Today I had a marvelous time with the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs at their annual meeting, which was held at Mohican State Park Lodge. They asked for a program on attracting critters into one's yard with native plants. That happens to be my favorite topic!
The program ended up entitled Native Plants Add Drama
. Believe me, they do! I can hang out all day taking pictures and following the birds, butterflies and mammalian wildlife around in my yard. It is an ongoing circus, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This saying from "The Wild Ones" tells the tale best. IF you don't have action in your yard, you need to re-think your plants and your chemical usage. One of my most requested programs is Butterflies as Bioindicators. If your yard is healthy and chemical free you should be seeing butterflies.
|Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor philenor|
The latest hatch in my yard was Pipevine Swallowtails. But before one can have these lovely insects, you must have their host plant. I believe my pipevine is Aristolochia tomentosa.
Good thing I planted one several years ago and it now festoons the side of my barn.
|Prickly-ash, Zanthoxylum americanum in seed|
Another unusual plant on my property is the Prickly-ash. It occurs naturally along the edge of my woodlot, and is the host plant for Giant Swallowtails. Imagine my surprise when I realized there was already a well established population right in my own yard!
|Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphones|
These seven inch beauties have two broods each year. The early spring brood loves to nectar on my Azalea plants, and the second brood heads for the Purple Coneflowers. I also had a Giant nectaring on a Common Milkweed a week or so ago. It is important to cultivate milkweed for Monarchs, but other species of butterflies and bees will use milkweed too. It is a staple in my home's habitat and vital to Monarch conservation.
Thursday Aug. 21th at 7:00 pm I will be previewing a program Midwestern Monarchs at the Gorman Nature Center
in Mansfield. I will also give this program for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Conservation Symposium- The Point of No Return
- on Sept. 5th. They have a stellar line up for that event, and I encourage you to go the notice in the side panel of this blog, and follow the link to register. There is a lot of information on Monarchs that has slipped past the general public and I hope you will join me for one of these programs.