Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joy in Volunteering with ENG Native Gardening.

One of the blessings and bonuses of volunteer work with the Edmonton Naturalization Group is not only learning about Native plant species but also seeing first hand nature at it finest. The Low Milkweed is pretty well eaten and I heard mention that someone counted 71 Monarch Caterpillars, wow, that a bountiful blessing. Most of the caterpillars have left to find safe place to morph so hopefully in a few weeks time there will be many more Monarchs flitting about.
 Monarch Caterpillar  munching down on Low Milkweed.
 Monarch Butterfly sipping on Meadow Blazing Star. 
We just put a few of these in our Native garden this week, I just love the curly blossoms.
Top view of Meadow Blazing Star.
Natures many blessings is the variety of colors and shapes.

Yellow on yellow,  Gaillardia and Meadow Arnica.
We put in an Arnica  plant near our native sunflowers but the torrential rains and hail we received
destroyed the plant on its first night in the garden, sigh!

Giant Hyssops, looking like glorious mauve fringe waving in the breeze at the ENG Garden plot.
The seeds are prolific so there are plenty of little plants self starting in our Native Garden where we planted some last fall. I don't mind as they will help fill the bare spots and the bees and bumblebees seem to love them. As an added bonus I'm told they are from the mint family and can be used for tea. I will have to look that up.

Smooth  Camus

 Western Wild Bergamot

Canada Goldenrod
I read that we have been mislead in believing that pollen from this plant causes hay-fever, apparently the pollen is heavy and not easily airborne. 

I found a well-loved book at a library sale on wildflowers across the prairies by F.R. Vance, J.R. Jowsey and J.S. Mclean. The pages are all separated from the binding though luckily for me amazingly all the pages are accounted for. This book is great for learning to identify some of our native plants.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ted Talks

I came across this very amazing talk about what chemicals are doing to amphibians and our children. Its well worth watching.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Monarchs and Milkweed

 Indian Paintbrush


Hubby and I volunteer with the Edmonton Naturalization Group where he gets to weed and as I cannot, I get to spend my time taking photos of the beautiful Native Alberta plants which has inspired me to complete five small paintings. (to view the other three click on sandhill crane image in the sidebar)

The fascinating most enjoyable happenings is not only learning about native species but also learning about those who depend on Native plants. I learned that Monarch Butterflies lay eggs on Low Milkweed. Are they not absolutely beautiful!
 Monarch Butterfly caterpillars doing what they must, which is eating the leaves of Low Milkweed plants. Did you know that Milkweed is the only food source for the caterpillars?
 The blossoms of the Low Milkweed are beautiful as well. The plant contains a poison that transfers to the larvae and hence to the butterfly so that birds who get a mouthful of the pretty yellow and black caterpillars get a distasteful surprise and quickly learn to avoid them.
We transplanted a couple Low Milkweed into our Native Garden and Gerald found a caterpillar on one plant that did not take so he rescued it and placed it on another plant and lo-behold the plant is now sporting holes, yahoo. Who ever thought one would be excited that their plants are being eaten by bugs. I sure hope our lone caterpillar survives and is able to make the transformation to Monarch butterfly.
Out at the Naturalization garden a few weeks back Monarchs fluttered about but they were too fast for me to capture. I was informed the Low Milkweed was planted three years ago and this is the first year they have had Monarchs there, and the bonus is there are about seventy feasting caterpillars, oh joy. I hope to go photograph the larvae again on friday if its sunny. May you all have a wonderful week and take time to think about what your local native species depend on to survive.