The female Flame skimmer Libellula saturata is back! Here she is perched on a dried up stalk of an orange sulphur Klondike cosmos plant in a pot on the patio. She is patiently waiting for prey to pass by - moths, flies or ants. And how do I know that this is a female? Because she is medium brown, unlike the males who have entirely red or dark orange bodies, which is why these skimmers are also called Firecracker skimmers.
There is a beautiful monarch butterfly that often visits the patio and front yard. Here she is feeding on nectar in a California Delta sunflower. I took these photos the same day that we released a female monarch butterfly that we monitored for a couple of weeks from caterpillar through chrysalis phase until she emerged from the chrysalis. And now that we discovered 3 more monarch caterpillars on the Narrow Leaf Milkweed, I suspect that this is their mama. Isn't she lovely...
Bee Swell http://beeswell.org/ is a wonderful website that promotes awareness of problems our pollinators are facing today. They provide information how to create bee-friendly habitats and how to be on the alert for neonicotinoids (referred to as neo-nics). They are also offering free posters such as the one pictured here, created by Nora Wildgen. You can just download them and print them. Get the word out and post these everywhere you find fellow gardeners!
An American Lady butterfly Vanessa virginiensis spent a lot of time on the patio visiting flowers for nectar. I haven't seen it on cosmos blossoms before, but today it enjoyed blossoms on a new snowpuff cosmos plant which reseeded itself a few weeks ago (image above). The butterfly spent a long time on this flower head on one of the butterfly bushes Buddleia davidii growing in large pots. Before it flew away, the butterfly spent some time sunning itself on a passionflower le
Look what I found on one of our Narrow Leaf Milkweed plants this morning. I couldn't believe my eyes when I discovered this monarch caterpillar and another one half of its size on another leaf. This one might have gone into third instar because it has been motionless the whole day. The other caterpillar is half the size of this one. It is also motionless so maybe it is starting to go into third instar. The caterpillar here is currently about 3/4 inch long. I took this photo i
After developing a mostly native plant garden in our current home, I now know which are the prime plants that will attract local pollinators and feed them at least through the fall. The California Delta Sunflower plant in the image above is an amazing magnet for bees and butterflies. I knew that this sunflower can grow to six feet tall and wide, but I didn't expect it to be so full of flowers. This robust plant grew from a seedling, suddenly shooting up in height in June. And
It is late summer transitioning to fall, which means fewer blossoms on plants. It makes one appreciate even more the beauty of every flower, their color, shape and texture. For example the nasturtium in the photo above. It literally glows in the afternoon light. At our former home, nasturtiums seeded themselves throughout the front and back yards. They covered every empty patch of dirt and wood chips between plants. When we brought our potted plants to our new location, we we
Last Sunday we had beautiful weather. As you know from my posts, that day we released a female monarch butterfly a few days after she emerged from her chrysalis. There were so many different butterflies in the garden - another monarch butterfly, gulf fritillaries, umber skippers, cabbage moths, and an American lady butterfly. There also were many bees. For example, this Wool Carder male bee on lavender blossoms. The air literally was abuzz with activity. Those are my favorite
Here is an image of the female monarch butterfly we released yesterday close to midday. Isn't it funny how you just can never tell how butterflies respond when they are released after having been raised in a temporary home. Last year the two male monarch butterflies that I raised in the same conditions indoors as this butterfly didn't fly as far when released. They each flew immediately to our tomato plants, where they spread their wings in the sun and remained on the tomato
Success again! Here is a female monarch butterfly that emerged from its chrysalis two days ago. Today we released the female monarch butterfly from the pop up hamper that was her temporary home.As soon as the temperature was warm enough and we had blue skies and a soft, pleasant breeze, we knew the time was right. I always have bittersweet feelings when we release the butterflies after raising them from caterpillars through chrysalis stage. Because once we discover the caterp