Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plant It and They Will Come: A Success Story!

I was enjoying a warm Tuesday afternoon.  Ogling the size of my birdhouse gourds and fretting over the lack of flowers near the pumpkin patch when something orange caught my eye.  A monarch butterfly soared over the fence and into my little garden.  It darted past the cosmos, over the Indian blanket flowers, lingered around the Queen Anne's lace, past the native mallow and buckwheat and then . . . over the other fence and into my neighbor's yard.

What the heck?  I've planted four - no five - patches of milkweed this year.  Granted, the plants in two of those patches are pretty small.  Meager pickings but still!?  I was sure that my neighbor didn't have much more to offer.  Or her neighbor.

Continued over at The Green Phone Booth.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #11

It has been a busy week over at the Green Bean household but not too busy to sneak a few photos of pollinators busy in our garden.   Please share your photos by linking up or using the hashtag #SpotThePollinator on social media.

Native bee on Delta sunflower, a California native.

Bumble rounding the crest on California rudbeckia, another California native.  This is the first time I've grown this plant.  It needs more water than I would like but I lug out the water from washing fruits and veggies because it is worth the extra work!  Such a pretty pretty flower much loved by bees of all sort.

A gray hairstreak lays eggs on my native California mallow.  This plant is a host plant for many caterpillars and, without host plants, no caterpillars.  Without caterpillars, no butterflies.  So keeping on laying, little lady!

Not a pollinator but these small milkweed bugs showed up in our garden this year.  It is the first time I've seen them and our second year of milkweed (this year with much more milkweed than in previous years).  Am I sensing a connection?

Now get outside and slow down in your garden by taking pollinator pics.  Or convince the kids that a camera and some bugs is the best way to go.  Link up below.

Grab the button if you are so inclined:
Spot The Pollinator

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #10

I am all about butterflies this week.  After waiting all summer for them to arrive, they are flitting about here and there.  Often, butterflies - and all insects - move so fast that taking a photograph is the only way to correctly identify them.  For instance, number one and three here were just bits of blue fluff before my camera froze them in time.

Common-Checkered Skipper

Sandhill Skipper

Gray Hairstreak

Common buckeye sunning itself.

This is what is fluttering about in my neck of the woods. What is going on in yours?  Please link up your photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #SpotThePollinator.

Grab the button if you are so inclined:
Spot The Pollinator

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

5 Steps to Natural Pest Control

1) Healthy Soil

Two years ago, a friend and I attended an edible garden tour.  Each garden we visited so lush, so healthy and each had the same underlying theme - long time gardeners, amending the soil year after year.  We have only been in our current yard for four years but got a jump start the first year with sheet mulch.  (Learn about sheet mulching here.)  

In addition, I have always composted but last year, I got serious.  We built a three bin compost system and celebrated one year later with this black gold!

Read the rest over at The Green Phone Booth.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #9 - Vacation Edition

Two weeks ago, we visited family in Montana - just a stone's throw from Glacier National Park.  With all the undeveloped land and native plants, Montana has pollinators upon pollinators.  Coming from a densely populated urban area, I hope the locals cherish and protect the land and all of its wonders.

While there, we went on plenty of hikes and engaged in some truly sustainable shopping (local honey, baby!).  Here are some of the beautiful pollinators of the Big Sky Country:

Some sort of fritillary butterfly maybe that we spotted on a hike in Whitefish. 

Bumble bee on clover.

Caterpillar near Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park.

Skipper found along Whitefish Trail.

Itty bitty bee on a wild daisy along Whitefish Trail.

Unidentified butterfly landed on my son's foot in West Glacier. 

Have you spotted any pollinators lately?  Have camera, will travel?  Please link up your pollinator photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #spotthepollinator.

Grab the button if you are so inclined:
Spot The Pollinator

Monday, July 7, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #8

If last week was the native plant edition, this one seems to be the edible garden one.  Pollinators have been busy amongst the edibles.

Mystery bug on calendula.  What is it? A pollinator or pest or?

Busy honey bee on zucchini flower.

These little black bugs like to hang out on the carrot flowers.  I assume they are pollinators.  They might be small carpenter bees.  What do you think?

Okay, now your turn!  Link up your insect photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #spotthepollinator.  And, if you are looking to identify those pollinators, a great source is The Pollinator Project

Grab the button if you are so inclined:
Spot The Pollinator


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