Sunday, July 23, 2017

Butterflies in the Garden


"Colorful, butterflies are nature's flying flowers."
Debbie Hadley ~ 10 fascinating facts about butterflies.

Join me today, as I share some butterflies from my garden. This week I learned some fascinating things about butterflies. In the last week or so, I observed the beginning of a butterfly cycle in my garden. It has been so exciting that they are like my children, I am constantly checking on them!
I've noticed caterpillars on my parsley for the past three years. Until this year, I didn't think much about them. Just knew I should be happy there would be butterflies coming and sacrificed my parsley. It doesn't kill the parsley for caterpillars to feed on it. But this year, I started noticing more things. Scroll up and you can see some smaller black caterpillars at the top of the pic.The one on the upper top right corner is easy to see. It hatched out later than the others and hasn't been feeding as long.The fatter ones have eaten quite a bit of my parsley.

Years ago, I didn't know each kind of butterfly has a distinct caterpillar that is identifiable. Also, each kind of butterfly will only lay eggs on certain plants.  This is a swallowtail caterpillar and they lay their eggs on parsley, dill, fennel, carrot or Queen Anne's lace which are called host plants.

Here is a pic of a swallowtail caterpillar on a fennel plant I took in my garden some years ago. 

Next, in my amazing adventure in my own backyard, it was so exciting to find eggs on my parsley plant and then realize I had witnessed the female laying them. The eggs are the size of a pinhead. Usually, yellow or green, however, these look white. They hatch in a few days so I will be busy watching for them to hatch and the cycle start all over again. What mystery and wonder God has created for us to delight in and be reminded of Him and His glorious plan for all His creatures!

Look closely and in this pic you can see two things: First, above the butterfly you can see a swallowtail caterpillar on my parsley plant or he may be exploring my milkweed  which is right above the parsley. The butterfly was all aflutter like a mother bird protecting her young. I was in her way looking at the caterpillar and taking it's picture. She flew in circles always coming back to the same stem of parsley. After watching several u-tube videos of  females laying eggs, I realized that that was what she was doing. Later in the day, I turned over the parsley leaves and there were eggs there.  Then, I really got interested!                        
You definitely remember things you experience more than just reading about them. The female holds on the plant with her front legs and curves her thorax under the plant depositing her eggs. This was amazing to realize this happened right before my eyes. Then to my amazement a few hours later I saw this!!!

The caterpillar that had stopped eating and was just sitting on the tip of the parsley stem had turned into a pupa! How I wish I had seen this firsthand. It happened between the time I photographed the butterfly laying her eggs and this pic, only a few hours.  Can you see it? Have you ever seen a pupa in your garden? 

It is fascinating. You can begin to see a hint of what the future butterfly will look like.

I could hardly contain my excitement. Of course, phone calls were made inviting friends that I thought would be interested to come see the pupa. The next day two more pupas appeared. Now, to think this may have occurred in my own yard previously and that I was oblivious, shows me that I need to be more observant because I am missing miracles in my own garden!
And the fourth stage should come in less than two weeks.

You can find pins on Butterflies on my Pinterest page   (Click on Pinterest logo at the top of my homepage) that identify various kinds of butterflies, their body parts and their function, what their caterpillars look like and their host plants they lay their eggs on. 

Now, that I have learned some of the host plants for butterflies I am going to examine them for eggs. Passion vine tendrils are hosts for Zebra Long Wing butterflies. Sassafras is host for Gulf Fritillary. Milkweed(over a 100 varieties) are hosts for Monarchs and many more. Here is a detailed list of host plants found on the web. It is amazing! Check your host plants for eggs and watch the cycle for yourself.

I am trying hard to attract monarch butterflies by planting milkweed. It is invasive so I have it in pots with saucers at the bottom to prevent it from spreading. Although the seed pods open in the fall and the wind blows the seeds.
Monarch made at Dallas Arboretum with my cell phone.

I have enjoyed making pictures of the butterfliesin my garden over the years and I posted about butterflies photographed in my garden here.  I have made more pics since then in my garden. But guess what? I'm nervous that I possibly didn't identify them correctly because the male and female are slightly different with each kind of swallowtail!!!! There are Spicebush Swallowtails, Appalachian Tiger Swallowtails, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtail (poisonous), Zebra Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails....Are you confused yet? Just when I think I know what kind they are, I still have that little bit of doubt! Feel free to let me know if I identified any of the species incorrectly or if any of the info I included is not correct. I am still learning.

I hope I have piqued your interest in butterflies.Here are a few facts about butterflies: Because of the use of pesticides their numbers have diminished in the U.S. the last few years. Butterflies and bees are very important as pollinators.  Butterflies are not as efficient as bees in pollinating plants and crops but they do their fair share about seed and fruit production and are definitely pleasing to watch (

Butterflies life spans are short ( except for monarchs that overwinter) and they only live two weeks. Their main tasks evolve around eating and mating. The four stages of life are: the egg ( a few days), the caterpillar or larva about two weeks), the pupa ( about 2 weeks), the adult. The metamorphosis of butterfliesis truly a miracle and the entire process takes about a month. You can observe butterflies spring, summer and fall in your garden. They are amazing and beautiful creatures full of mystery and wonder.  There are over 700 species in the U.S. and 17,000 worldwide. They live on every continent except Antarctica.
 Oh, what a delight they bring me! I can hardly contain my excitement about seeing this first hand.
Happy Gardening 😃🐛 

 Have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tea Party with Sophie

Our granddaughter, Sophie visited recently and enjoys tea parties.

Here she is four years ago for another tea party we had together. 
Please view the post I did of her tea party in 2013, here. There's something special at the end.

She still remembers the Easter tea party we had so nothing would do but find a tablecloth and decorate.
But it was threatening rain so I quickly tested the lighting and snapped a few pretend pictures because I hadn't steeped the tea yet.

It's a good thing I did because it started to rain and we had to hurry and take everything in. Then by the time we had gotten things inside, the sun came out so we dragged it out again! 

But the same thing happened and by this time we were a little frustrated and ready to dig into the goodies. So we had our party inside at the kitchen table and finally poured real tea in our cups.

It was fun to taste all the flavors of macaroons, ricotta cookies and lemon bars.We didn't have anything savory but maybe next time we will.

The years have passed so quickly. Have you had a tea party lately?
I have searched for other tea party pics with all my grands together and I can't find it....😢
Grandchildren, girlfriends......we all love a tea party and it need not be elaborate!
Girlfriend tea party here and here. Please read the end of the last link if you don't have time to read it all. Relationships are important.

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summertime Garden Entertaining

There's a time each year
That we always hold dear,

Good old summer time;
With the birds and the treeses

And sweet-scented  breezes, 
Good old summer time.

When your day's work is over
Then you are in clover,

And life is one beautiful rhyme,
No trouble annoying

Each one is enjoying, 
The good old summer time.

"In the Good Old Summer Time"is an American Tin Pan Alley song first published in 1902 with music by George Evans and lyrics by Ren Shields.

I'm joining Chloe@Celebrate and Decorate's Summertime Tablescape Blog Hop. Enjoy viewing all the fabulous tablescapes.

Have a wonderful week.





Joining: Gardens GaloreMetamorphosis Monday   Botanic Bleu  Show and Share  The Scoop  Celebrate and Decorate  Inspire Me Tuesday  Wow Us Wednesday  Tablescape Thursday  Share Your Style Party ,Share Your CupThoughts of Home  Foodie Friday  Feathered Nest Friday  Dishing It & Digging It   Calypso in the CountrySunday's At Home

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Spectacular Garden Tour

You are in for a treat today, touring through a beautiful garden which has been a work in progress for 29 years. My friends, Dale and Joan Marsh have a love for beauty.  Dale and Joan both love antiques and enjoy collecting beautiful art for their home and garden. Dale is the quintessential gardener and Joan the quintessential designer, a great combination.
 Their Louisiana Low Country Style home was built in 1987 on a large woodland lot.  It has charm and grace depicting their love of architecture and history that you will see firsthand as we tour.
In the cool of the early morning with blue skies, I  had an enjoyable time photographing the beauty of spring flowers in their garden.

 Many colors of azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias, oak and pine trees grace the natural area leading up to their home.

 Side of the house leading to the back gardens.

 View of their beautiful fountain and back terrace looking out over the gardens. The fountain was purchased in New Orleans and the fencing on the terrace is from an old home in the local area.
Katherine, their daughter, in the garden before her wedding recently. What a beautiful bride she was!

This is the whole family. From left to right: Dale, Joan, son, daughter and her husband. Joan insists this garden is Dale's because of his hard work and devotion to it. Everything other than the natural area and initial foundation plants, driveway azaleas and brick path boxwoods was put here by him alone. Joan says, her role was to provide design and structure. She says," He is the gardener I am the under-gardener." The tour begins.
Strolling down the woodland steps the native azaleas are in full bloom and the fragrance was ethereal.

The old millstone was under an old oak tree at Joan's grandparents home. Loving old things Dale salvaged it before the home was sold probably knowing he would find the perfect spot to keep it in the family and preserve it's history.

This gorgeous statuary sets the stage for the next vista.

      The rose arbor laden with beautiful Lady Banks roses.  We have enjoyed garden parties in their garden throughout the years and we always enjoy viewing the sunset from the pavilion shown in the background.    

Lady Banks blossoms don't last long but are so beautiful at their peak.

This photo does not do the arbor justice. 
To the right of the arbor is a large viburnum full of luscious blossoms. 
 The viburnum or what is commonly called snowballs are striking and like this location. This charming old birdbath was also from Joan's grandmother's yard.

The splendor of the beautiful day and spring flowers was delightful.
There is a feast for the eyes everywhere you look. Antique gates and urns accent plants of all kinds along the trail. I'm sure these irises will be blooming soon.

This plant is Mountain Laurel which Dale dug up from the woods at his farm. It is a native species of Alabama and the Southeast. 
The passion and love of plants and beautiful garden antiques evident in this garden charm all who enter.
Florida anise. Quite beautiful!

 Center entrance to the garden. Close ups below of statuary.

I don't believe their collection of beautiful statuary can be matched for miles around.
Coming up the trail to another part of the garden there is a special large spreading Japanese maple tree that is a favorite spot of Joan's.
There is a bench underneath the tree where Joan sits and enjoys this exquisite tree. She told me she felt God's presence so strong there. This bench was her mother's and on the other side of the tree is another of her mother's benches.
I told her that my camera could not capture what God's eyes could see.  What I was viewing with my eyes was so much more beautiful than the photograph. 
 From underneath the Japanese maple looking up at the house.
 The blue of the sky and the new green was so pretty.

This was Joan's mother's bench on the other side of the Japanese Maple. I'm sure many prayers of praise have been prayed here. Close up of ram in background in next pic.
There is a story behind each vignette. A shopping trip together exploring usually is a fruitful addition to their garden. They enjoy traveling together and find great treasures near and far. 
The ram depicts the sacrifice God provided to Abraham for Isaac, and is a garden symbol from the Roman days.
These ladies are from Joan's mother's garden. Mrs. Warren toiled in her garden joyfully and it was beautiful also.
 Crossing the lawn toward the garage and into another garden there are many lovely vignettes.
 Love the juxtaposition of the french iris and dusty miller.
 Another graceful Japanese maple cascading over the sweet season statuary

It takes tremendous planning and backbreaking work to create a garden.
Now we are entering what they affectionately call the "kettle garden."

Sweet scrub.

 According to Dale, the 80 gallon cast iron syrup kettle now made into a fountain came from an "old syrup making family " in Samson, Alabama.  It was manufactured in Chattanooga. Dale remembers every detail and it is fascinating to hear the history behind all the pieces. Notice the figure in the background.

This antique cast iron jockey holding a lantern was always admired by Dale and was gifted to him by Miss Elizabeth Ballard's estate a number of years ago. It stood at the end of her doorsteps for as long as he can recall. She was a family friend and later a client.
 Whimsical turtle planter made me smile.

View from the side of the garage where comfortable seating is enjoyed for quiet lunches and morning coffee and meditations overlooking the garden.

Joan is a talented designer and has an antique business called Legends. She has a booth at Scott Antiques Market in Atlanta a number of times a year and also has a booth At Montgomery Antiques and Interiors, Montgomery, Alabama.
      I have enjoyed hearing the history of so many of their vintage pieces. I am glad I can record this information for their children as well as many of our local friends that are familiar with these places.  The Victorian window on the garden side of the garage came from the old parsonage of First United Methodist Church, which once stood where the Citizens Bank building is located across the street from the FUMC sanctuary in our town.   It was taken down and demolished, except for 2 windows, one of which is pictured above.

 Variegated hydrangeas. The garden is magical when the hydrangeas are  blooming in late May and early June. They host lovely garden parties on their terrace quite often when the hydrangeas are blooming. Strolling through the garden is a special tradition we all look forward to enjoying.
I learned these posts are called bollards. These French cast iron bollards were bought over 20 years ago at an antique store in Montgomery, Alabama. The attached heavy chain was moved from their farm.
As you meander down the brick path various varieties of camellias greet you.
 Dale, in his element with his beloved camellias.

A myriad of quaint seating areas are scattered throughout delight the eye.
The bell was the school bell for Piney Grove School, which was located near the Marsh farm.

        The front porch fretwork for Kate’s playhouse was taken from the Edwards home (Joan's great grandmother and father’s home) at the intersection of Edwards Street and Daleville Avenue where the present Citizens Bank is standing. It was demolished to make way for the bank and the porch columns, baluster rail and gingerbread all came from the front porch of the Edwards home.
 I had a fit over these cute bunnies!
 Don't you love all the details? Mail box and everything!
The gable eve work standing next to the door of the playhouse also came from the Edwards home. 

Green bottle tree. History of bottle trees found here.
The blue bottle tree is based on an old African tradition to ward off "evil spirits", with the evil spirits being trapped inside the blue bottles, and providing some measure of protection to the homeowners.

The gate to the back property called Bernie's Gate after the friend who built it.

So lovely.
The  special rose garden will soon be full of beautiful roses with lovely scents. Catherine was a sweet fragrance of beauty in our lives and is sorely missed.

Buckeye plant native to Alabama and the southeast.

Would you believe there is so much more to see?

 Joan adds, "that their garden and all of nature really, feeds her soul." When I walk through it and see God's creation in the flowers and shining through the sun dappled trees I immediately think of the song, Hallelujah by Chris Rice." View it here.

The love and passion for this beautiful garden shines through.
I know you can see how talented and knowledgable Dale and Joan are. They are very special friends of mine. Thank you Joan and Dale for allowing me to share your garden. It was indeed a pleasure for all of us.

Blessings to you today, Bonnie