More sunlight now,more open,better Butterfly habitat...

dragonflydeeFebruary 9, 2014

Thank goodness my husband's brother has decided to cut a large number
Of pine timber directly across the road.The loggers have been working right
In front of our house,and I can watch them from the large picture window
Downstairs.They should be thru in Feb.I am going over there and scatter
All the seed I can in the right places since sunlight is pouring in already!
Now,this is not clear-cutting.It wll just provide more open space for Eastern
Woodland Butterfies.There wll be sun now for more wildflowers.
I have not desided yet what to do abt Fennel,but I am leaning toward
Setting in a new bed larger than my old bed was using healthy,well-grown
Transplants from the local sources and net them the first season to grow
Until the Fall brood Blk Swallowtail females show up here(one or more
Always does).This has worked for me in the past.A bed like that will last
Longer because the Fennel winters here well(usually)eventually reseeds
And starts more plants.I have never eaten the huge bulbs Gardeners
Usually grow them for.What do they taste like?
Oh,abt the Buckeyes!We had lots of Buckeyes,lots of rain and the Foxglove
Made a huge stand in the power line clearing across the road.Also,the
Roadside right of way was covered with all sorts of fennel,grasses,vervain
And more due to so much rain.Mid-summer a contractor truck arrived I
Watched them walk abt spraying but they were just targeting clumps of
Young Sweetgum trees...that sort of thing.They do it to keep the fast growing
Trees and shrubs from reaching the power lines .They seemed to be careful
Not to just get the spray all over everything.Anyway after they left I walked
Over and inspected the plants the cats were on.I took over a dozen cats
Back across the road,and put them in tanks raising half on foxglove
Collected on the spray site and the other half on Foxglove from our side
That did not get sprayed.All these cats went all the way to emerge safe and
Flying well.They hung around the back yard sunning,exploring and then moved on down the road where more Foxglove was growing.The Buckeyes
Were to be seen sitting in the road,breeding,and mingling with lots of other
Butterflies that like dirt roads,sun,and grassy roadside flowers.
This was just a little field experiment.I am not a chemist and searching for
More subtle long term damage.Later I went back over the spray site and
The clumps of young trees were dead.They were withered and brown,
The color of Burnt Umber.All Fennel,Foxglove,and green field grasses
We're the same for abt 3 feet out surrounding the clumps.
This is not going to stop.We are probably just going to have to continue
To work around it.

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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

I don't usually like to make posts like this, so please don't take it critically.

I have a lot of trouble reading your posts due to the formatting. The content is always very interesting. But, on both my computer and tablet it appears as one long line of text with the first letter of each line capitalized as if it was a new sentence. The lack of paragraphs and extra capitalization makes it hard to read. Perhaps it is a setting on whatever device you are using to post?

I'm only bringing it up because I'm sure I am not the only one having trouble reading it, and you may get more responses if it was easier to read. Again, I mean no offense. I do enjoy your posts, I just have to read them very slowly and still get goofed up sometimes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:19PM
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I am not at all offended.I post on a IPad,and it does reformat.
Thanks for the advice.What I can do is write shorter sentences,and
Try to stop sprinkling caps!
Also,the post should have been divided among more than one
Message block instead of so much info crammed into one!
Bad composition!!!
I agree LOL
I promise to try to do better,and that I am not on stimulants!!!
Thanks again for your post

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:57PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

I don't have an iPad, but if the text input is similar to many word processors it may be set-up to capitalize after any return under the assumption it is a new paragraph. If you are hitting enter frequently instead of letting it word wrap automatically that may be the problem. Just a hunch though.

The foxglove you are talking about with the buckeyes isn't digitalis is it? I ask because buckeyes are kind of rare here, but I have seen them a few times. So of course I immediately started looking for host plants for them. I didn't remember digitalis on the lists, but I do have some already. I also have plantain weeds, snapdragons, and verbena hastata. Haven't had any eggs yet, but maybe I am too far north.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:55PM
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That wildflower grows here very well.My outdated guide calls it Gerardia
But I call It "False Foxglove".
Sherry knows the plant by another name.The plant is not the poisonous

Buckeye cats will feed on this plant here in all locations I have ever
Found if moisture is available.They do seem to like sun.They will
Flower here in the fall.

Since you are so far north I can't give much advice,but the plant is
Pretty tough.The cats do seem to eat the little threadlike leaves
All up pretty quick!

Thanks for your advice abt my posting.
I think it was probably great relief to the Hot Topics forum!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:25PM
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You can also grow Snapdragons for Buckeyes. They are related to False Foxglove and the caterpillars find them tasty.
Fennel is also excellent for attracting Black Swallowtails.
Try also growing some Pipevine, some Passion Vine and maybe a Spicebush. For trees, you can have Black Cherry and Pawpaw. You will get a whole variety of Swallowtails with this list of hosts. And of course, native Milkweed for the Monarch Butterfly.
Also, you can grow false nettle, Everlasting and Pussytoes (not Pussy Willow) for your Red Admiral and American Lady.
Thistles and Hollyhocks in the background for the Painted Lady.
Nectar is a whole new story. I can't begin to guess native or naturalized nectar sources to Alabama, but the plants listed above are good for Hosts.
I would research other nectar sources for your region as well, but Milkweed is always a great nectar source for a lot of butterflies, as well as being the Monarch's host.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:58PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Isn't it wonderful getting more sun? I've had lots of treework done (mostly Norway maples and thinning), and my lot has gone from mostly shade to partial shade. I want more sun! I have a plan with my tree guy to take down the last huge Norway maple in my yard as soon as the snow melts (we have about 2 feet right now). I can't wait to get rid of that thing and grow more stuff. :-D

I grow bronze fennel and it doesn't produce the bulb. That is "Florence fennel" and it's a cultivar of Foeniculum vulgare that has an enlarged bulb. It is similar to celery but has a mild sweet licorice taste. I cook them with brussel sprouts and carrots, or other winter veggies.

It sounds like the pesticide applicator is targeting the woody plants. Hopefully he won't hit the host plants. Next time you see the sprayer, I would go over and ask him about the herbicide. Probably Triclopyr or 2-4-d. I think they kill broad leaf plants but not grasses?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:19PM
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