“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~ Eleanora Duse

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wow...I'm so overwhelmed by nature. Every day when I go outside I see new plants blooming, new moths flying, deer, rabbits, birds, insects, even a bobcat or bear on occasion...the list is endless. There is so much out there if you just take time to notice. Although I tend to focus on what I see in the natural environment, I want to give you a glimpse of the sometimes delicate and sometimes bold beauty of our planted garden.

Calendula blooming in our vegetable garden.

The first zucchini bloom of the year.

Plant growing through the drain hole of a fountain that long ago lost it's pump and base.

The first tomato of the season is a yellow one (Sun Gold); one of four snacking tomatoes we planted (the others are Green Envy, a Black Heirloom, and the red Ladybug).

This Nasturtium is quite prolific and brightens the vegetable garden. Here is a lovely soon-to-open bud.

This Fan Flower (Whirlwind Blue Scaevola hybrid) is quite unusual. The flower lays flat and the anther? stands alone on the other side of the flower and "clamps" down on top of the flower ensuring pollination. Absolutely stunning.

A delicate snow pea blossom.

The first of the snow peas ready for harvest.

Speedwell Royal Candles is always in the company of pollinators.

And finally, this little fella was on the leaves of a Tiger Lily.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Moths are truly amazing!

I have become obsessed with moths lately. The variety is just amazing, and there are so many! I discovered a website for Butterflies and Moths of North America where you can get checklists for which ones are in a specific location. They have great photographs and lots of information on many of the species; but on some, they have very little. I pulled up a checklist for Nelson County and it showed 72 butterflies and 7 moths had been reported here. Yet on my front porch, without much effort, I've found at least 29 moths that I've positively identified and have pictures of many more I haven't identified (only 3 of these were in the 7 they listed)!

Luckily, you can submit your sitings and they'll verify your identification and add that siting to their database. Some of my photos wouldn't be worth sharing, but they're good enough to get an ID so the siting can be added. This is the only way for the database to grow folks...because there are just too many of them and too few scientists studying them. Please consider lending a hand and sending in your photos.

Here are just a few I've come across. (Note that the pictures have been cropped so all moths seem to be roughly the same size but they range from about 0.5 inch (Gray Scoopwing) to more than 3.5 inches (Luna Moth).)

Cherry Scallop Shell (Rheumaptera prunivorata)

Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia fucosa)

Gray Scoopwing (Callizzia amorata) - notice how he partially folds his hind wings over his body

Maple Spanworm (Ennomos magnaria) - he holds up his wings and abdomen

Luna moth (Actias luna)

Lettered Sphinx (Deidamia inscriptum) - he holds up his abdomen above his wings

Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae)

Stone-Winged Owlet (Chytolita petrealis)
Nais Tiger Moth (Apantesis nais)

Yellow-Banded Underwing (Catocala cerogama)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Pale Beauty (Campaea perlata)

And so the butterflies don't feel slighted, here's a Silver-spotted Skipper having a little snack.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on red clover

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Today, I begin...

Today I begin this phlog (more photos/less talk) to share with you the beauty nature has to offer in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I've got lots of pictures of native plants and critters taken at our home over the past month and will post more of these later, but I'll start with some taken in the last couple of days. (I posted images a bit smaller than my originals and haven't done any editing, but hopefully you can zoom in to see the details clearly.) I hope you enjoy!

Fire Pink (Silene virginica)

Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Bowman's Root (Gillenia trifoliata)

Stargrass (Hypoxis birsuta)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa)

Wild Coffee (Triosteum aurantiacum) - be sure to zoom in to see blossoms clearly!
And even though I don't yet know who these little guys are, I just had to share...