A Plant for Butterflies

Scabiosa_Pincushion Flower_DBG-CO_LAH_7349

I love a garden full of flowers, but that’s only half the story. A garden feels incomplete with just plants, no matter how pretty they are. We’ve set the stage. The background and props are in place. But where are the actors? That’s why I intentionally choose plants that attract birds and insects. (Rabbits? Not so much!) A summer day isn’t complete without the buzz of bees, the whirr of the Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and especially fluttering butterflies—often as colorful as the flowers they visit.

Continue reading “A Plant for Butterflies”

Feeding the Kids

If spring brings mating displays and nest building, then summer is sure to be filled with baby birds. Lately, everywhere I look I see frazzled parents bringing food to their ravenous offspring. No sooner have they stuffed the moth or grasshopper or beetle or dragonfly down that bottomless gullet than they’re off looking for the next morsel.

Continue reading “Feeding the Kids”

Abert & Abert

Many plants and animals have either common or scientific names that honor people, often the person who discovered the species, or someone famous. For example, ‘Prince Charles’ and ‘Princess of Wales’ are both rose cultivars. Ornithologist Alexander Wilson named Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) after Meriwether Lewis, who discovered the species, and Clark’s Nutcrackers were named after his fellow explorer, William Clark. I find it interesting to learn a bit about the person behind various names, especially of species that I’ve seen and photographed. Continue reading “Abert & Abert”

Megafauna & Obsolete Fruit

I try hard to create original material for my blog. After all, you can go read someone else’s writing somewhere else! But when I read this article, I knew I had to share it with you. It was that good.

We tend to think of geologic time on a huge scale, and the ice ages happened an incredibly long time ago. We forget how short our human history really is. This article made me look at the world with new eyes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The Trees That Miss The Mammoths,
by Whit Bronaugh

Save the Bees?

Bee on Lonicera korolkowii_Blue Leaf Honeysuckle 'Blue Velvet'_HudsonGardens-CO_LAH_5781

Here’s one less thing to worry about in the coming year. Recently, one of the garden sites I frequent published a link to this article from the American Council on Science and Health, an organization devoted to debunking junk science: “The Bee Apocalypse Was Never Real; Here’s Why.” I strongly urge you to check it out.

Continue reading “Save the Bees?”

Don’t Miss the Mantis

DBG-CO_LAH_7073

I tend to visit botanic gardens by myself. It isn’t that I’m being unsociable—I’d love the company! It’s that I move at a pace that most find excruciatingly slow. I have been known to stop and examine every flower, every shrub, and, in this case, every leaf on every tree. And then, on top of that, I take photos. Hundreds of photos. Photos of the flowers, shrubs, trees, and yes, sometimes even the leaves. I can turn a two-hour garden visit into a 6-hour marathon. It drives most people crazy, hence my lack of companions.

But sometimes, that kind of close inspection pays off.

Continue reading “Don’t Miss the Mantis”

You (probably) Don’t Need an Exterminator

Monarch Butterfly_DBG-CO_LAH_9197The neighborhood where I live seems to be a magnet for door-to-door salespeople selling services. One company in particular has been particularly persistent in their marketing attempts—an exterminator.

The first time they rang the doorbell, I politely but firmly told the guy I did not want my yard sprayed. I consider a diverse arthropod population to be a sign of a healthy landscape. I particularly want insects around to feed the birds I feed. Moreover, I had just planted a pollinator garden, designed to attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other fascinating creatures;. The last thing I wanted was to kill my invited guests.

Continue reading “You (probably) Don’t Need an Exterminator”

Good Guys Flies

EmeraldValley-EPC-CO_LAH_0773fSomeone left the screen door open, and suddenly our house is full of annoying, buzzing, flies. They circle the kitchen while I’m cooking, tangle with my hair while I’m sitting at my computer, and zoom past my Kindle when I’m reading in the evening. I have to ask, did we really have to have flies, God?

Continue reading “Good Guys Flies”

Separating the Sheep from the Goats

SummitLake-MtEvans-CO_LAH_5672r

A friend and I (along with several hundred others) were enjoying the ambience at Summit Lake, most of the way up 14,265 foot high Mount Evans. We were taking a break from the hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs on our way to the top of the highest paved road in the U.S.A.

Situated at 12,836 feet, Summit Lake is a beautiful place. The water shimmered in the bright sunlight. Alpine wildflowers carpeted the rocky ground, backed by craggy cliffs that barely hid the actual summit. As usual, the parking lot was overflowing, people were queued up to use the restrooms, and there was a total disregard for the signs begging everyone to keep to the trails and stay off the fragile tundra.

Continue reading “Separating the Sheep from the Goats”

A Rocky Mountain Interlude

We were gone this weekend for our 39th anniversary, so I didn’t get a chance to write a new post about birds and birding, my normal Monday topic. Instead, I want to share some photos from our trip.

We stayed in Kremmling, a very small town nestled between Steamboat Springs to the west and the continental divide to the east. After packing up on Sunday morning, we decided to head home to Colorado Springs via one of our favorite national parks, Rocky Mountain.

Continue reading “A Rocky Mountain Interlude”