Another banner weekend for butterflies on Cape Ann with Yellow Sulphurs, Painted Ladies, and American Ladies joining the streams of Monarchs migrating along our shores.
Butterflies struggle at this time of year to find sources of nectar. Whatever you do, please do not cut back your garden until mid-November or so. Best NOT to cut back at all and to leave the drying seed heads for the songbirds and leaf litter and plant stalks for hibernating bees and caterpillars, but if one really must cut back, wait as long as possible.
If you click on the photos in the gallery, each picture is labeled with the name of the butterfly and the names of the late-blooming plants on which they are drinking nectar and building their fat reserves for the journey ahead . Butterflies will even fight over a Dandelion to try to get nectar when nothing much else is available (the best reason of all not to use Roundup on the Dandelions in a lawn).
Come join us Wednesday morning from 10am to 11am at the Sawyer Free Library where I will be sharing Monarch fun with young people. We have art activities, as well as eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides, and possibly a butterfly or two emerging on the day of the program. I hope you can join us!
2019 has been an amazing year for Monarchs. We got off to a very early and fantastic start, but then with a wave of cool rainy weather the Monarch movement slowed considerably. Despite the slow down, we’ve had at least two subsequent waves come through for a total of three broods this summer. Hopefully this will translate to a great 2019 migration followed by strong numbers at the Monarch butterfly’s winter sanctuaries at Michoacán and the state of Mexico.
The eggs we see now on milkweed plants are the super generation of Monarchs that will travel to Mexico.
The photos show the Monarch caterpillar becoming a chrysalis. When ready to pupate, the caterpillar finds a safe place and spins a silky mat. He inserts his last pair of legs into the silky mat and hangs upside down in a J-shape for about a day. Biological developments that began when the caterpillar first emerged are in high gear now. The caterpillar’s suit, or exoskeleton, splits along the center line of the thorax and shrivels as the developing green chrysalis is revealed. The last photo in the gallery shows the moment when the old skin is tossed off.
Snapshots from a butterfly gardening workshop that I recently participated in at Philips Andover Children’s Campus. This wonderful program was coordinated with the Andover Gardening Club and Andover Memorial Hall Library. Many thanks to SHED educator Julie for inviting me to participate and for taking such great care of Charlotte while I worked with the kids!
My friend Eric Hutchins sent along this snapshot of his wonderfully lush patch of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). He thought I would like to see how beautifully his milkweed has grown from seeds distributed at our milkweed sale several years ago. Thanks so much to Eric, love, love seeing this!
There has been more interest than anticipated in Monarch eggs. Thank you to everyone for writing!
At present, Jane has over 100 caterpillars in her kitchen terrariums. These will become butterflies within the month, and each female that emerges will lay between 300 to 700 eggs. I’ve compiled a list of everyone who left a comment. We are thrilled and grateful readers are so interested in helping raise Monarchs this summer. I will contact all as soon as Jane has a new batch of freshly laid Monarch eggs.
In the meantime, I am going to type up some FAQs. I also suggest using a glass rectangular fish tank/terrarium, with a fitted screen top, for rearing the caterpillars. If you don’t have one, they are available at our local pet stores. Also, a package of cheese cloth. Along with a plentiful supply of milkweed, that’s all you will need.
Thank you again and we’ll be in touch. ❤
A friend with a lovely garden just loaded with milkweed would like help this summer raising Monarchs. She is located in the Annisquam area. Last year Jane had so many eggs and caterpillars, she had a real time of it trying to take care of all. This year promises to be as good as, if not better than, last year.
If you would like Monarch eggs and information on how to take care of the eggs and caterpillars, please comment in the comment section, and we will provide you with Monarch babies!
I cannot say enough good things about BLACK EARTH COMPOST and the amazing guys, Andrew and Connor, who provide this fantastic product. My client’s gardens have never looked as lush and beautiful since I began using strictly Black Earth Compost to replenish the soil.
Andrew even delivers to my butterfly and ABC gardens at Philips Andover. Thank you Black Earth for making such a great product!!!
Black Earth Compost not only makes a great product, they provide residential, commercial, and municipal compost pickup. Go here to learn more about their excellent services.
Several days ago, while a Mama Monarch was busy ovipositing several dozen eggs on the Marsh Milkweed growing in our garden, facebook friend Amy T shared a photo of three Monarch caterpillars munching on her Marsh Milkweed. It’s been a banner year on Cape Ann for Monarch butterflies and caterpillars – let’s hope they all make to Mexico!
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!
Please join me tonight at 7pm at the Sea Spray Garden Club where I will be giving my “Habitat Garden” workshop and screening several short films. This event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!
I am looking forward to presenting the “Pollinator Garden” program for the Winter Garden Club of Marblehead on the morning of October 4th. On October 17th. I am the guest speaker for the Sharon Garden Club and will be presenting the lecture “Beauty on the Wing; Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly.” For more information please visit the Events Page of my website.
I am currently booking programs for 2016-2017-2018 and would be delighted to present to your club, library, school, and private or public event. See the Programs Page of my website and feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any questions.
Read what Mim Frost, the Program Chair for the Ipswich Town and Country Garden Club, had to say about the Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly film and program that I recently gave to her club:
How often does something you’ve looked forward to for a long time live up to your expectations? Not often. But last night at Ebsco your presentation, including your film, your comments and your Q&A were just about perfect in my book! I’ll smile as I remember the evening.
I liked having the trailer for the monarch film first. You gave the group something to look forward to. Jesse Cook’s music is an excellent choice, I think. I drum to his music often. I was pleased with the questions and with your answers. It’s obvious you’ve done a lot of research. The way you answered questions made the group comfortable. Very nice! And the film. What can I say. I’d seen clips, but seeing the whole thing was something I won’t forget. I especially liked your reference to other butterflies and your comparison of the swallowtail with the monarch. Liv’s voice was just right for the commentary!
I know from experience that the presenter is the harshest critic of the presentation. I hope you were feeling pleased with your work last night. I’d be happy to repeat the whole evening!
All the best to you,
A little-remembered fact is that the HarborWalk artists were chosen from an applicant pool of local Cape Ann artists, as well as non-local residents. The public call to art was made over a period of several months, and it was widely publicized on this blog and in the Gloucester Daily Times. As a matter of record, myself, several fellow GMG contributors, and many artists in our community applied. The application process was made fair through the CAFE system. The semi-finalists exhibited their proposals at the Sawyer Free Library.
The following are just some of the posts that appeared on Good Morning Gloucester about the HarborWalk public call to art:
Joey’s step-by-step on how to apply: Public Art Call
E.J’s reminder: Artist Get Cracking – You Have Three Weeks
It is my understanding that with a public call to art, where the funding is provided by a state grant, it is illegal to restrict the call to only local residents.
Whether or not you care for the artist’s work, is a horse of a different color and subjective opinion. The three winning artists were chosen by a jury of their peers, comprised of a panel that included local residents.
Did you know that the new and fabulously well-attended Summer Cinema is part of the award winning HarborWalk? There were over one thousand attendees at Wednesday night’s Leggo Movie event. Movie night has been the talk of the town amongst kids throughout the city!
Before Photos ~ Same View as Above, Looking Towards the Gloucester House Restaurant and Taken in 2011
Have you walked one of the new crosswalks? I did, and didn’t slip or fall, and I am quite possibly one of the most accident prone people you will every meet–just ask my husband. Rather than repeating hearsay, I suggest you walk one yourself.
Do you recall the trash talk about Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway when it was first built (inaugurated in 2008)? The idea of a carousel has been bandied about for the HarborWalk. Here’s Nicole Scrafft’s recent lovely post about how she and her boys spent a fabulous day at the park: Now That’s a Carousel.
Many in our community have freely donated their time and energy to creating the HarborWalk and several people, who would prefer to remain anonymous, have donated thousands upon thousands of hours of their time and considerable skills toward developing the HarborWalk.There are challenges to overcome in every design project. I speak as the landscape designer who provided the horticultural master plan for the HarborWalk. This is only the third year of the HarborWalk’s existence and it is already proving to have a tremendously positive impact on our local businesses and restaurants. Let’s give the HarborWalk a chance to become established, to grow, to thrive, and continue to provide entertainment, education, and fun for our community and visitors.
How will you help? Please contact me if you would like to become a Friend of the HarborWalk, at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comment section of this post.
Read what reporter Glenn Collins had to say about the HarborWalk in the August 13th New York Time’s article titled “Polishing Its Past and Preparing Its Future.”
“This year Massachusetts designated four new cultural districts on Cape Ann, based on their museums, galleries, restaurants, performance spaces and artistic communities. Visitors can now download a free Cape Ann Cultural Districts smartphone app, to access a bonanza of web information and self-guided tours. This summer, 20 new “story posts,” bringing the total to 42, afford a walking encyclopedia of information. They are affixed to granite bollards situated strategically on the route (GHWalk.org).
The posts are part of the Gloucester HarborWalk, a free, multimile, historic, civic and artistic public-access walkway that zigzags in and out of historic locales, piers, plazas, docks and parks. Call it stealth wayfinding, since it affords an intimate view of the harborfront, giving access to the town’s history — and the water itself — without disturbing the working port, or cutesifying it.”
If you have been enjoying the HarborWalk–the Summer Cinema, the story moments, window to the waterfront, and all that it has to offer, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. Thank you!
Don’t miss JAWS!, playing Wednesday, August 27th. I hope to see you there!
This morning the dedication of the new butterfly garden at Pathway’s for Children was celebrated with speeches of thanks, and a song and poem performed by the Pathways children. The sun was shining, the bees and butterflies were on the wing, and there were lots of smiles of joy on the faces of the children and attendees. My most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to all who have given so much to make the garden a success!
Just some of the wonderful people who made the garden possible: Andrew, Bernie Romanowski, Beth Graham, and Peter Van Demark
Before Photo Pathways for Children
See previous GMG post on the new butterfly garden at Pathways here: HOORAY FOR PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN’S BRAND SPANKING NEW BUTTERFLY GARDEN
HOLY CANNOLI and WOW–look how fantastically the Pathway’s Staff is taking care of their brand new one-month old butterfly garden–every plant looks well-loved!!!
Same View After Photo ~ July 18, 2014
My sincerest thanks to Caroline Haines for her vision to create a butterfly garden for the children at Pathways.
Thank you to the many donors who have made the butterfly gardens at Pathways possible.
Thank you to the Manchester Garden Club for their tremendous assisitance in planting the garden.
Thank you to the volunteers from Liberty Mutual for tearing out the old plantings.
And special thanks to Bernie Romanowski, Pathways for Children facilities director, for all his hard work and his extraordinary care and attention to detail, from the project’s inception through its continued maintenance. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) ~ Notice the pretty moth nectaring from the milkweed in the upper right. The gardens are alive with pollinators of every species imaginable, including butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, songbirds, moths, and sundry insects!
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Antennae for Design ~
The architectural details of the trellis and picnic table were designed to be a coordinated focal point in the garden and planned to be stained a classic seaside blue. Why would we want to paint or stain the trellis and not simply allow it to gain a weathered patina? From an aesthetic point of view, the wood used for both the picnic table and trellis are two different types and will age very differently from each other. If this were a very large garden, it wouldn’t matter so much, but in a cozy garden room such as this, the difference will become quite noticeable and unappealing over time. Additionally, the blue will offset the flowers and foliage handsomely and is a cheery choice with children in mind.
From a very practical standpoint, untreated wood will quickly degrade in our salty sea air and neither piece will last more than ten years without protection. An opaque stain is the best solution because as the trellis and picnic table age, the obvious differences in wood will be disguised. An opaque stain also requires the least amount of effort to maintain over time.
After months of planning and coordinating, this week we installed the new butterfly garden at Pathways for Children. We’ll be bringing you more updates from the garden but I wanted to first thank our super hard-working, fabulous and fun, beautiful team of volunteers from the Manchester Garden Club. We planted the garden in record time due to their can-do-attitudes. Thank You Ladies–you were simply the BEST!!!
And, success! As Bernie Romanowski, the facilities director, and I were tidying up, not one, but two butterflies stopped by to investigate the new garden, a Cabbage White and a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail. I wished our volunteers had seen that. Plant and they will come!
This week we broke ground for a butterfly garden at Pathways for Children. I think it has been several years since Caroline Haines, the COO of Pathways, and I, first began discussing the possibility of a pollinator garden for Pathways. Then in the summer of 2012 we had an amazing Monarch Butterfly program for the children, and believe me when I write that it was truly a fabulous event because it just so happened that very day, several of the caterpillars pupated right before the children’s eyes! Caroline, the teachers, and the students had the “bug.”
After meeting with Caroline, Pathway’s Bernie Romanowski, and teacher Sandra, we determined the best use of the space would be to create an outdoor classroom within the flowering pollinator garden—no easy task as the front elevation is one long narrow sliver of space. Fortunately, though, the front of the building also faces primarily south, which is ideal for planting the most fun and colorful of butterfly, bee, and songbird attracting plants.
Bernie secured a bobcat for exactly two hours and proceeded to rip out the overgrown and diseased trees and shrubs. Under Bernie’s direction, we were then joined by a dream team of volunteers from Liberty Mutual who, in less than five hours, completely transformed the front to the beautiful canvas you see below. A fence, two- foot wide trellised pergola, and table are yet to be installed. And, the Manchester Garden Club has graciously offered to lend a hand with the planting!
Stay tuned for more updates to come!
Notice the two gardenia trees in the large planters in the background. Weren’t we startled several weeks ago to find a nest tucked in the crook of the gardenia branches, with an egg!! The planters are moved often enough to accommodate wedding ceremonies, but that didn’t deter in the least the highly adaptable Chipping Sparrow from building its nest.
Parent Chipping Sparrow. The mom/pop waited anxiously, with a fat green caterpillar dangling from its mouth, for me to stop photographing. As soon as I moved away, it flew to the nest to deposit the worm into the hungry baby’s wide-open mouth. The entire time I was there delivering plants Sunday afternoon, the baby never closed its mouth!
The song of the Chipping Sparrow is a lovely trill and you can hear it well on this video. They also make a piercing flight call, a characteristic sound of the evening sky during their annual spring and fall migration.
Please join me Monday evening for a tour of the butterfly gardens I designed for Willowdale Estate. Come experience a taste of Briar’s gracious hospitality and enjoy refreshments served in the conservatory. The tulips are at their peak and look simply spectacular this year. I will also be showing several of my short films. Please RSVP to Sarah at: Sarah@WillowdaleEstate.com ~ 978-887-8211.
I hope to see you there!
I hope you can come join me in the courtyard garden I designed for Willowdale on Tuesday June 12th at 7pm. The event is free and should be lots of fun. I am looking forward to showing my film and the garden and Briar will prepare her wonderful array of refreshments, within the setting of the beautifully restored Arts and Crafts mansion and gardens that is Willowdale! RSVP to Info@WillowdaleEastate.com