Saturday, July 25, 2015

Garden Celebrity

Confession: I do not follow the world of celebrities. I was totally not even sad when Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck called it quits. I've never watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  And I ....

Oh my God!!! Hold the phone. A flutter of orange has caught my eye.

I step out of my garden clogs. Why? I have no idea. So I step back into them and gingerly walk backwards to the house. Where is the camera? Where is the camera?  Where is @%#*! camera!!!!???

Deep breath. I've located it. I launch myself out the back door. It is still there. Soaring over the right side of the garden - my native butterfly host plant bed. It's here!!! It came!!!!

A monarch butterfly has discovered my bed of carefully tended milkweed.  Much of it raised from seeds, in my greenhouse, watered with collected rain water and eased into the soil when summer's heat had passed.

Yes, I had a monarch last year. A tired one. (Don't ask how I know. I just do!) One monarch butterfly that I know of which came, sipped from the milkweed blooms and laid an egg or two (maybe) before slogging its way down the California coast.

But this! This monarch is different. It isn't tired. (Don't ask how I know. I just do.) It floats and dips.  For the first fifteen minutes, it is all about the milkweed - which I am happy to say is blossoming nicely! It then locates my second patch of milkweed which is blossoming less nicely but still proffers a single, small blossom. It sips.

After soaking up the milkweed, the monarch butterfly has deemed the rest of my garden visit-worthy. He (I'm pretty sure its a boy because no egg-laying moves happening) stops at the yarrow, the California figwort, the native sunflowers and wild carrots. All of those plants which I planted just for it!! And they are being used. Exactly for the intended purpose. Who would have thunk?

It chases away a red dragonfly. Good riddance! Normally I would love to have that dragonfly in my garden. But who cares about Kate Mara when you've got Beyonce dancing all over your flowers? A painted lady zooms past me. Whatever. Another B-list pollinator. I've only got eyes for you Beyonce, I mean, Monarch.

Do I sit calmly through this 40 minutes of heaven? I do not. I go all paparazzi on the gorgeous blaze of color, clicking hundreds of mostly blurry photos. I decide to take a few videos but my hands shake. When it comes down to it, I guess I am a fangirl!

I may not care much about human celebrities but garden celebrities leave me aflutter!

Do you know how hard it is to get a photo of a monarch with its wings open that is not blurry!!
Plant for them and THEY WILL COME!

This post is part of the Tuesday Garden Party and Maple Hill Hop.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Connect Kids to Nature

"Wait, where did you see a beetle?" a voice floats back to me, across the dusty trail.

"I still haven't found any cottonwood," my youngest niece intones.

"I'll show you where to look," her older cousin offers, leading her to look down the hill and pointing toward the river. "They seem to grow more down there," he surmises.

We are on a hike. A very hot and very uphill hike. The scenery is beautiful but I would be lying if I said that these kids wanted to be here. At least initially. Until I whipped out a homemade scavenger hunt and offered a prize for all who participated (pack of gum) with a bounty (cold hard cash, people) for the one who found the most items the quickest.

Read the rest at The Green Phone Booth.


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