PATTI’S CATTIES AND OTHER TALES FROM THE PAPOWS BEAUTIFUL GARDEN

My friend Patti Papows very thoughtfully invited me to come film and take photos in her gorgeous garden, especially her milkweed patch. Patti purchased milkweed plants from our Cape Ann Milkweed Project several years ago, both the Common and Marsh Milkweed that we offered.

Patti’s Common Milkweed has really taken off this year. The plants are about five feet tall, lush and healthy, and bursting with sweetly fragrant blossoms. The Monarchs are daily visitors, coming not by the ones and twos, but by the dozen. Not only are her milkweed blossoms beckoning to the Monarchs, but the plants are also attracting every bee species imaginable found in a Cape Ann garden, as well as myriad other pollinating insects.

I showed Patti how to find Monarch caterpillars. She found three in about three minutes; we weren’t even trying that hard! They are safer from spiders in my terrariums, so I brought her tiny caterpillars home where they are developing nicely alongside a dozen Monarch eggs. These eggs were discovered in my garden, and at the Common Milkweed plants growing along the edges of the Good Harbor Beach parking lot.

Patti’s patch of native highbush blueberries attracts loads of Catbirds, and dozens more species of songbirds and small mammals. This morning the foliage made a perfect perch for a male Monarch butterfly.

In the above photo you can clearly see the Monarch’s two-part tubular drinking straw, called a proboscis. The Monarch is probing deep into the Milkweed floret for a sip of sweet nectar. 

Who, me? I’m innocent! Chipmunk snacking at the buffet-of-plenty in Patti’s garden.

Patti placed the purple chair in the midst of the milkweed patch so that visitors can enjoy being surrounded by the beautiful pollinators buzzing all around and the delightful fragrance emitted by the Common Milkweed. I tried it out and her plan worked, it is pure Heaven!

I had an absolutely wonderful morning filming and photographing, despite the limiting overcast skies, and plan to return on a sunnier day, hopefully this week while the Monarchs are here on Cape Ann busy egg-laying and pollinating our gardens!

 

Patti shares that at the end of the day, her Monarchs are nectaring from the flowering hosta. She sent these photos this morning, taken yesterday afternoon with her cell phone. 

11 comments

  • What a beautiful place indeed and to think I used to walk by not knowing 😦 Dave

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  • Very beautiful try this again! 🙂 Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks for sharing. Your photos and the garden are so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Incredible photo-essay. Thank you, Kim, for bringing this garden to light. You’ve really mastered that new camera/lens. 😉 Love the setting Patti created with the raised beds. That chipmunk is adorable. And the chair! Excellent idea.

    Question for you about moving young caterpillars to safety. Should we try this at home? I’d hate to do them harm.

    Thanks, “teach”!

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    • Thank you Dave, Ka,y and Susan for your always kind and thoughtful comments.

      Susan, I move eggs and caterpillars all the time. In the wild, they have a one in ten chance of surviving, in my kitchen terrarium a 100 percent chance.

      Wash and clean out a new or old terrarium (glass aquarium) and its wire mesh lid. Spiders lurk in the corners so that it is why you give it a good washing between uses. Dry thoroughly.

      Line the bottom of the terrarium with a paper towel (makes it easy to clean up the caterpillar frass, or poop).

      Snip off the leaf that you find the egg or caterpillar on and place it in the terrarium.

      You’ll need to provide the caterpillar with fresh foliage, the same plant on which you found the egg/caterpillar. I like to use glass jam jars, like the BonMaman jars with the checkerboard lid, to contain a stalk of the plant. Stab a hole in the center of the top of the jar. The hole should be just slightly larger than plant stalk. Fill the jar with water and screw on the top. Thoroughly wash the cutting of the caterpillar food plant, washing away insects that may be hiding anywhere on the plant. Place the stalk in the jam jar in the terrarium.

      Place the leaf that the egg or caterpillar is attached to onto the plant stalk. The caterpillar will make its way to the fresh cutting.

      I hope this is easy to understand. I’ll post a photo tonight with my post 🙂

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      • Excellent instructions, Kim. Very clear. Two things: Do you provide fresh cuttings/food daily or as needed; and 2. How long will they be in residence? ( I must sound like, “Are we there yet?”)

        Thank you! Will have to look for a vessel… and some Bon Maman jam.

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        • Fresh foliage as needed. You’ll need to provide fresh foliage more quickly as the caterpillar grows.

          How long in residence depends on weather, sunlight, and region but basically, a freshly laid monarch egg can take anywhere from five days to ten days for the caterpillar to emerge. The caterpillar (larva) stage takes about ten days to two weeks, and the chrysalis (pupa) stage also about ten days to two weeks.

          I like the red and white checked tops of the Bon Maman jam, but any smallish jar with a lid will do.

          Have fun and I’m sure you’ll have lots of success!!!

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      • Thank you Kim this is solid advice too!

        The bell on the side of Manship’s house reason for that is to beckon forth those out on the land to come in for either a phone call or food and drink carried a ways…:-) Dave

        Patti Papows is correct be a nice addition ebook even:-) Dave & Kim 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • Kim-Your pictures are exquisite-This should be your next book–about your whole milkweed project and all the people that participated. The bees are back in force again and the male monarch just woke up and is darting around- I saw a female laying eggs before all the rain,but have not been able to find any more caterpillars yet. See you soon!!! Patti.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a joyful garden you have Patti, thank you so much for sharing! And wonderful idea for a book! Looking at the weather and hoping to come over after work today or tomorrow 🙂

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