Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Day for Critters

Monarch on Zinnia

It was an all-dayer in the garden getting caught up from being away last week. When I walked out the door this morning at 7:30 it was my intention to do a few things around the garden and be finished around noon. After all it is miserably hot these days and one would be crazy to work all day in this heat.

Skipper? I can't settle on an ID for this one. Any one?

Turns out there was not a good stopping point and it was after 6:00 when I put my tools away. During the day I kept seeing so many butterflies and critters. Finally I thought to start taking some photos. In the end there was quite a variety- all in my garden - all today.

Not sure what this tiny fellow might be. Have never seen one that I know of... Couldn't even tell it had the unique orange stripe until I looked at the photo... with the naked eye the whole bug appeared to be light tan. It flies quickly and is so small on the leaf of the indigo spire it almost looked like a speck.

Another Monarch on Zinnia

This poor little hairstreak has been tattered and lost its red spot. I think it is a Gray Hairstreak. Funny thing about battle-marked wings is you know when you are seeing the same butterfly later. A few hours after this shot, this very same butterfly was on this very same coneflower. I found that interesting.

A very small --about 1/4 of an inch-- green grasshopper. I wonder how big this type gets and how much damage they are responsible for???? These are not the kind I seek and destroy... I came across no less that 6 of these Easter Lubber variety today. They are 3-4 inches long and can take down an entire Amaryllis or coleus or amazon lily... the list goes on... in no time. I have no mercy on them when once spotted with my grasshopper seeking eyes.
One of my favorites the White Peacock Butterfly. It is particularly unique looking backlit here by the sunshine. Prior to landing on the confederate jasmine it had been checking out the vegetable garden in the same area.

There were also black swallowtail, giant swallowtail and cassius blues in my garden today but no luck with photos.
Gulf Fritillary on - of all things- a butterfly bush-- butterflies really do love butterfly plants. I love to watch these guys flit around in pairs... they seem to dance on the air together and then separately find different landings.

Viewer's Warning: No More Pretty Stuff
I had my camera in hand walking from the back to the front when Hubby turned my attention to the black racer coming out of the bushes over the black hose. It stopped its slithering to stare me down before turning back to the bushes it had come from. I hope it finds all the bad crawly thingies (read: Eastern Lubber grasshoppers) and eats them promptly. Mr. Racer, did you happen to notice the tree frog below? ...

No kidding... as I slammed the side garage door shut at days' end... this very creepy-looking tree frog fell onto my shoulder with a thud that made me let out a shreaky-girl-scream... then I got my camera. Always go for the photo.

I'm still working on the vacation post that will be old news by the time I get it finished. Bear with me... it's coming.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swallowtail Butterflies Finally Found the Parsley

A brief interruption in our series of posts featuring vacation fun to share this important and exciting discovery.

A few posts back we featured this potted container arrangement. As you can see there is a parsley plant spilling over one side. There is also a parsley plant spilling over the raised beds in the veggie garden (shown below). Both were planted back in March and have produced some very lush herbs for use in the kitchen. But my main intent was to attract the egg laying of swallowtail butterflies.

The first thing I did arriving home from my trip to North Carolina was to take a walk around to see how the garden was doing. Much to my delight the swallowtail butterflies I'd seen landing here and there all spring finally produced some caterpillars on the parsley plants. I've counted about ten all together.
Each day we'll check on them to watch their progress.