Rare Find at the H. Olive Day Butterfly Garden
It is not often that you find a Monarch chrysalis in the wild, but that is exactly what Stephanie Markham spotted while gardening at our ACE butterfly garden. Butterflies have four stages of life: egg, larva (the caterpillar stage), pupa (the chrysalis phase in a butterfly’s development), and adult. According to Madeline Champagne, past president of the Mass. Butterfly Club, a female Monarch laid her egg on a milkweed leaf probably in late May at the H. Olive Day Butterfly Garden. The egg hatched into baby caterpillars, called the larvae, and they fed on our common milkweed leaves in order to grow. After about two weeks, a fully-grown caterpillar found a place on our honeysuckle vine to attach itself. It then started the process of metamorphosis and transformed itself into a chrysalis. Madeline told us it is not a common occurrence to find a chrysalis in the wild. She has only found two in the past 25+ years, one at Stony Brook and one at Mass Audubon’s Allen’s Pond in Westport.
The chrysalis phase lasts about ten days. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar undergo a transformation to become an adult butterfly. We did not see it emerge, but found the empty chrysalis (shown above). The adult Monarch flew away and will feed on flowers for about two to six weeks. The female will then die after laying eggs for next generation. We hope she will return to our butterfly garden. We have plenty of milkweed ready for her to laid her eggs on.
Congratulation to the Garden Club of Norfolk!
It was presented with three awards at the annual Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts meeting in June.
- Small Garden Club Award for “Save an Heirloom Plant”Contest – a $50.00 gift certificate to Weston Nursery
- Garden Therapy Certificate for our series of garden therapy workshops with the residents at Maples Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wrentham
- Margaret K. Bell Newsletter Award
TOWER HILL BOTANIC GARDEN PASSES The Friends of the Norfolk Library have funded half price passes for admission to Tower Hill Botanic Garden for 2 persons. They are available at the library or can be reserved on their online link.
July Gardening Tips by Neal Sanders
In the vegetable garden, early hard work is finally paying off with more than lettuce and radishes. Peas and swiss chard should be ready for your 4th of July dinner, early beets can be pulled along with baby carrots (a good way to thin the bed, if you haven’t already). High heat will cause spring crops to bolt so pick now and share the bounty.
Empty water from saucers under plants after rains. It’s never a good idea to allow a plant to sit in even a small amount of water. Clean and refill birdbaths every two or three days. Empty anything else that may have sat out in the rain and collected water. Mosquitoes take just a week to go from egg to hungry biter
If you missed your Father’s Day pruning of plants such as chrysanthemum and asters, do it now and then again a week or so after the 4th of July. This leads to later flowers, but bushier plants with more blooms and a tidier habit. You can cut back balloon flower (Plactycodon) and bee balm (Monarda), dianthus, coneflower (Echinacea), foxglove (Digitalis), Helenium, and veronica. By pinching or trimming back one or two leaf sets of the plants at the front. You’ll get an early bloom from the untouched stems at the rear and a later, bushier bloom from the remainder. It will your garden blooming stronger, longer.
Columbines are many gardeners favorite early summer plants. They are not long-lived plants, but they are generous with their seed. When the flowers are done, cut back most, but not all of the seed heads. That way you’ll know that you will have more next year, and if they don’t always appear exactly where you want them, they transplant easily.
Your tomatoes, squash and melons will take off with the heat of July. Remember that corn uses a lot of nitrogen. Give it an application of nitrogen fertilizer (urea, fish emulsion, not milorganite on vegetables) after it reaches knee-high. Keep up with the weeds: they deprive your plants of everything they need—sun, space, water and nutrients.
June’s rains have washed nutrients out of the containers you planted in May. Adding a diluted liquid fertilizer will ensure that your plants keep growing/blooming into the fall. The more recently planted the container, the less likely you will need additional feedings. Many gardeners prefer weekly doses of diluted liquid fertilizer to the long-term pellets. That way you get to base the amount of food you give the containerized plants on the recent growing conditions.
If you are planning to go away for any period of time this summer, remember new trees, shrubs and perennials will need regular, deep watering throughout the summer and fall months to establish good root systems. Consider setting up drip hoses on timers or use ‘tree gators’ to ensuring the water continues to get where it is needed. Use rain gauges attached to the system to prevent wasting water (and overwatering plants) if we continue to get regular rains.