Native Gardening

JBtheExplorer

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I could watch that video all day. :)

It's been fantastic out there lately. I spent three hours in the garden on Friday and just kicked back and took it all in. It's amazing to watch various wildlife come and go over a period of time, and it's great to see different species use the garden for different things. The wrens would search it for caterpillars to feed their babies. The goldfinches would fly in and eat the coneflower seeds. The pollinators arriving for nectar, and each specie having a preference to which plants like the most. I'm also seeing more hummingbird activity lately. As much as I don't want to admit it, hummingbird and monarch migration will be picking up as we get to the end of the month.
 
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I could sit & watch the activity in my garden all day! It's fascinating, although it does sometimes interfere with my getting the chores done. I head out with a long 'to do' list, then get all distracted following the butterflies & watching the frogs or dragonflies, and end up doing nothing but taking 200 pictures. :ROFLMAO:
 

mrsclem

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I was inspired by you JB and we love our butterfly garden. I am using a lot of native plants but the Mexican Sunflower is a favorite that will get planted every year. I found a Mexican Fire vine that has similar flowers and risked ordering a couple to replace the sweet autumn clematis that is just too invasive. Not hardy in our area but will winter over cuttings ( I hope)!
 

mrsclem

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Just got back from vacation to St. Michaels and found a few plants along the hiking path. Partridge peas and ironweed. We had the ironweed everywhere when I lived in Ohio but we called it wild aster. My mother made bouquets of it with goldenrod. Dad had asthma so wasn't too happy! Are either suitable for butterfly gardens or would they take over? The partridge peas are everywhere!
 
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JBtheExplorer

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Just got back from vacation to St. Michaels and found a few plants along the hiking path. Partridge peas and ironweed. We had the ironweed everywhere when I lived in Ohio but we called it wild aster. My mother made bouquets of it with goldenrod. Dad had asthma so wasn't too happy! Are either suitable for butterfly gardens or would they take over? The partridge peas are everywhere!

I grow Partridge Pea and I love them. I've got them near my pond, and a few out in the native garden that the rabbits haven't found yet. They're annuals that self-seed heavily, but that's ideal for me. They help to fill in the gaps. The Bumble Bees love them, but they don't seem to be attractive to butterflies.
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I hear Ironweed is popular for Monarchs in late summer during migration. I've heard it can be aggressive but I tried to grow it from seed but it never came up.
 
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I was checking the milkweed plants after returning home from vacation and found orange milkweed bugs and yellow aphids on all the plants. I read the milkweed bugs are not harmful to the plant or monarch eggs and caterpillars. The yellow aphids are destructive from what I read. This is my third year with milkweed plants and first time I’ve noticed these pests. Do you do anything to get rid of the bugs?
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JBtheExplorer

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I was checking the milkweed plants after returning home from vacation and found orange milkweed bugs and yellow aphids on all the plants. I read the milkweed bugs are not harmful to the plant or monarch eggs and caterpillars. The yellow aphids are destructive from what I read. This is my third year with milkweed plants and first time I’ve noticed these pests. Do you do anything to get rid of the bugs?
The milkweed bugs are fine, i get loads of them. They'll suck the juices out of developing seeds, so if you plan on collecting seeds, you may need to find a way to protect the pods.

The aphids can cause visual damage, but nothing life-threatening to the plant itself as far as I know. I've never done anything to get rid of them, but one of the most common suggestions is to spray them off with water. The negative side of that is you may unintentionally spray off monarch eggs or caterpillars, too.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Here's the native garden today. While I wasn't able to photograph it, I had a butterfly visitor that I have been hoping to see in my yard for years. A Common Buckeye. I see them a few times a year while out hiking, but never in my yard. I have a lot of Hoary Vervain this year, which is a host plant for them, so I'm hopeful to see more in future years.

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It's the time of year where every time I walk out to the garden, goldfinches are all over the coneflowers. They love eating the seeds.
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I also spent part of the day digging out the lawn for my new native garden addition. I'm about half done in the main garden, and then I may move on and slightly enlarge three of my birdhouse gardens. I also recently got a packet of Culver's Root, which I'll be spreading in the dirt of the new addition this winter.
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JBtheExplorer

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I was out in the native garden yesterday checking things out as I normally do. It's really taking on that early autumn look now as many of my summer species are starting to fade away.
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I found something different, this time. The endangered Rusty-patched bumble bee! I had three of them, actually. Ever since the bee made national news by becoming the first endangered bumble bee in 2017, I've been watching for them. When I found out they were confirmed in my area, I paid even more attention. I'm thrilled to know that my native garden is helping them.
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JBtheExplorer

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Had to move the caterpillars today. In the last couple of days, they ate just about every leaf on the Swamp Milkweed plant they were on. Had to move them to make sure they'd have a food supply.

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mrsclem

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Look they are just about to go to chrysalis stage! We didn't get many this year on monarchs. Tons of tiger swallowtails and black swallowtails. Have a cage coming tomorrow so I can bring in 10 caterpillars that are on my dill plant.
 

JBtheExplorer

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What kind of butterfly do they turn into?
Monarchs

Look they are just about to go to chrysalis stage! We didn't get many this year on monarchs. Tons of tiger swallowtails and black swallowtails. Have a cage coming tomorrow so I can bring in 10 caterpillars that are on my dill plant.
Yes they were all very close. I tried dill for black swallowtails, but didn't have any luck. I'll try again next year.
 

mrsclem

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Got my cage and found 3 more monarch cats. Milkweed is covered with caterpillars but not monarch. Tussock moths! Cute but not nice.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Got my cage and found 3 more monarch cats. Milkweed is covered with caterpillars but not monarch. Tussock moths! Cute but not nice.
I'm jealous. I never get the tussock moth caterpillars.
 
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