Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Critters of Baldwin Nurseries...

Whew. It's a busy, busy BUSY time of year (and hot, too) for nursery operators, for gardeners, for bloggers, for writers working on their book deadlines. Apologies to our readers for not updating sooner than this; the nursery owner is busy working with plants, while the other blog-tender has a book deadline approaching. That leaves me to fill in with some comments. I thought we'd talk about some of the wildlife you might see when you visit the nursery.

These waxwings were stuffing themselves on the barely-there fruit of the wild elder growing beside the fountaining pond in the upper part of the nursery. They were unafraid by the photographer's approach, until she got a little too close for their liking.
There are several different types of swallows hanging around and nesting at the nursery, including this handsome tree swallow.

Dragonflies come up from the irrigation pond to catch insects and bask in the warm of the sunlight.

We saw the first monarch butterflies several weeks ago, and were very excited to see them. While we haven't noticed any eggs yet, it's only a matter of time til we find caterpillars munching on the milkweed. After a couple of weeks of feeding and growing, they'll look for a place to pupate. Like the leaves of this weigela.

They'll split their skins one last time, this time turning into a gorgeous green chrysalis...and after a couple of weeks...

The next generation of adult monarchs will appear, ready to start the cycle all over again. While the adults will sip nectar from any of a myriad of wildflowers and cultivated plants, they MUST have milkweeds to lay their eggs on, as that's the only food their caterpillars will eat.

We at Baldwin Nurseries are a registered Monarch waystation!

Not only monarchs like to hang out here. We see a variety of other butterflies and moths, including one of several species of fritillary (here dining on the flowers of swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata.

The Eastern Swallowtails are fond of a variety of flowers, including the coneflowers.

Hummingbird moths swarm to the buddleia, or butterfly bush, which I guess we can also call the hummingbird moth bush!

And there are plenty of insects to feed hungry baby swallows with. Score one for the swallows, and one less for the mosquitoes trying to feed on all of us!