Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hobomok Skipper Butterfly

 I saw a few of these Hobomok skipper butterflies feeding on some of the flowers this afternoon. A quick check online led me to believe they were Mulberry Wing skippers, but a further ckeck showed me my mistake.  They are very similar, but the pattern on the wing is slightly different. The Mulberry Wing has a light yellow "airplane" on the wing.

The Hobomok skippers are small butterflies that are only about 1" wide, and they flit quickly from plant to plant. This one is on purple calibrachoa .

This photo gives a better view of the wing pattern. Also, they have really big black eyes that somehow look like they are too far back on their heads.  
The centaurea is just starting to bloom but the little butterflies like it so perhaps they will stay around for a while.
They definitely liked the calibrachoa though, diving in head first.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cecropia Moth

 This gorgeous Cecropia moth was on our back deck yesterday morning. It's about 5" across. The reddish parts are more orangey in real life.  What a handsome fellow! It is a male because his antenna are wide and feathery.

(Click on photo for full width)The design is so intricate and beautiful. I particularly like the white dusting on the upper part of the forewings, the zigzagging white line from the wing tip to the black "eye" , and the wavy border lines. We haven't seen a cecropia moth in several years so it was a treat to have one show up.  The caterpillar eats maple, cherry and birch so it has food in our bush. Check out Wiki's article on it for a very good photo gallery of its life stages.  The mature caterpillar is a hoot - green with multicoloured dots and spikes, and blue feet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Belted Galloways

 A herd of belted Galloway cattle enjoying the fresh pasture.

Funny how they have the white belt around their middles.  If Holsteins are blotchy, why are Galloways banded?

The red and white ones are unusual and considered special.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mixing It Up

 So many of the native plants are attractive and interesting that I like to include them in the garden.  Here a Jack-in-the-pulpit is nestled  between brunnera and pulmonaria.

Ornamental onions like the heavy soil on our property, and these ones are blooming even in the shade of hardwoods.  Behind them is Solomon's seal, a wild plant, although not one that grows naturally in our area .
Ferns are always lovely. I transplanted these ones to grow near the low stone wall.

I like this collection (Bishop's cap, native white violet, green brunnera, variegated brunnera) because they are all quite similar in form and grow to the same height, but they also vary in colour and texture.

One of the challenges of gardening on a wooded lot is that if you don't watch out you will end up with great patches of wild raspberries and blackberries on the border between the trees and the open area.  That would be OK if they were a source of fruit, but normally the little fruit they produce is eaten by wasps, birds and squirrels, so you just end up with a very ugly, scratchy spot.In this area, I have tried to create a mid-height ground cover of tightly spaced plants.  In the foreground, a tree peony has leafed out next to some Silver Dollar.  In the background, pulmonaria, brunnaria, beebalm, hostas, Solomon seal, false Solomon's seal, columbine do a pretty good job of keeping the brambles at bay.
Sometimes a single shot of colour is all that's needed to brighten up a predominantly green spot.  This little garden includes native trillium, foam flower, ginger, yellow violet , merrybells as well as the trusty hosta and brunnera.

Friday, May 22, 2015


 I know I was being a bit rash to plant as early as I did, but the plants have been doing so well and usually I don't get frost on our property after the first week in May.  The tomatoes are blooming, the lettuce is flourishing and the little cantaloupe plants have been soaking up the sun.  Alas, tonight they are calling for frost, and I think even our spot in the woods will be hit because it really feels cold outside. Well, I'm not going to go down without a fight.  Under the tarp are cucumbers and a tomato plant that already have plastic cloches over them. I also tucked some flower pots under there. My other tomatoes are similarly double-covered.
 The garbage cans are covering the cloched cantaloupes. I really hope they survive because I can't replace them at the garden centre.

Geraniums and statice under the floating row cover. Don't know how much protection that will give them but they can be replaced.  The nicotiana is a little hardy so I hope it will still be standing in the morning.

The morning after:

A slightly bent but very much alive tomato.  

Even these zinnias that weren't covered are fine, so I guess it never dipped quite below freezing although it must have been very, very close.  Tomorrow it will be 25C.  No wonder we are obsessed with weather forecasts in Canada.  You never know what the day will bring.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Down By The Water

 Sometimes we get a take-out supper and drive down to the St. Lawrence to enjoy the water.  It's not really clean enough to swim in, but it's still nice to get the view across the water.  This evening it was very still, and the river looked more like a large lake than a river with a strong current.

 Happy weeds.

A cement jetty runs out for a little way into the river, and some people do fish from it, but personally I wouldn't want to eat fish caught there.

 Looking west.  The water is so calm even the island is reflected in it.

The water almost looks frozen.

Riverside property with boats ready to go.

Blue view

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Even Bees Get Tired

 Even bees get tired.  This bee had a good rest on the petunia.
We've had lots of bumblebees around enjoying the pulmonaria and other flowers.

 Unusual verbena.

   The apple trees are just full of blossoms this year. 

 This pair of geese has been hanging around a lot in this field.  I guess they have a nest, and soon we'll see the babies.

It is SO green everywhere.  Eye-popping green. Wonderful.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


(Photos from last year) Since daylilies are so easy to grow, I have accumulated a few varieties over the years. The first one I planted many years ago is the naturalized orange daylily that grows in the ditches around here.  I dug a couple of chunks out of a patch, and they have always bloomed well with no fuss or bother. The only down side is that the bloom time is shorter than new varieties.

This is Little Business which blooms mid-season and has striking burnt red petals.  It's a little taller than the d'Oros.

I find that the colour of Strawberry Candy varies with the weather.  Sometimes it's quite a dull pinky purple, and other times it has a better pink colour.  It always has an inner ring of a darker shade.  The plants are very sturdy.

Black-eyed Stella d'Oro is my best performer with the lots and lots of blooms early in the season and giving me a bit of repeat blooming later in the summer.  It is mid-size and a vigorous grower.
Purple d'Oro, which you don't see for sale that much, has quite variable colour depending on rain and temperature.  Sometimes it looks almost identical to Strawberry Candy.  It blooms around the same time as Little Business. I would be happier if the colour was more purpley and more consistent.
Stella D'oro is the quintessential reblooming daylily.  It is quite short and , in full sun, will give lots of flowers.  They are more orangey yellow than this photo.  The flowers have thick petals that can stand up to hard rain .

Pandora's Box has nice ruffley edges to the petals and an unusual colour pattern.  I've only had it for 2 years so I'm not sure how vigorous the plants will be.  I don't think it will be a match for the O'ros, but it is interesting.

Happy Returns is also a new one to me, but already it is spreading.  The flowers are a lovely lemony yellow.  It is definitely a favourite.
This year I have planted Pardon Me, a rich red one.  We'll see how it grows.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Delightfully Diminutive

 Many of the spring flowers are small, but beautiful.  The delicate flowers of brunnera are a very pretty true blue that I really like.

 The bleeding heart is starting to bloom - another one of my favourite flowers.

 Bleeding heart bordered by brunnera and fronted by forget-me-not.  Unfortunately the camera has a hard time doing justice to the little flowers so they get lost in the green.

 Sweet forget-me-nots.

 The bleeding heart leaves look almost tropical.

 Primulas don't always make it through our winters, so it's a treat when I get to enjoy a survivor.

 Bishop's hat (Epimedium) is a funny plant with flying flowers attached to wiry stems.  They move in the slightest breeze like little mobiles.

 More pretty primulas.

And another photo of brunnera because soon it will have finished blooming, and I will have to wait until next spring to enjoy it again.