September 2, 2014
The Michigan DNR page on Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) says:
Often called the Milkweed Butterfly, this large black veined orange winged butterfly can be observed feeding on milkweed. During its mating behavior, the adult male monarch will display a “courtship dance.” Perching on the tips of the milkweed, it will fly to other large butterflies to see if one is a female monarch; if it is, they will fly together in a fast, darting flight, lasting up to a minute and covering many yards and to a height of 100 feet.
As fall approaches, the monarchs can be seen in large numbers migrating along the Great Lakes shorelines enroute to Mexico and Central America.
Monarch butterfly populations have been declining in Michigan for the last decade, and it appears that last winter was another tough blow for this beleaguered beauty. You can learn a lot more about Monarch butterflies and how to help protect them at Monarch Watch.
August 2, 2014
Here’s hoping that whatever you stand for, you stand proud & strong! Enjoy your weekend folks!!
June 10, 2014
While lilacs are starting to wind down around the state, they’re just getting going on Mackinac Island. The annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival started last weekend and continues through Sunday, June 15th. Here’s a few tips courtesy the Lilac Festival and Jeff Young, Lilac Curator at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center, Master Gardener and presenter of the “Walk and Talk with Lilacs” program during the Lilac Festival.
- Common Lilacs need to have 9-12 canes for each 6 feet
- Leave at least 2 feet between mature Lilacs.
- Plant new shrubs 16 feet apart (circular shape)
- Allow for a few more canes if you are planting as a hedge with less depth.
- If you have too many canes, consider the oldest canes for removal first, leaving good spacing between canes.
- If not enough canes, pick one or two of the best suckers each year until there are enough.
- Once the Lilac is established, consider adding one new cane and removing the oldest cane each year to create a vigorous, healthy full flowering plant.
More at the Lilac Festival website.
June 6, 2014
May 30, 2014
May 27, 2014
May 15, 2014
I love old books, and was happy to find Wild Flowers Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan, a 1917 book that is available online through Project Gutenberg. The entry for Yellow Adder’s Tongue; Trout Lily; Dog-tooth “Violet” (Erythronium americanum) is a good example of the descriptive & endearing turns of phrase you often find in books from another age:
Flower – Solitary, pale russet yellow, rarely tinged with purple, slightly fragrant, 1 to 2 in. long, nodding from the summit of a root-stalk 6 to 12 in, high, or about as tall as the leaves. Perianth bell-shaped, of 6 petal-like, distinct segments, spreading at tips, dark spotted within; 6 stamens; the club-shaped style with 3 short, stigmatic ridges. Leaves: 2, unequal, grayish green, mottled and streaked with brown or all green, oblong, 3 to 8 in. long, narrowing into clasping petioles.
Preferred Habitat – Moist open woods and thickets, brooksides.
Flowering Season – March-May.
Distribution – Nova Scotia to Florida, westward to the Mississippi.
Colonies of these dainty little lilies, that so often grow beside leaping brooks where and when the trout hide, justify at least one of their names; but they have nothing in common with the violet or a dog’s tooth. Their faint fragrance rather suggests a tulip; and as for the bulb, which in some of the lily-kin has toothlike scales, it is in this case a smooth, egg-shaped corm, producing little round offsets from its base. Much fault is also found with another name on the plea that the curiously mottled and delicately pencilled leaves bring to mind, not a snake’s tongue, but its skin, as they surely do. Whoever sees the sharp purplish point of a young plant darting above ground in earliest spring, however, at once sees the fitting application of adder’s tongue. But how few recognize their plant friends at all seasons of the year!
Every one must have noticed the abundance of low-growing spring flowers in deciduous woodlands, where, later in the year, after the leaves overhead cast a heavy shade, so few blossoms are to be found, because their light is seriously diminished. The thrifty adder’s tongue, by laying up nourishment in its storeroom underground through the winter, is ready to send its leaves and flower upward to take advantage of the sunlight the still naked trees do not intercept, just as soon as the ground thaws.