For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about getting a mason bee house to add to my garden. I believe we already have them around, and it would be nice to give them a home near my raised beds. If it proves successful, I can purchase another house next year to put near my fruit trees. (I don’t think they’re quite old enough to bloom this year yet.) So, with that thought in mind, I figured I should do some research about these little bees before I bought a bee house. Here’s what I learned.
When I got home from vacation this past weekend, I was examining my herb transplants along my front walkway. Most of them are doing well. My oregano has died back, but there are new shoots coming up, so I think it will be okay. I did notice that my earlier transplants of fernleaf dill were dried and in full seed. I was planning to pull them…until I realized that Madam Butterfly left me a wonderful surprise! Swallowtail surprise!
I’m so excited! The black swallowtail butterflies are back. Two years ago, I had one batch of caterpillars in my herb garden. Last year, I “raised” four batches of caterpillars on the potted dill and parsley around my patio. This year, I finally have my first family. A butterfly is born!
A week or so ago, I saw a new bird in the garden. I had never seen that kind of bird before, and its call was something very unique. I didn’t think much of it until he returned this weekend and hopped all around where I was harvesting. I pulled out my cell phone and got a few pictures. Then I had to research what it was. A new bird in the garden!
With the intense heat and insufficient rain this early in the season, I am already combating my share of pests in the garden – many of which I normally don’t see until late summer! With all the recent skirmishes between me and these unwanted visitors, I thought I’d take a break and enjoy the welcome guests I’ve seen in my garden this month. Good critters in my garden!
As much time as I spend discussing garden pests and how to get rid of them, I would like to spend a little time discussing the good insects that visit my garden. I’ve posted quite a bit about the Black Swallowtail caterpillars that continually visit my dill and parsley over the course of the summer. Today, I want to share with you another lovely visitor to my garden: the Passion Butterfly or Gulf Fritillary. I’ve seen these beauties in my garden off and on during the summer, but this is the first time one has stood still long enough for me to get pictures. This one visited me this past weekend, and I watched her on the marigolds in one of my raised beds for quite a while. I like these butterflies so much (and they’re a beautiful pollinator), I decided to learn what I could do to draw more of them to my garden next year. Learn more!
Just when I thought the beginning of autumn would bring me a respite from pests and critters, I was inundated with new critters – many I’ve never seen that are eating my crops! Time for more research, it seems. Take a look!
Yes, you read that right – round FOUR! It seems, as soon as my dill and parsley grow back, the butterflies lay more eggs. These critters have eaten more of my dill and parsley than I have. But I don’t mind. The plants grow back, and I like that my yard is a haven for making new butterflies. I must say, this is the largest batch yet. They ate my pot of dill, then attacked all three pots of parsley. I now have no more food for them. 😦 One of the good things about the number of them this time is that I was able to get some more great pictures as well as a couple videos. Caterpillar pictures and video!
This year, I’ve seen dozens of dragonflies in my garden. The numbers have lessened since the heat wave hit, but I’m still seeing quite a few. Because they eat insects, I sure don’t mind them around – unlike when I was a kid and hated them. That might’ve had something to do with my father telling us that they were “sewing needles” and would sew our mouths shut if we talked around them. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown that trauma. Now, I’m actually paying attention to these interesting insects and noticing that they come in different, beautiful colors. Take a look!
Okay, I admit…I’m not fond of most creeping things – like insects or worms or snails. You know, the things that creep upon the earth (to use Biblical terminology) and are often creep-y. I know some of these things are helpful to the garden, but I don’t have to like seeing some of them, do I? Well, I thought I’d share a few of the creepy things I’ve seen on my homestead in the past week or two. Creepy critter pictures!