Monday, July 31, 2017

Eight types of colored sunflowers


Sunflowers make me happy!  Do you remember this tablescape using sunflowers I did last year?

 I had no idea there were so many kinds of sunflowers. FTD has the most wonderful blog and talented people that work for them. 

I am happy to share a great article and resource about sunflowers from FTD. Be sure to pin for future reference when you open their guide.

Nothing represents summer quite like the sunflower! They are known for the golden hue of their petals that match the suns beautiful rays. However, despite popular belief, not all sunflowers possess this bright yellow color they are so well known for! To help you better understand the different kinds of colored sunflowers, FTD has created a guide that goes over the eight most popular colored types and their names. From creamy mustard to deep red wine, here is a visual guide to the fifteen of the most beautiful sunflowers and eight of the most popular types of colored sunflowers. 

 After viewing the guide,  tell me if you have planted any of these types of sunflowers in your garden? 

You might also enjoy reviewing a guide from FTD on hydrangeas I shared last year here.
Weren't these great resources?

Have a wonderful week.

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.
Caterpillars outgrow their skin a number of times. Each stage is known as an instar (looks like bird droppings) and they have five of these stages. You can see an instar ( larval stage of growth) at the top right of this picture. Next time I find eggs I hope to photograph the instar stages. When they molt or shed their skin they eat the discarded skin.

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 😃🐛 
"Finally, I am a butterfly" can be viewed here.

 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