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.

 

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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

 

 

 

Can Butterfly Caterpillars Survive this Late in the Season?

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 2.13.28 PM.pngOne of our gardeners found several caterpillars in the parsley patch.

She has taken them home to watch them them transform from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

We don’t know if the butterflies will be able to fly south at that point.

Has anyone raised butterflies before to know the timing of things?

How long do they remain a chrysalis for example?

Any suggestions?

 

What’s the Buzz?

Why it’s the bees of course.

Take a look at the bees and butterflies enjoying our pollinator plants.  Next year, we will create four pollinator beds filled with plants the bees, butterflies and birds find appealing.

If you want to be part of the buzz, let me know. We will need help planning, purchasing and planting seeds and transplants that have been donated.  If you have plants that are suitable for this endeavor, let me know.

We have two holding beds in the gardens with perennials that will be planted for the pollinators next Spring. But, we could use liatris, butterfly weed and echinacea to name a few.  Can you help?

 

Family Gardening Program – Week Two

There is a lot to do in the garden this time of year.

Today 80  young gardeners worked on: starting a new flower bed, mulching the broccoli so it doesn’t bolt,  sowing beans, weeding and water. When each group finished their working bee, we relaxed under the trees with a glass of ice, cold basil lemonade made from herbs growing in our garden.

The basil lemonade was a hit. One camper said the flavor was “distinctive,” another camper thought it tasted “like the garden” and most campers enjoyed it and asked for second and thirds.

Here is the Recipe:

One packed cup  of basil leaves washed well. Put leaves into the blender with a cup of water and puree on high. Once done, put this mixture through a strainer and into a large pticher of lemonade. Add the basil mix little by little until you reach the flavor you enjoy. It is that easy and very refreshing.

EARTH MOVERS

We could use some help with the dirt pile near the parking lot. The goal is to level it off so we can plant flowers. It was hard work for the kids. Anyone willing to help, please do. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

PLANTS

If anyone is dividing plants, please think of us. We are creating a pollinator friendly garden.  The new bed is in full sun and we hope to  grow yarrow, coneflower, Liatris, evening primrose, phlox, and asters. If you have any of these plants and can share, they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to all my generous gardening friends.

MAKING A BIRD BATH

At noon today adult gardeners made a concrete bird bath from a leaf.

Gna LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the bird bath. Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Gina LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the  basin of the bird bath.
Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Then you being to add the concrete on top of the host leaf.

Then you  adda moth textured concrete – not the kind with aggregate – on top of the hosta leaf.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered. And then let it dry for at least 48 hours.

These baths look charming in a garden and attract butterflies and insect-eating birds.   I will take a photo of the finished project next week.

Hope to see you in the garden.  And thank you for contributing to the success of the garden.

Natalie, Master Gardener and Moreau Community Garden’s Garden  Coach

 

Luna Moth

Luna mothI was very lucky this morning.

I was running errands and picking up groceries. Nothing special. I got talking to a friend who was checking out my purchases at the cash register.

She told me she saw something yellow in the parking lot and it turned out in was this moth. Some co-workers picked it up and moved it to a safer place behind the building, she said.

We went around to the woodsy area were it had been freed and it was still there in all its glory.

These moths live a very short time and I have only seen two in my lifetime. What a treat. Thanks Laura!

Amazing Day at Shelving Rock Falls

We wanted to do a photo hike but we didn’t want to be far from home, it couldn’t be too strenuous, and we wanted to see wildlife. So we went to Shelving Rock Falls and we weren’t disappointed.

This is the time of year when snapping turtles lay eggs and we found this one crossing into a pond.turtle

I must have had turtles on my mind when I downloaded my images because I swear it looks like a turtle’s head in the rocks in the falls. Do you see it?shelvingrock

The walk was good. We headed down to the lake at one point and sat on the boulders soaking in the beauty of Lake George. We heard an owl in the distance and waved at a few boaters out enjoying the quiet waters.

When our hike was just about done, we spotted these swallowtail butterflies. There were many around — in the air and on the roadway — but a group of three to five would flit about and then land together. They didn’t seem to mind our picture taking one bit.trio

It was a fine day in the woods with a friend. Thanks G.

gina