Angela’s Answer? A Rare Asclepias (Milkweed)

Rare Asclepias photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

We were methodically working a trail in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.  So many butterflies and plants that I’d never seen before. Lynx Prairie was just a handful of miles from Kentucky, and knowing that I was seeing the best of both Ohio and Kentucky? Exciting. Very exciting.

When we came to this one, Angela ID’ed it as an Asclepias, one of the many species of Milkweed that Monarch butterflies deposit their egg on. I stopped and stared, and stared, as the others continued ahead on the trail. Most of them were accomplished botany enthusiasts. Me, well I’ve got lots to learn. An Asclepias?

For those who are complacent, thinking they know ‘it all,’ come into the field, and Zap! That epiphany, that there is so much you don’t know, and so much that you can know. Me? G-d sure created a whole lot!!!

Jeff

Indian Paintbrush In Our Middle Georgia Garden?

Indian Paintbrush Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

When I entered that Lynx Prairie Reserve meadow, there it was! Indian Paintbrush. I’ve always wanted to meet this native wildflower. Seeing it in bloom, robust, was a Wow! for me. Incredible Adams County, at Ohio’s border with Kentucky.

We moved 2 months ago, and we’ve already added much to our garden, many to bring in butterflies, they being hostplants for butterflies and moths: Hackberry trees, Alabama croton, Butterfly weed, Asters. (several), Black cherry trees, Sassafras (5!), Bear Oak, Buttonbush, Linden trees (2), Coneflower, Cocosmia, Passionflower, Hercules Club, Liatris, Atlantic White Cedars (3), Hibiscuses, Shasta Daisy, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Leaf (one of the most difficult Georgia natives to get – that thanks to a friend)), Post Oak, Schlumberger Oak, Devil’s Walking Stick and some more.

The COVID-19 Ongoing has produced large numbers of visitors and happily (for the nurseries) emptied them of things we wanted, for now: Dogwoods, American Plum and additional Black Cherry trees.

Most of these natives are in their infancy. Next year? Truth be told, we really look forward to fine, active butterfly and moth traffic here at 800.

Now, comes the question? Indian Paintbrush set in in Georgia’s Piedmont, north of Macon? What think you? Ellen, Phil, Virginia, Leslie, Roxanne, Laura, Angela, Dave Kuene, Robert Michael Pyle, one and Jerry Payne?

Jeff

 

 

 

Shrimp Plant Question?

Shrimp Plant photographed by Jeff Zablow

We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?

By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.

Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?

Jeff

Beg, Threaten or Cajole, They Bloom And Soon Stop

Large Clump of Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

This lush set of blooms was met in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our garden in Eatonton, Georgia now has them. We’ve had good success growing new plants from our own seed.

Without checking the internet, I think that these Butterflyweed milkweeds are native to most states east of the Mississippi River. I found them lush and strong in Lynx Prairie Reserve in southern Ohio and just as beautiful in that 100+ acre meadow at Ft. Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania. On them at Lynx Prairie were Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries and more. On them at Ft. Indiantown Gap were Regal Fritillaries (Wow!!), Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and more.

Search for them too early in June, and you won’t find their flowers in bloom. Search for them too late in July, and again, too late for blooms.

They are super terrific flowers for attracting butterflies, but . . . they only attract butterflies when those flowers are mature, lush and my own experience is that they mostly attract butterflies and moths and wasps from about 9:45 AM to 10:40 AM..

You can beg, cajole or threaten whatever, but that’ll not help. They bloom when they bloom, and when they are ripe and ready, they are easy to spot and fantastic! beacons for butterflies and more. They do occasionally support Monarch caterpillars, but seem to be a milkweed of last resort.

And, they do great in most gardens, preferring sunny, moist spots.

Jeff

American Icons?

Great Spangle Fritillary Butterfly on Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I think so. When I first visited Adams County, Ohio, Lynx Prairie Reserve treated me to my first wild Coneflower. To that point, a rich lifetime, I had presumed that coneflowers were non-native cultivars. How thrilled I was that morning, to learn that they are 100% American!

Perched on this coneflower, this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly is another American icon. Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies has them present in almost all continental US states, except for Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. This big butterfly is born & bred USA.

This then is an American iconic view, Great Spangled Fritillary perched on Coneflower. I must add that Ohio, where these were seen, has been the most welcoming, giving, sharing of the 48 U.S. states, for I’ve enjoyed more self-less butterfliers and orchid seeking and wildflower lovers there than in any other state I’ve visited. Thanks Angela, Deb, Dave, Flower, Joe and others.

Jeff