Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Butterfly MilkWeed Attracts Beautiful Butterflies

I started with a variety of milkweed that is white called 'Ice Ballet'. I have a nice sized patch of the white flowers blooming now; but I am sure This mauve colored one must be a seedling from the white variety. It is very beautiful and is a butterfly magnet.

This plant is a favorite to monarch butterflies as well as others. The ones that I have attracted are the Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele, i think.

Here is some info about this plant:

Asclepias incarnata, with common names such as: Swamp Milkweed, Rose Milkweed, Swamp Silkweed, and White Indian Hemp, is a herbaceous, perennial plant species native to North America. It is found growing in damp to wet soils and also is cultivated as a garden plant for its attractive flowers, which are visited by butterflies and other pollinators due to its copious production of nectar. Like most other milkweeds, it has sap containing toxic chemicals, a characteristic that repels insects and herbivorous animals.

Swamp milkweed prefers moisture retentive to damp soils in full sun to partial shade and typically, is found growing wild near the edges of ponds, lakes, streams, and low areas—or along ditches. It is one of the best attractors of the Monarch Butterfly, which feeds on the flowers and lays her eggs on the plants. The emerging caterpillars feed on the leaves.

The plants have specialized roots for living in heavy wet soils. The scented, thick, white roots are adapted to live in environments low in oxygen. Blooming occurs in mid to late summer and after blooming; long, relatively thin, rounded, pods are produced that grow uprightly. The pods split open in late summer to late fall, releasing seeds that are attached to silky hairs, which act as parachutes that carry the seeds on the currents of the wind.

This species is cultivated frequently and a number of cultivars are available. They are used especially in gardens designed to attract butterflies. The nectar of the plant attracts many other species of butterflies and insects as well. The plants are also sold as freshly cut flowers, mostly for their long-lasting flower display, but sometimes, for the distinctive seed pods.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Free Daylilies

We had a fun adventure yesterday. We dug a pickup load full of different varieties of daylily. Some had the names next to them and others will be a surprise. Most are not in bloom yet so we will have to wait to see what they look like. It was very muddy digging and we had to carry what we dug up a long trail- the hill had a pretty good incline. We got a great workout!! Lots of work but it was FREE and it was Fun. I think I got enough to plant on a grass slope that I am trying to cover with plants so that there is no more mowing in that area of the garden.

Here are a few of them:

LEPRECHAUN'S WEALTH (Hudson) 15", S.Ev., E.M., 2 1/2"

Small, round blooms of solid apricot-orange with lightly ruffled edges, creped texture and olive-green throat. Reblooms.


Nice pale-yellow daylily that blooms early in the season and continues to rebloom until frost. Fragrant extended bloomer.

An outstanding selection bred by Dr. Darrel Apps, one of only a small handful of truly everblooming Daylilies available to gardeners in northern regions. This lovely variety has large (4 inch) soft lemon-yellow blooms with ruffled edges and a green throat. Flowering continues constantly from May to frost. Diploid. Winter dormant. Spent flower stems can be trimmed back after all the buds have finished. Remove old foliage in late fall. Plants do not usually require dividing for several years, but are easily split apart in fall or early spring. Flowers are edible. May well prove to be hardy in Zone 2.

(Grovatt 1974) 46 inches-ML-D-DIP-8 inches; large golden orange spider (Color: Orange)

(Lenington 1976) 22 inches-EM-SE-DIP-3.5 inches; canary yellow self (Color: yellow)

Tompkins 1997
DOR, 36", 6", M, RE, TET
A large hot pink with reddish halo. Ruffled and picoteed. Showy.

Six-inch blooms are yellow, with ruffled petals and a corduroy texture. They rebloom in late summer.

a very fragrant, small cranberry-wine, almost red flower, with a yellow throat, and a flower size of 3”. With dark green foliage, this daylily will reach a height of 18” and a plant spread of 23-29”. ‘Pardon Me’ will bloom from May through July, with outstanding color and a definite rebloomer. ‘Pardon Me’ prefers a full sun area that is well-drained. ‘Pardon Me’ is considered to be pest and deer resistant. Use for cut flowers, massing, edging, borders or in mixed containers and tubs.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Joan's Lemon Herb Cookies

2 1/2 cup flour
2 T dried Lemon Verbena, crushed or ( 3 Tablespoons fresh and finely chopped)
2 tsp baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp lemon extract or 1/2 tsp of each

Combine flour, verbena, baking powder, salt, and set aside.
Beat butter then add sugar and eggs and flavorings and beat. Add half of the flour, beat, and then add the remaining flour.

Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 4 to 5 dozen small cookies.

Instead of just lemon verbena, other herbs can be substituted such as 3 tablespoons of fresh and finely chopped lemon balm.

or 3 Tablespoons of fresh mint leaves with a 1/4 tsp of mint extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Monday, June 07, 2010

30 minute Chicken

30-Minute Chicken Recipe for using the Pampered Chef Deep covered Baker

Our Deep Covered Baker and a flavorful seasoning mixture make
this chicken easy and irresistible. This quick microwave method is a
real time-saver, perfect for a weeknight meal or when a recipe calls
for cooked chicken.
1 whole chicken (3½-4 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lightly spray Deep Covered Baker with oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken
cavity. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Trim excess fat using Kitchen Shears, if necessary. Tie
ends of legs together with cotton string. Lift wing tips up toward neck; then tuck under back of chicken. Place chicken on
Cutting Board; brush with oil using Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush.
For seasoning mixture, combine ingredients in Prep Bowl; mix well. Completely coat outside of chicken with seasoning
mixture. Place chicken, breast side up, in baker.
Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 25-30 minutes or until Pocket Thermometer registers 165oF in thickest part of breast
and juices run clear. Remove from microwave. Cover with lid and let rest 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 170oF).
Yield: 4-6 servings

All-in-One Chicken Dinner - Prepare chicken as directed above and place in baker. Combine 1 cup each celery and
carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces, and 3 cups red or russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces, in Classic Batter Bowl. Toss with
additional seasoning, if desired. Arrange vegetables around chicken. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 35-40 minutes or
until Pocket Thermometer registers 165oF in thickest part of breast and juices run clear. Remove from microwave. Cover
with lid and let rest 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 170oF).
Lightened-up 30-Minute Chicken - Carefully remove skin from chicken; season as recipe directs. Microwave,
uncovered, on HIGH 20-25 minutes or until Pocket Thermometer registers 165oF in thickest part of breast and juices
run clear. Remove from microwave. Cover with lid and let rest 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 170oF).

Seasoning Mixture
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Wood Thrush nesting in our garden

We have been enjoying this beautiful bird nesting in a low growing privet in our front yard. She does not seem to be frightened when we walk by. We observed several pretty greenish blue eggs a few days ago and discovered this weekend that the eggs hatched.

I found this great article about this beautiful bird.

Wood Thrush
A "Sing"-ular Sensation
by Mary Deinlein (February 1998)

Rusty-brown bird with spotted underparts Over the quiet murmur of a woodland stream and the subtle whisper of breezes through the leaves of tall trees, the rich, liquid song of a Wood Thrush resonates through the morning air. Dew on fern fronds glistens as the cinnamon-backed thrush descends to the forest floor, hopping through layers of dead leaves in search of insects.

Thus begins a typical summer day in moist and shady deciduous forests throughout the eastern United States, where the sensory experience of a walk in the woods is enriched by the flute-like sounds of the Wood Thrush. These sounds have inspired many lofty descriptions, such as this excerpt from the writings of a naturalist in the 1930's:

“As we listen we lose the sense of time—it links us with eternity…Its tones…seem like the vocal expression of the mystery of the universe, clothed in a melody so pure and ethereal that the soul still bound to its earthly tenement can neither imitate nor describe it.”

Perhaps the most famous reference to the Wood Thrush's song is this quotation from the writings of Henry David Thoreau,

“The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest. Here is a bird in whose strain the story is told…Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; whenever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of heaven are not shut against him.”

The legendary "ee-o-lay" song of the Wood Thrush is actually a one-bird duet. Because the Wood Thrush has the equivalent of two sets of "vocal cords," it is able to sing two overlapping songs at once. In other words, the Wood Thrush sings with two voices simultaneously. The syrinx, or voice-box, of the majority of bird species contains two membranes which when vibrated produce sound. The ability to control each membrane independently makes birds such as the Wood Thrush capable of impressive vocal gymnastics.

Wood Thrush nest
The Wood Thrush is a close relative of the American Robin. In addition to bearing a family resemblance in their plump body shape and mannerisms, the robin and the Wood Thrush are alike in that they both use mud in building their nests. The mud is used to form a deep cup, which robins line with grasses and Wood Thrushes with fine rootlets. Unlike robins, Wood Thrushes always use dead leaves as a base for the nest. Often they will also incorporate strips of white paper, cloth, plastic, or other human trash into the base. Although it might seem as if the white, "unnatural" components would make the nest more conspicuous and thus more vulnerable to predation, it may actually have the opposite effect. By breaking up the outline of the nest, the white items may make the nest less noticeable.

Whereas robins can be found across most of the United States throughout the entire year, Wood Thrushes are here only from April through September. By mid-August, they have begun a mass exodus from their breeding grounds en-route to their winter homes in tropical forests from southeastern Mexico to Panama.

Migrating primarily at night, Wood Thrushes travel an average distance of 2,200 kilometers between their breeding and wintering grounds. Like runners in training for a marathon, Wood Thrushes change their diet in preparation for their long-distance journey. The switch is from protein-rich insects, which constitute the bulk of the food consumed while raising young, to energy-rich fruits, especially berries. The carbohydrates and lipids in the fruit readily convert to fat, which provides the fuel necessary for migration. As such, fruiting plants are a critical resource for many migrating birds.

The Wood Thrush has been a frequent subject of ecological research. The impetus for much of the research has been to elucidate the causes of a 1.7% per year decline in the species over much of its range, as detected by the Breeding Bird Survey between 1966 and 1994. Research conducted on the breeding grounds has centered on the effects of forest fragmentation on nesting success.

Forest fragmentation refers to the reduction of extensive, contiguous forest into smaller, disjunct parcels separated by roads, agricultural fields, houses, shopping malls, and other "development." Carving up a forest into smaller parcels creates more forest edge relative to forest interior, a configuration which makes birds' nests, eggs, and young "easy pickings" for predators and Brown-headed Cowbirds, which are more numerous along forest edges (the Brown-headed Cowbird is a "brood parasite," which means it lays its eggs in other birds' nests, often to the detriment of the host young). Predators include chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels, grackles, Blue Jays, and crows.

Research findings demonstrate that Wood Thrush nesting success is indeed greatest in unfragmented forests. Success rates decline with forest patch size primarily as a result of increased predation on eggs and young. This pattern has been widely detected across the breeding range and is thought to be a key contributing factor behind population declines.

Black bird with brown head The impact cowbirds have on the nesting success of Wood Thrushes seems to be less correlated with forest size and more determined by the population density of cowbirds. As such, effects of brood parasitism are particularly severe in the Midwestern United States where cowbirds are in great abundance. In one five-year study conducted in Illinois, 100% of the Wood Thrush nests found were parasitized. Overall, these nests contained four times as many cowbird eggs as Wood Thrush eggs, leading one researcher to conclude that Wood Thrushes in Illinois are raising more cowbirds than they are their own species. In contrast, brood parasitism rates in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast are relatively low.

The candle is burning at both ends for the Wood Thrush, as it is for many birds that breed in temperate North America and winter in the tropics of Latin America. At the same time that conditions on the breeding grounds are deteriorating, the tropical forests preferred by wintering Wood Thrushes are rapidly disappearing.

Wood Thrushes lead one of two lifestyles while on their wintering grounds. They either lay claim to a territory within forest, which they will defend and occupy for the duration of the season, or they are forced-- due to a limited amount of prime habitat—to lead a more nomadic life in disturbed habitats of inferior quality. The nomadic birds are less likely to survive the season than their territorial counterparts, in part because of the lack of a "home-court" advantage when it comes to escaping predators. As more forest is cleared, more birds will be forced to rely on inferior habitats, and fewer birds will live to make the next migration back to the United States.

If we care to ensure that the song of the Wood Thrush will continue to grace our forests each summer, we must protect our remaining large tracts of forest and minimize "development" which contributes to fragmentation. Nothing puts this into perspective better than a bird's-eye view.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Herbal Rosemary -Blueberry Lemonade

I have been experimenting with Drinks that use herbs for some of the ingredients for a workshop that I am helping with next week. I think this turned out great. I adapted it from another recipe.

This is a beautiful, refreshing drink made from a fusion of herbs, berries, and good old-fashioned lemonade. Great served Iced.

Serves 4 to 6

1 quart water
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaf or 1/8 cup dried rosemary
3 medium lemons
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries
ice cubes

Make a rosemary infusion- steep rosemary in 1 quart of boiling water for 5 minutes - just like making brewed tea.

Strain the rosemary out of the water and then add honey and white sugar to the infused water and stir well.

Juice the lemons and add to the rosemary water.

Add the Frozen blueberries and ice cubes.

To serve pour lemonade into ice-filled glasses and garnish with sliced lemon and rosemary sprigs.


Bachelorette Cookies... Liquor and lingerie Theme

Warning, These are not my usual Iced sugar cookies- but I did have fun making them.

Someone requested these cookies for a Bachelorette Party-

Quinn's New Fish

We have many gold fish and Koi in our ponds. Most of them are several years old some 7 years of more. Quinn was not very old when we used to bring fish home from the pet store or when we started with baby koi from a someone's backyard pond. We lost a few of our oldest fish this winter but still have it overly stocked. we gave in and let Quinn pick out a couple colorful Goldfish. We were looking for Shubunkin but came home with Ryukin goldfish both have colorful markings. He was all smiles with his new pets. These guys are so tiny compared to the other fish in the pond- I thought they may be lunch. After a week in their new Home, They are still swimming around. Quinn checks on them daily.

The Ryukin is an omnivourus goldfish species.It is very docile and is often fed vegetable/growth/coulor/protein mixtures.Ryukins can grow to be up to 6 inches long, and 1 1/2 inches deep!The Ryukin loves to explore, so you should have a few plants(plastic or real) in your tank.Ryukins can live up to be 15 years old!It's colors are calico, red and white, white, and orange.Ryukins have a short, round body, and a high humped back

The Shubukin is an omnivourus goldfish species.It is very docile and is often fed vegetable/color mixtures.The Shubukin can grow up to be 25 inches long!The Shubukin is called "scaleless", beacause it looks like it has no scales.The Shubukin can live up to be 35 years old!It's only color is calico.The Shubukin looks exactly like the Common Goldfish, just it is calico, and "scaleless".

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Iris Growing Tips:

Over 300 species

Grown from bulbs or rhizomes

Three categories: bearded, beardless, and crested

Irises need full to half day of sun

Plant July – September 12 – 24 inches apart

Bloom periods is spring or early summer

Deadhead bloom stems close to the ground.

Apply small amount of fertilizer one month after bloom

For prolific blooms, divide every 3-4 years before they become crowded

Remove only diseased or brown leaves

Garden the 1st of June

You May also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails