Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Still In Search Of Monarch Caterpillars

Boy we have been having some serious rain.  It has been 5 days since I went In Search of Monarch Caterpillars.   This time I knew I had a great chance if I looked at the milkweed growing in the path next to the  green beans.  The first thing I noticed were large pieces of frass.  Who knew caterpillar poop could look so interesting.   It is definitely green, segmented and pretty darn big.  That caterpillar should be around here somewhere.

Farther up the plant the caterpillar was easy to spot.  It's hard to hide under a leaf when you have eaten most of it.  From the look of the frass in this picture this caterpillar isn't stopping eating for anything!

Soon I will be looking for a chrysalis instead of a caterpillar.

We are definitely seeing more Monarchs flitting around the flowers this year.  Another way to find Monarch caterpillars would be to follow this gorgeous female and see where she lays her eggs.  You have to be quick.  She is in beautiful shape and can move very fast.  Lucky for me and my camera, she was focused on sipping nectar from the coneflower and didn't notice me!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Big Bird Is Under Attack

This is not about violence on children's television.  It is about what went on in our garden last evening or early this morning.  We have many daylilies growing next to our stone chip paths.  Last year some deer damage occurred but that was the first time that the daylilies had any trouble there.  Being able to walk right next to these beautiful scented flowers is a high point in our gardening year.  In the past human urine sprinkled on the ground appeared to keep the deer away.  Last evening the path next to the Big Bird plants was treated.  No rain fell but the deer were not deterred.  Several stalks bearing nearly open buds were nipped off and eaten.

Two years ago divisions were taken from the chewed upon plant and placed in the garden near the road.  For some reason the deer have so far left these plants alone.  Despite our loss near the house we can still enjoy the sight and scent of these plants if we simply walk to the road.  Our loss was not total but it was still disappointing.

We have placed unused wire cages to block the deer from walking near the remains of the original plant.  That obstruction also closes off our usual path from the garden.  The cages can be set aside while we work in the garden but that is a nuisance.  Long term we will have to reset our daylilies so that they can be protected by circular cages.  Open ground will be needed to protect the other plants from damage inflicted by the wire cages.  Extra bark mulch will have to be placed to cover bare unused soil.  For now we will simply check to see if our newly placed obstacles have provided protection.