Caterpillar Inspired?

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 6.38.31 AMI have a theory.

A Monarch caterpillar climbed up the cosmos and spotted the drawing of a chrysalis on the sign made by the students at the Waldorf School for the butterfly garden at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

Inspired, he thought, “I can do that.” And transformed from caterpillar to pupa right next to the sign. What do you think?

This is our fourth Monarch chrysalis in the garden’s certified Monarch way station which is brimming with flowers planted to support the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly.

Our Second Butterfly Emerges!

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I’m happy to announce the birth of our second Monarch butterfly this morning. She emerged just before the rains began.

She is beautiful and immediately made herself at home on this red zinnia.

The Pitney Meadows Community Gardens became a certified Monarch way station last winter and as such provides the plants these butterflies need throughout their lifecycle.  Next year, we can start a tagging program that would let us track where our butterflies travel as they make their way to Mexico.  If you are interested in this project, let me know.

Thank you to Judy B. for caring for these little lovelies.

Our First Monarch Emerged

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 1.39.24 PMWe were lucky enough to spot two Monarch butterfly caterpillars in our butterfly garden last month.

There may have been more, but we knew of two.

We nurtured them along. kept them safe and once they formed chrysalises we moved them into a netted butterfly house to watch them mature.

Yesterday, one emerged as the gorgeous butterfly you see here.  The other should follow any day now.

As many of you know, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens became a certified Monarch Waystation last winter.  This means we provide the plants and habitat Monarch butterflies need to complete their lifecycle from egg to butterfly.

Looks like we did well.

Thank you to Judy. our butterfly foster mother who cared for them.

Butterflies in the Community Gardens

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We have created a wonderful habitat for butterflies at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.  Pictured above is the caterpillar of the Eastern Swallowtail butterfly,  photographed by Margie I. on Saturday.

We also have several Monarchs in the caterpillar stage in the butterfly garden.

It is so nice to see.

 

WNYT News Aired a Story on Us.

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 5.11.44 AM.pngYesterday, Emily Burkhard from WNYT News Channel 13 spent the afternoon at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm and did a great segment that included our beekeeper, Jenn Dunn; the plans for the 166-acre farm and the flourishing community gardens.

If you didn’t see it, here’s the link: WNYT

Burkhard and her videographer, Josh, were at the farm interviewing and enjoying the gardens and butterflies for several hours.  During that time, Burkhard learned the process of extracting honey from bee hives, toured the community gardens, spoke with gardeners and asked great questions about plans for the farm’s future that were answered by Farm Director Ken Kleinpeter.

It was fun to be able to share what has been accomplished at Pitney Meadows in just a year.

The videography on the story captures the beauty of the farm and the continuation of its agricultural legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Sunflower Hour Program Had a Successful First Season

onion harvestEvery Saturday since June, children have been attending a reading and garden/craft program in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens we called the Sunflower Hour. Today was the last session of the season.

It has been wonderful with dozens of children coming over the summer to hear stories told by Faye Mihuta, a retired teacher, and experience life in the garden. Children sat in the sunflower house, which is just now beginning bloom and listened to books being read.

Over the last eight weeks the crafts they made with artist Jess Clauser included a fluttering butterfly, bee bracelets, and cards made with vegetable stamps. Other weeks, the children learned about sowing flower seeds, how vegetables grow, the importance of honeybees and the butterfly habitat we have to support Monarch butterflies. Jay Epstein came one Saturday to talk about worms and the children made worm farms from recycled bottles to take home.cly2

Today,  the project was to make a clay medallion by pressing the leaf of the herb sage into wet clay. The clay was trimmed with a round cookie cutter and set out to dry.  Once dry, they can be painted. Each one was very pretty and the children were please to take home several each.

onionfayeNext, we harvested onions. Each child had a chance to pull the onions from the ground and take one home.

Afterwards, we all tasted zucchini bread and basil lemonade. Both were delicious.

It was a great morning in the garden.

Special thank you to Faye and Jess for all the effort put into making Sunflower Hour a memorable experience for young community members.  You are deeply appreciated.

Natalie

 

A Very Special Gift

caterpillar

This tiny Monarch caterpillar is now in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, a gift from Dawn, the owner of Wildthings Rescue Nursery. Dawn is one of the vendors at the Saratoga Farmers Market and gave us this little treasure for our butterfly garden.

We carefully tucked it into its new home on a milkweed plant in the butterfly garden and protected it from predators with a special butterfly netting donated by gardener, Kay S.  In the next two weeks, we will watch it grow and become a chrysalis and after that a magnificent Monarch.

Thank you all.  BTW – Dawn’s Nursery specializes in native plants. You can check it out here: www.dawnswildthings.com

Natalie

Waldorf Students Illustrate Monarch Butterfly Signs for Pitney Meadows

waldorfsigninstallStudents from the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs illustrated signs for the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Monarch Waystation.

The five signs each depict an interesting fact about the butterflies that migrate thousands of miles and who have been in decline due to destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides.

Pictured here are Michael Whitney, the practical arts teacher who built the cedar sign posts, and Elizabeth Straton, Community Relations.

The sign next to them shows the difference between a male and female butterfly. You didn’t know there was a way to tell a boy from a girl?

Come to the gardens, read the signs and maybe see some butterflies.  The butterfly bed surrounding them contains plants that support the butterfly from egg to caterpillar to adult with an abundant supply of nectar rich flowers that bloom through the season. The garden also contains milkweed, the only plant the monarch caterpillar eats.

Thank you to the students who drew the illustrations. They are beautiful.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director