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Silks & Images Blog has information, ideas, and alerts to events related to flowers, gardens, floral arranging, weddings, silk flowers, outdoor digital photography, and decor

Friday
Jun272014

Welcome!

Flowers! I grow them. I arrange them. I photograph them. I am a serious student of the natural world. In fact, this is how I know when a silk flower is an excellent reproduction. I love flowers and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t.

I see Nature with the eyes of a scientist because I am one.

I notice the shapes, contours, colors, fragrances, the way a bud opens and recloses, what insects (the good ones) visit it, and what wants to eat it. The other noticeable points might be all about the weeds. Lovely flowers: enhance them; nasty weeds: pull them out, right? Maybe not…

We all know that our common milkweed is the place where Monarch butterflies lay their eggs, so we protect these plants, right?

Did you know? The native stinging nettle is the host plant for the Red Admiral butterfly.

I didn’t, until they disappeared from my yard about 15 years ago after I burned off my large pile of nettles. I weeded these pesky plants with a vengeance. But Nature also visits her vengeance on us when we do ignorant things.

We went from seeing hundreds of these butterflies in June, to seeing scarcely a dozen all summer. I wanted to know why they disappeared, so I turned to university websites and gathered all sorts of information about where our butterflies laid their eggs. One of the best links is to the site http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org.  I now plant specific flowers needed by bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects.

For example, to support the presence of this beautiful species, the lady butterfly needs to lay a single egg on a leaf of the nettle family of plants (Urticaceae), where a single caterpillar will feed. Once they are adults, they are content to sip tree sap, rotting fruit, and even bird droppings! They will go to flowers if they have to. So I have become a little more careful, and a lot more studious, before simply eradicating a “non-flower” in my yard. Widespread loss of butterflies may not be the fault of pesticides. It may be just as important to consider our herbicide use.

Check out my Silks & Images Blog for other interesting ideas and information to come!