Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Location!

I have been unfortunately having some problems with my google account which affects this blog.  I am able to post, but nothing more.  So I have created another email account with google and another blog.  You can now find me at  Everything is pretty much the same.  There are a few changes, but not much.  I did try to create a blog through wordpress, but I was having a hard time figuring things out.  So I stuck with what I know and will do the best I can to make it a blog worth visiting.

Come follow me over at the other blog!  See you there!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monarch Butterflies vs Viceroy Butterflies

They look alike don't they, but which is which? Can you tell the difference between them? It's really quite simple.....or is it. Have you ever seen them together? They are both orange and black, have similar markings. But here's the thing they are very different....ya they look the same, but one is smaller, one has a horizontal line on the bottom wings, one is poisonous to most of their predators, or is it both, one lays her eggs on Milkweed and the larva eat the Milkweed, one lays her eggs on willow or poplar leaves and eats the willow and poplar leaves.

So whose who? 

Well the photo above is a Monarch Butterfly and of course the one below is the Viceroy Butterfly
So let's compare the similarities between the two.  Okay we know they both are orange and black and have white spots on the edges of their wings and what I didn't know until recently is that they are both poisonous to most bird species.  Which I found quite interesting.  But that's where the similarities end....that I know of.  Notice that the Monarch has more white spots around it's head, the Monarch is also larger having between 3"to 4" wing span and male Monarchs have a black spot on the bottom wings.  Now the Viceroy is smaller having a 2" to 3" wing span, and has the horizontal line on the bottom wings.  The female Viceroy is larger than the males.

But it doesn't end there.  The caterpillars of these 2 species though are different but similar.  Ok the Monarch caterpillar is way cuter being that it's white, yellow and black striped, where the Viceroy is brown with a white spot.  The idea with the Viceroy caterpillar is to look like a tree branch with a spot of bird poop a camaflage tactic and to top it off it is toxic, which again protects it from most predators.  They get this toxin (Salicylic acid) from the Willow, Poplar and Cottonwood (also known as poplar trees) leaves they feed from.  So the Monarch caterpillar being it's cuter (for a caterpillar that is) feeds on Milkweed.  It too is toxic to most predators and it gets this toxin  (cardenolide glycosides) from the Milkweed which like the Viceroy helps to protect once it leaves it's caterpillar life to become a butterfly. 
Unfortunately for the Monarch Butterfly I have read and seen photos of a insect known as the Stink Bug and become immune the the Milkweeds poison and is eating the young larva and caterpillars of the Monarch which is causing havoc on the species.
So there you have it.  My bit on the Monarch and the Viceroy butterflies.  Both of which I have seen our meadow.  There is so much more to learn about each of these butterflies, but maybe at a later time we can talk more about them.
In the mean time check your Willow, Poplar and Cottonwood trees for the Viceroy and check the Milkweed for the Monarchs.

Take a look at this neat Monarch Treasury.  Lots of wonderful items for that Monarch Butterfly lover.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flower Power Friday......Buttercup

Beautifully bright Buttercup...these small yellow flowers are found in meadows and along country roads.  On a sunny day hold the flower under your chin and the bright yellow petals will bath your chin in yellow.

Last weekend I was at the Saco Sidewalk Arts Festival.  It was my first show of the season and the rain had threatened this event, but the sun ended up shining on everyone all day.  The crowds were good and sales even better.  It was great fun!  I had added new images to my collection which sold well and got great reviews.  I make it a habit to have something new every year for returning customers.  Slowly but surely I am finding my niche and I am loving it!  I will definitely do this festival next year.

Now I am preparing for the Belfast Arts in the Park show for July 7th & 8th.  I had done this show before, but was not accepted a few years ago and decided to try it again this year.  I am curious to see how well I will do.  It is one of the few shows that is kinda close to home.  If your in the area stop on in.

Have a safe and wonderful
4th of July!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flower Power Friday....Beautiful Peonies

It has been a very very busy week.  I have been hard at work preparing for the Saco Sidewalk Art Festival this Saturday 9am-4pm.  The weather is looking a little questionable with rain.  Last year was my first year there and when I arrived it was pouring down rain and was cloudy and light shower most of the day.  This year we have had a heat wave with the so call 3 HHH's (hazy,hot and humid).  A cold front is approaching ever so slowly and my be around through Saturday which means possible thunderstorms.  BUMMER!  You know for the most part I accept what ever weather comes by way when I do these festivals.  It is just part of the job.  But you know it wouldn't hurt to have some nice weather for my first show of the season.  You know what I mean!  Saco is celebrating 250th Anniversary so I hope the people will come rain or shine.

The Peony is absolutely my most favorite flower I have ever grown!  The Peonies here are single bloom, but they come in a gorgeous double blooms and many other types of blooms too.  Some are very fragrant too!  Colors are mostly pinks and whites.  Some rich dark pinks almost burgundy color.   There are yellows and coral colors which are beautiful and expensive to have.

These flowers are in a shrub form and are great alone or as a border.  They bloom in the late Spring.  Transplanting them should be done in the fall.  They do very well in cool climates.  So they may not do so well in the South unless shaded.  They do prefer full sun.  Very hardy and deer resistant!  Once the flowers have bloomed they should be deadheaded.  The Peony shrub will stay green all season.  In the fall they should be cut back to make way for the new growth in the Spring.
Just a the Spring before the Peonies get too big you should get a peony hoop support for them.  The flowers makes the shrub very top heavy and the peony hoop support will keep them off the ground.  You can get these supports at almost any garden center.
Here is a link where you can get alot more information and where to buy some of these beauties. They also have a great selection of hostas and daylilies.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flower Power Friday......Lupine

This week's flower is the Lupine.  These Lupines are growing in my backyard, but are very common throughout Maine.

Last year I planted 3 colors of Lupine, white, purple and pink in the meadow out back.  The goal is to let the lupines fill in the meadow.  Last year they all bloomed well and the white were especially abundent.  This year no signs of the white, the purple only 1 stalk and the pink are doing very well.  Not sure what went wrong.  Maybe next year they will all be blooming.  I will say the plants came back, just not all the blooms.  Bummer! 

My peaches are getting bigger every day.  I am seeing more of them too.
I have planted tomatoes, peppers, cukes, basil and sunflowers.  All of which are doing well.  I thought for a bit there that I had to replant my sunflowers due to all the rain we had last week, but after some drying out I saw them starting to pop up.  I have tried to grow peppers in the past, but with little luck.  I am hoping this year will be better. 

Have a fabulous weekend! 
Happy Father's Day to all you Dads
I Love You Dad!