Monday, January 18, 2010
Today, as I was finishing up the garden preparations for our Butterfly Garden party I noticed that the yellow elder saplings no longer needed the stakes that we had placed there this summer to hold up their pendulous blossoms. After the freeze the bare white barked trees needed to be cut back and now they stand up straighter than before. Their open goblet shaped forms take up prominent positions in the garden that I hadn’t noticed before and the pruning will help to strengthen these naturalized exotics. I also took this opportunity to cut back the Bahama cassias and the native shrubs. The annuals have disappeared completely for now and the maypop vine has the sun all to itself with the shade cover gone. Those blue star shaped passion flowers will be amazing! But I’ll wait patiently while those vines cover the bare ground and set their buds with the Gulf Fritillary, following close behind its’ host.
A solitary Monarch butterfly was our only visitor today. It was lucky enough to discover a few milkweed plants still thriving. The Monarch caterpillars that were taken into the butterfly house before the freeze are continuing to eat and spin their chrysalises. There are two of them now. The Polydamas caterpillars are still eating the Dutchmans pipe vine and growing larger.
Our human visitors numbered twelve including a dad and his two young children who arrived on their bikes. It was actually the young boy who helped spot the chrysalises. We took time together to discover the alligator trail, hiding places for snakes and the tadpoles in the pond. How refreshing to see children enjoying the outdoors with a parent!