Monday, August 19, 2013

Attracting Wildlife to Your Yard

We've worked on creating a natural habitat in our yard.
By providing a diverse selection of native plants,
as well as sources for water and shelter,
we've noticed an increase in many critters to our outdoor space.
We are also sure to keep pesticides out of our garden.

This passionflower was recently purchased from a local botanical garden.
It attracts many species of caterpillars.

The one we were interested in hosting is this gulf fritillary.

It lays its eggs on these tendrils that wind their way around the main plant.

They enjoy dining on the leaves of this climbing vine.

As they grow, their skins are shed in the process of molting.
This happens a couple of times before they are ready to pupate,
or form their chrysalis.

Another new species we've been hosting in the last few months
has been the Black Swallowtail.
They savor parsley, dill and fennel,
as well as carrot tops.
The white band around their middle is called a saddle.
We've been giving them away on Craig's List
to help educate others about these amazing creatures
and encourage the planting of natives in our area.

The most common visitor to our garden is the monarch caterpillar.

Milkweed is the host plant of choice.
These cats are voracious eaters
and will pick your plants clean.

Last week this Queen caterpillar was found sharing the milkweed with the monarchs.
This species is often mistaken for the monarch,
although there are slight variations.
One difference is the six filaments (feelers) on its body,
whereas the monarch has only four.

 We welcome bees to our yard.
Along with pollinating flowers and crops,
they add a liveliness to our humble garden.
We appreciate being able to foster those critters that are so helpful to us.

 Planting a variety of flowers and herbs 
not only improves the aesthetics of the garden,
but allows for a myriad of living things to relish their splendor.

They're also a blast to study!

Of course, not all critters are as welcomed by many.
But they all have their place in the scheme of things.
Any living thing in your yard can be deemed
a fantastic opportunity to do a nature study.

All in all, we find it a worthwhile venture
to create a habitat for all of God's wonderous creatures.

monday's homestead barn hop