SNAPSHOTS FROM PATTI PAPOW’S MAGICAL BUTTERFLY GARDEN

Photos from a recent visit to friend and East Gloucester resident Patti Papows delightful in-every-way butterfly and pollinator garden.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Although I was only able to visit for a few hours, it was wonderful to see all that she has planted for the pollinators, and as a result, all the pollinators drawn to her garden. You could spend a week in Patti’s garden and not see everything. The afternoon I was there, the deep magenta red butterfly bush was in full glorious bloom and was the star pollinator attractant of the day. Snowberry Clearwing Moths, Tiger Swallowtails, Monarchs, Catbirds, Robins, Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, and every other winged creature in the neighborhood was enjoying sweet nectar and the fruits from Patti’s blossoms. Bees and butterflies love variety and in a garden as richly planted as Patti’s, everyday is a party for the pollinators!

I am looking forward to returning to Patti’s garden when the Morning Glories are in full bloom 🙂

WELCOME TO THE MARY PRENTISS INN POLLINATOR PARADISE!

The exquisite Greek Revival architecture of The Mary Prentiss Inn complements perfectly our lively pollinator paradise, bursting with blossoms and bees. We’ve layered the garden in an array of nectar-rich perennials and annuals that bloom from spring through fall and the garden has become mecca for neighborhood pollinators (including seed-seeking songbirds).

Plant for the pollinators and they will come!

Three-bee-species scene at The Mary Prentiss Inn pollinator garden.

The Mary Prentiss Inn Owners Nicholas and Jennifer Fandetti

Perfectly lovely prior to turning the old garden into a pollinator paradise, but everyone agreed, it was time for a change.

Bee and blossom alike dusted in a fine golden shower of pollen.

WELCOME TO GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

A surprise meeting with a beautiful female Ruby-throated Hummingbird. She is drinking nectar from the wildflower Saponaria officinalis. The plant’s many common names include Soapwort, Bouncing-bet, and Wild Sweet William. The name Soapwort stems from its old fashioned use in soap making. The leaves contain saponin, which was used to make a mild liquid soap, gentle enough for washing fine textiles.

Saponaria blooms during the summertime. Although introduced from Eurasia, you can find this wildflower growing in every state of the continental US.

The hummingbird in the clip is a female. She lacks the brilliant red-feathered throat patch, or gorget, of the male. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are all around us, you just have to know what to plant to bring them to your garden. Mostly they eat tiny insects but if you plant their favorite nectar-providing plants, they will come!

If I could only grow one plant to attract the Ruby-throats, it would be honeysuckle. Not the wonderfully fragrant, but highly invasive, Japanese honeysuckle, but our beautiful native trumpet honeysuckle that flowers in an array of warm-hued shades of Spanish orange (‘John Clayton’), deep ruby red (‘Major Wheeler’), and my very favorite, the two-toned orange and red ‘Dropmore Scarlet.’Lonicera sempervirens’ Dropmore Scarlet’

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird drinking nectar from zinnia florets.

BENARY GIANT ZINNIAS AND MORE MONARCH SIGHTINGS!

They don’t call these zinnias ‘Giant’ for nothing! One of my favorite zinnias, not only for its show-stopping size and sparkling array of colors, but these beauties are a magnet for Monarchs (and a bevy of other beneficial pollinators, too). Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) are a native North American wildflower and these grand beauties were developed by Ernst Benary, one of the oldest German seed companies, founded in 1843. You can purchase Benary Giant seedlings from Elise and Tucker at Cedar Rock Gardens in the spring.

Benary Giant Zinnia and Monarch Butterfly

Elizabeth Redmond from Essex shares photos and writes,

“Hi Kim,
My little butterfly garden in Essex is only 4 feet by 6 feet and yet the monarchs find the Asclepias incarnata that I grew from seed—so gratifying! This week I’ve had two at a time (although not caught in photo). Thanks for your awareness-raising work and great photos!”

Jackie Bennet, who works at Corliss in Ipswich, shares recent sightings of a male Monarch butterfly and caterpillar, and a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the crocosmia.

 

LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP THE POLLINATORS THURSDAY NIGHT AT THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY

Seaside Goldenrod for Bees and Butterflies

Come on over to the Sawyer Free Library Thursday night and learn how you can create a welcoming haven for birds, bees, and butterflies!

Plant Cosmos for the Birds, Bees, and Butterflies

Marsh Milkweed for the Butterflies and Bees

Male and Female Luna Moths

Zinnias for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Bees, and Butterflies

Mexican Sunflower and Bee

Monarch and Hibiscus

 

Monarchs at the HarborWalk Zinnia Patch!

Monarch Butterfly Gloucester HarborWalk ©Kim Smith 2014This past week while I am home enjoying a staycation (why would anyone ever want to leave Gloucester during the summer?), I have been working on HarborWalk butterfly garden improvements, alongside some outstandingly helpful volunteers. Imagine our delight when a beautiful Mama Monarch flew on the secene. After nectaring from the zinnias, I was hoping she would deposit her eggs on the Marsh Milkweed, strategically planted next to the nectar-rich zinnias, but no, not on her day’s agenda.

Many Hands Make Light Work ~ If you would like to join the Friends of the HarborWalk volunteers, please email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. You don’t need to be an expert gardener to join us; on the job-training is provided. We also need sweepers, trash-picker-uppers, and weedwhackers!

I understand from Matt Coogan, Gloucester’s Community Development Senior Planner, that there were over 800 people attending the free Summer Cinema on Wednesday night!! This coming Wednesday, a showing of Goonines is scheduled. I hope to see you there!

Monarch Butterfly Glucester HarborWalk Zinnia patch ©Kim Smith 2014The Monarchs we see in our gardens at this time of year are not the Methuselah Monarchs that travel to Mexico, but the parents of the generation that will.

 

ZINNIAS!

Zinnia elegans ©Kim Smith 2013 copyZinnia elegans

We L-O-V-E zinnias, not only because they flower non-stop from late June through the first frost, but because they also attract myriad species of bees and butterflies to their tiny yellow center florets (disk flowers). The singles are best for attracting pollinators as it is easier for the butterflies and bees to find their way to the sweet nectar.

Like all members of the Asteraceae (Aster Family), zinnias are comprised of two types of flowers; the center florets are called disk flowers and the outer petals are called ray flowers.

The wildflower zinnia that grows in the deserts of Mexico and southwestern United States, from which most hybrids developed, is a simple daisy-like flowerhead with pinkish purple ray flowers and yellow disk flowers.

Zinnia elegans

An old fashioned common name for zinnias is Youth-on-Age because they continue to produce new flowers as the older blossoms are expiring.

Vining Around the Garden

For readers not yet aware, Vine is a free downloadable app for your cell phone. Vine allows you to make six-second continuously looping videos, which you can share instantly to Twitter, FB, and Vine. I like Vine because it is so immediate, uncomplicated, and fun to use. Some people I follow on Vine are John McElhenny; his Vines are always interesting scenes taken in and around Gloucester, and also Amanda Mohan and Macklemore because their Vines are often super funny.

To read the caption, wave your cursor over the lower left-hand corner of each video.

Thanks So Much to Kate and Our Friends at Wolf Hill!!!

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Male ©Kim Smith 2013

Newly Emerged Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Thanks to Kate and the team at Wolf Hill for giving me a second Black Swallowtail caterpillar of the season. And, as I was getting ready to discard the parsley plant from the first caterpillar they had found at the garden center earlier in May, I discovered yet a third caterpillar.

Chrysalis #2 eclosed yesterday in the early morning hours. The butterfly in the photo above is newly emerged, so much so that you can see its abdomen is still swollen with fluids as it is expelling a drop. After first drying his wings on the zinnias, he flew off in search of nectar and a mate. I just can’t thank you enough Kate, and everyone at Wolf Hill who is taking an interest in the caterpillars!

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Zinnia Male ©Kim Smith 2013.Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly and Zinnia

Madeline and the Monarch

The Ciaramitaro Family stopped by Willowdale today for a tour of the butterfly gardens. We were lucky to see several Monarchs and dozens of Painted Ladies.

Click the photo to view larger and you will see the Monarch climbed onto Madeline’s finger–it takes great patience to hold still long enough to allow a butterfly to climb aboard!

Madeline was determined that a butterfly would climb onto her finger–first trying the Painted Ladies and then very, very patiently, and holding very, very still, encouraging the Monarchs. She was thrilled when one did–and did so several times–very sweet to see her joy. Madeline and Eloise were expertly identifying the male and female Monarchs and explaining to all in how to tell the difference.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady–never a more aptly named butterfly! Although ubiquitous, the sheer number of Painted Ladies found in gardens this summer is simply astonishing.

Painted Lady (Dorsal)

This morning in our postage-stamp-of-a-lot, there were quite possibly over one hundred newly emerged Painted Ladies nectaring from the Joe-pye, Baby Joe, zinnias, butterfly bushes, phlox, and Rudbeckia.