Plants that Sizzle, Not Fizzle

3 08 2007

On Saturday morning Regina and I attended a walking lecture/garden tour at Green Spring Gardens. The lectured was entitled, “Plants that Sizzle, Not Fizzle.” We were introduced to many plants both famliar and not (and Regina and I were quite proud that we could both spout off names of the majority of them 😉 We took home a checklist of plants that can withstand our heat and do well in drought conditions. We also got to take home free plants. And, of course, I had to bring all my camera gear.

RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAK
Sherry, a gardener we met on the walk, pointed out this unusual butterfly on a coneflower in one of the demonstration gardens. It was such a strange looking thing (the butterfly, not Sherry!)….both ends appeared to be moving and we couldn’t tell which end was the head…it appears to have two heads with antennae at both ends.

On one of the Websites below I read that the tails on the hind wings with their associated eyespots resemble a head. The movement of the tails is believed to attract a potential predator’s attention to that part of the wings which then is torn away, allowing the butterfly to escape. It certainly had us confused….we didn’t know if it was two mating butterflies or a mutant one. Neat! (Thanks for the observation and leading us to this unusual butterfly, Sherry.)

I perused some butterfly identification Web sites and have discovered this is a red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops), Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae

Check out this site and scroll to the bottom to see the same butterfly

http://www.cirrusimage.com/butterflies_of_North_America.htm

http://www.enature.com/flashcard/show_flash_card.asp?recordNumber=BU0063

WHAT’S BUGGING YOU?
FYI…if you’re ever curious about a bug and are just itchin’ to identify it (who wouldn’t be? 😉 this is a great site that I use frequently. This link will lead you to a shot of the same butterfly I photographed.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/31178

RATS!
On a subject not truly related to gardening (unless you’ve seen them IN your garden), but a very important subject nonetheless, Sherry told us about http://www.herorat.com. We were discussing Regina volunteering at the Alexandria Animal Shelter and the subject went from cats to ferrets to pet rats…she mentioned this site….very interesting and as she mentioned, it’s a well-done site. Michael and I had a pet rat (adopted from the outdoors when someone let their “feeder rat” go after their snake died)…and he was, surprisingly, a really neat pet. As much as I love all animals, having a rat wasn’t something that had crossed my mind. He lived for just over 5 years (a normal lifespan) and was just a wonderful little part of our family. Check out the site and see how rats are saving lives. www.herorat.com

hairstreak.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos

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