A gathering place for the Art of Gardening and Natures Beauty

Gardens of Etsy is a gathering space for artisans and friends.
A viewing point for natures beauty.
A place for inspiration.
We fill our gardens with not only plants and love but enhance them with our arts and crafts.
We bring the outdoors in by filling our homes with our nature inspired works of art.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Lotus experiment.........continued

Part one -

Here's an update on my experiment over the summer, growing a lotus from a seed.
I had placed the 8 lotus sprouts in pots in different places, 5 went in my pond and two on my deck in a tub.
Well it turns out, the ones placed in the pond had a ever so slight trickle of water near them from a nearby water fall and in less than a week, the 5 baby lotus plants here did not survive :(
They definitely must be placed in STILL water.
Out of the two plants I placed in the tub on my deck, one perished ? and one flourished!

Here it is in late August ~

It even had a resident frog all summer long :)

The plant that survived ended up with 12 floating leaves and 5 standing leaves.
They were a Gorgeous blue/green. Such a cool leaf, totally waterproof, any droplet of water on them would just roll right off.

.... Late October now.... getting frost here in New York, so I needed to decide weather to bring it into the basement or place in the bog that was ready. After much research, others have been successful leaving them out in my zone, so I decided I would be planting it right in the bog.
We lifted the pot out and to my surprise there were shoots of roots up to 15 inches long that found their way out of the 4 holes in the bottom of the pot. The plant was totally root bound. Now I see how they can become evasive in a pond.

I decided to cut the pot as to try not to disturb the plant in any way.
(My husband so nicely did this part for me).

The bog I created is 18 inches deep filled with a mixture of soil and peat moss. I left 3 inches of room on the top for water to sit. It took the two of us to plant it with our arms totally immersed in mud. Had a lot of fun with it!

My finished Bog ~

So far so good. It loves it there!
Even in these cold temps down to 40 degrees, new shoots were emerging in the last two weeks. Fingers crossed.

Next to the lotus I placed a water iris in a pot for now.

In this last picture in the left lower corner, you can see the money plant sprouts from the seeds Julie from willowtreepottery sent me. Reaserch for my zone said to plant the seeds in Late Summer. They are doing wonderfully and will be a Beautiful backdrop for the bog. Thanks again Julie for the seeds and your awesome bog idea. It has been a wonderful adventure.
Here are the links to Julie's bog blog ~

I am counting the days till spring :)
to be continued.........................................

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to care butterfly cycle

I have been working on making a Butterfly Garden in my yard since 2009. I have seen 28 kinds of butterfly in the garden this year!!! The most important part of my butterfly garden is making a good environment for a butterfly's life cycle. Two kinds of butterflies, Black Swallowtail and Wild Indigo Dusckywing, laid eggs and spent their cycle in my garden this year! When I found butterfly larvae, I put them into an insect cage or surrounded the plants where I found the larvae with chicken wire and covered the wire with mesh fabric like this picture.

This is an Indigo blue plant. I couldn't bring Wild Indigo Dusckywing larvae into insect cage, because I had only one plant. I didn't have enough to feed them in the cage constantly. That's why I decided to leave them outside and use the wire and fabric.
Ten or more Wild Indigo pupae turned into butterflies!

I need to protect the butterfly larvae because I'm feeding birds in my yard. Butterfly larvae can't survive without protections in my yard.

Black Swallowtail laid eggs on my husband Fennel and Parsley. Fortunately, we had enough plants to feed the larvae in a insect cage. I put the larvae into the cage, and took care of them until they tuned into butterflies. :)
I'm going to share what I learned from taking care of Black Swallowtail.

This Black Swallowtail is laying eggs on a parsley plant.

The egg is the tiny white spot on the leaf in the middle of the picture.

I learned that Black Swallowtail larva has five instars. An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each molt, until sexual maturity is reached.

  This is not good picture, but you can see how small first instar stage of the larva is.

Look at the small black larva. This is the second instar stage. A white line appeared on the center of the body.

Third instar stage. A lot of horns appeared on it's back.

Fourth instar stage. Body color turned green. You still see the horns on it's back

Fifty instar stage. The horns disappeared. It's almost ready to turn into a pupa.

It's about to turn into a pupa.  There is a fine silk line surrounding the body and the branch.

These are two differently colored Black Swallowtail pupae.


The Black Swallowtail pupae may be green or brown, but not depending on surroundings or what they have pupated on. The color of the chrysalis is determined by a local genetic balance that ensures the majority of pupae will blend in.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar has an orange "forked gland", called the osmeterium. When in danger the osmeterium, which looks like a snake's tongue, and releases a foul smell to repel predators. I saw the osmeterium on even first instar stage of larva.

I had six Black Swallowtail pupae, and only one pupa turned into a butterfly. 

 This is a female. Her right tail is not open completely yet. 
She took a rest a while on my hand until her wings completely open.

If you take care of butterfly cycle, you can have them climb on your hand!!! I did same thing with Wild Indigo Dusckywing. That was awesome!

Kentucky, where I live, got cold weather in September, so most pupae couldn't turn into butterflies. However, a Garden Club member (I belong to Glasgow Garden Club in KY) told me that Black Swallowtail pupa can over winter, and they can turn into a butterfly. I'll keep my pupae in the garage until next spring. I look forward to seeing that my pupae turn into butterflies next spring. :)

I'm sharing my butterfly pictures, which I took in my garden, on my Facebook page. If you are interested in which butterflies you can see in my garden, search "hummingbird_kj2010@yahoo.com" on Facebook, and please send a friend request. :) My Facebook page is not published to all people.