it is very much needed. Turns out I'm not the only one enjoying it. I was sitting near the living room window when I thought a butterfly caught my eye. Strange. How is it just floating there? It's not a butterfly. A hummingbird! Looking into my living room window...Okay, perhaps it was enjoying the light rain and butterfly bush outside the window....whatever. What a treat!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quarky Corn

I was out grabbing a few ears of corn and found an ear with a strange growth on it. It had a spongy exterior that looked like styrofoam. The interior looked like dirt and roots. I'm not sure if it is some sort of fungus or a nest for a pest. Anyone know what it is?

Tomato Harvest

Here are a few of my ripe tomatoes from yesterday. Clockwise from top left: Aker's West Virginia, 3 Kellogg's Breakfast, 3 Sungold (many more were eaten or left in the garden), Brandywine

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Cabbage

I few months ago I planted one early-season, heirloom Golden Acre cabbage plant. The seed purchase was an impulse buy. One of those 20 cent packets sold at Walmart. Knowing that I should have planted it in early Spring....not late Spring....I didn't expect much. It was more of just an experiment. Turns out that this cabbage did incredibly well in the high heat, humidity, and long periods of drought. Not sure how, but I'm amazed. I can only imagine how well it would have done if I watered it more. This was my first attempt at growing cabbage, and I will definitely be growing it again next season. This is going to make a nice side of sweet and sour cabbage for lunch tomorrow!