Rockin' Admiral!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)March 18, 2013

I saw the first red admiral of the season on a rocking chair on the front porch - I love the way they perch upside down!
Red admirals are usually the first caterpillars of the season, and the false nettles are making new growth from the bottom. With the temps at 82 degrees today, they'll probably grow quickly and, hopefully, be tall enough to support cats. Of course, I don't even know if this is even an egg-bearing female, but I sure hope so!
You told me to get out that camera, Tony, so I made this picture just for you! :)


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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

woo hoo, Sherry. What a beautiful butterfly.

Now I have to go see if they might also frequent my area.

I have yet to notice a (any) butterfly here. I have one BST that is still in his little chrysalis. He's been outside on the deck under the eave since last fall. Keeping my fingers crossed he/she emerges soon.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:44PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hmmm.....only one of my black swallowtail chrysalides has emerged so far this spring, Mary. I was wondering if there was something wrong with them, but they all look healthy, have good color. I guess it's just the peculiarity of black swallowtails!

Spring will officially be here in a couple of days, so maybe you'll start seeing some butterflies, then. I haven't seen that many myself.

I'm working outside every day 'til my bones ache. I've planted some new plants, including my new orange-flowering butterfly bush 'Orange Septre.' I'd been wanting that one for a while, but have just now ordered and planted it. New plants are always exciting!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:32AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Oooh, Orange Septre sounds nice. Where did you order this plant? I'll be waiting to see and hear how it performs in your garden. I placed an order with Almost Eden last evening. Like you, I'm pushing the gardening. Body doesn't cooperate like it used to.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:49AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)


After reading up on the Red Armiral BF, it would appear they have a very broad range. Ordered some false nettle seed and will try to grow a cluster of these plants and see if I might encourage a Red Admiral to drop by my garden! I only have a small garden so won't have room for more than a grouping of plants but it will be fun to try. One website I visited showed a grouping of four false nettle plants the gardener had carefully pruned to look like a medium sized bush. It had a lot of tender growing tips for mama Red Admiral to use for egg laying. This is what I'll shoot for.

We had a few days/nights of warm temps, but then a series of cold storms began arriving here. These colder temps are more what I'd expect here this time of year but I see spring bulbs up and blooming so it won't take much change to warmer temps to really get things going. I wish I had room for different varieties of Butterfly bush. The butterflies really love the blooms. I took out a Black Knight because it just took up too much room. This leaves me with one White Profusion and three Blue Nano.

Please keep sharing with us all the beautiful creatures you're able to attract to your gardens. I so enjoy the photos and descriptions and learn so much from you.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:14AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, Mary! I like taking their picture!
Red admirals do indeed have a wide range, I think it covers most if not all of the country. False nettles are attractive plants in my opinion, and they're VERY easy to grow, provided you don't let them dry out. Mine are growing in the drain field of our septic tank, and they really thrive there. I also planted some cardinal flowers at the other end of the lines where it stays equally damp. My big button bush grows there, too.

Sandy, I got mine from Plant Delights. It was more than I really wanted to pay for a butterfly bush, but hey, you only go around once! So I ordered it. I went ahead and planted it, because it was pot bound and needed to be planted. It's growing, and the leaves look a lot like 'Ellen's Blue' leaves, have that velvety look to them. I'll keep everybody posted as to how it does, and how much or little the butterflies like it. I've also planted the the tall-growing Costa Rican form of Salvia guaranitica in the same bed, and two S. jamensis with yellow blooms sort of at their feet.
I also ordered an Aristolochia debilis from Plant Delights to plant in a small bed across from there. I'll let y'all know how it does and whether or not pipevine swallowtails use and thrive on it. The A. tomentosas that grow on that side are deteriorating a bit. The A. tomentosas on the other side of the garden have continued to spread so that now they cover that entire side. They're making new growth now.
I released another female pipevine swallowtail yesterday. I only have one more PVS chrysalis, so I'm hoping it's a male, and he'll emerge soon.
The other butterfly that typically lays eggs early is the American lady. The cudweed is just getting started, though.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:20PM
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The range of the Red Admiral is holarctic, meaning most of the entire northern hemisphere, world-wide.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:10PM
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Tony G(5a)

Thanks Sherry,

It's 7 degrees here right now so I appreciate your butterfly photos even more!

Funny RA story: Last summer I was eating dinner on our picnic table. There was an RA nectaring on a potted plant on the flew down by onto my plate, crawled to the baked bean and started sucking up bean juice with its proboscis. Of all the times NOT to have my camera! :) Tony

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:23PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hehehe!!! I've never heard of a butterfly nectaring on bean juice! :)


    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:36PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There was a red admiral, maybe the one in the above picture, hanging around the false nettles today. Maybe I'll be finding cat nests soon!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:18PM
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