Monarch on zinnia

1 06 2015

Just uncovered this never-before-shared gem from my archives—overlooked in the cull of hundreds of butterfly images from the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD a few years ago.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MonarchLightPinkZinnia





In the studio: Mary Ellen Ryall

1 11 2013

Butterfly posterMary Ellen Ryall and I crossed paths more than eight years ago when I purchased milkweed seeds from her through eBay. This connection quickly morphed into a frequent e-mail exchange and a great friendship! I do volunteer design and photography for her environmental education organization, Happy Tonics. For several years, I designed and produced her quarterly 4-page newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, as well as other marketing materials. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her a few years ago. The poster included original photographs by me and my friends Brian K. Loflin (www.bkloflin.wordpress.com) and Jeff Evans (www.evanimagesandart.com).

I had the chance to visit Mary Ellen in her former home base in Minong, Wisconsin, in August 2011. (Sidebar: at the time I was making the three-hour drive from the Minneapolis airport to Minong, I called Michael and learned that I had just missed a big earthquake in the D.C. area; it was enough to scare both him and our cat, ZenaB, and for a vase to fall off a bookcase and break!). While in Shell Lake and Minong, I visited Mary Ellen’s Monarch Butterfly Habitat and met many of her friends, most notably Diane Dryden, a published author and feature writer for the Washburn County Register. Diane’s novels, The Accidental King of Clark Street and Double or Nothing on Foster Ave., are available on Amazon here.

About a year ago, Mary Ellen relocated to Fitchburg, MA, to be closer to her sister. She talked of slowing down, but I knew she wouldn’t—she’s brimming with far too many ideas! An author and truly dedicated environmental educator, Mary Ellen’s first book, My Name is Butterfly, was published by Salt of the Earth Press in 2011. This teaching book about a little girl and a Monarch butterfly was illustrated by Marie Aubuchon-Mendoza and is available here.

TwoBooksEarlier this year, I assisted Mary Ellen with producing The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book. Written by Mary Ellen Ryall and illustrated by Moira Christine McCusker, It is available for purchase here. It is published by Mary Ellen’s new company, Butterfly Woman Publishing. Our next project is a plant guidebook, which we hope to debut in 2014. She visited the D.C. area a few weeks ago to attend a three-day conference for the North America Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC). She is presently on a task force to design a smart app called S.H.A.R.E. (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment). This app will allow gardeners around the country to list their habitats on a national map. Mary Ellen blogs about organic gardening and open pollination for diversity on her blog here.

After seeing the portraits I did of her while she was in town, Mary Ellen said, “now I see that I have to go out and buy a new wardrobe!” The outfits she is wearing came from my “modeling rack” as well as my closet. She feels I captured her energy in the shots—and if you’ve ever met her, you know how high-energy this woman is!

P.S. Butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators after bees. Butterflies as pollinators are in trouble too. The Monarch butterfly population is down to only five percent in 2013. The Monarch and other butterflies need native host plants. We need to plant native wildflowers to bring butterflies home. Milkweed is the only host plant of the Monarch butterfly. If you would like to be part of the solution to stop the decline of Monarch butterflies, plant some milkweed seeds in your garden! Mary Ellen sells seed on her website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MaryEllenHeadShots





Same time, last year re-post: Mating Monarchs

14 07 2013

Photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit; the blue/purple blobs in the background are Plumbago flowers

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the archives: Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

7 07 2013

A sampling of photos taken at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens over the past few years

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Kenilworth Collage 7232009KenilworthCollage2





Monarch butterfly

14 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly on Egyptian Star Flowers

17 10 2011

Egyptian Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata) is a fall-blooming herbaceous perennial that is treated as an annual in my Zone 7 area. The cluster of buds open into small (1/2 inch at most) star-shaped flowers that are irresistible to butterflies and bees. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly

31 08 2011

Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), photographed in the Demonstration Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station, part of the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences at UW-Madison. One section is an official All-America Selections Display Garden, one of only seven sites found in Wisconsin. The Demonstration Garden showcases plants that are suitable for growing in zone 3 and is a joint effort between the Research Station, the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service and area UW-Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Monarch for a Monarch

20 07 2011

Dear King of Texas,

Your wish for your very own Monarch butterfly has been granted. I had to reach back into my ever-growing archive of Monarch butterflies to find the one most befitting of Your Highness. This was a photograph I took at Brookside Gardens in August 2010. I hope it meets your expectations! (You are advised to put on sunglasses before viewing—that punch of color is over the top, isn’t it?)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly

19 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Monarch for Mary Ellen

19 07 2011

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/





From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens archives…

29 06 2011

Since I didn’t get the photographic bounty I usually do at Kenilworth, I thought I’d repost images I’ve created in past years. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





Blooming in my garden: Mexican Butterfly Weed

20 06 2011

Mexican Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica), also known as Blood-flower, Scarlet Milkweed or Tropical Milkweed, is an evergreen perennial plant and a favorite food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. The caterpillars eat the leaves and the adult butterfly sips its nectar. Milkweed contains a toxin that saves the butterfly from predators because of the bitter taste!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Yep, you guessed it. Green Spring Gardens again.

11 02 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Family Jewels Milkweed Tree (Asclepias physocarpa)

1 11 2010

This species of milkweed is also known as White Butterfly Weed and Swan Plant. Native to Jamaica and South America, this perennial herb can grow to over six feet and prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is a food source for caterpillars and is a food and habitat plant for the Monarch Butterfly. The small flowers are creamy white and orchid-like, followed by translucent, inflated 2″ green balls covered with soft bristles that are the resulting seedpods. It is a fast-growing tender perennial and grows best in Zones 7-10. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Another Monarch for Mary Ellen!

3 09 2010

This one is for Mary Ellen Ryall, creator of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin! I photographed this Monarch butterfly on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. An overcast but very bright sky made for great lighting for photography. The gardens were swarming with insects—including Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Monarchs, various Skippers, Sulphurs and Common Buckeyes. I photographed an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia  few weeks ago here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch butterfly

8 08 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Monarch for Mary Ellen

8 08 2010

Photographed this afternoon at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland. More images to come!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Post redux: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

8 12 2009

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/

What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





100,000 hits!

4 10 2009

I was checking my blog stats and discovered that my busiest day ever was Wednesday, May 6, 2009, with a total of 440 hits. And 46 of those were for my Cabbage White Butterfly camouflage posting—must have been a lot of curious bug spotters that day!

To celebrate this milestone of 100,000 hits, I offer the following:

1. Oddest word searches that brought visitors to my blog:

kids running to touch wood  (a good old-fashioned—and legal—way to pass time)
beard of bees  (no thank you)
daylilies bugs hug   (aww….)
zoo-dutch dog with 2 ladies (1)  (huh?)
waffle house dirty    (hate it when that happens)
polaroid skull     (!)
hermaphrodite plant ruin    (I dare not ask.)
I never saw a purple cow what does it mean    (We’ll probably never really know.)
baby robin dying? crying   (Yep, that would be me doing the crying.)
cool stuff for 20 bucks    (Where? Where????)
gluten free elephant ears    (Didn’t know you could eat them!)
And then there’s the SPAM that gets filtered…    (…and sometimes it doesn’t)
Above-board! Just looking for you highly priced!   (Lost in translation)
young illegal booty content    (Again, I dare not ask.)
what is the flower is blue with 4 pedals   (A flower with pedals? How mobile it could be!)
when the cactus dies my love for you die   (Easy fix. Just don’t overwater.)
can you get high from a magnolia bud    (What? Morning glory seeds didn’t do it for ya?)
i shot myself flower    (Again—what’s up with the violence + flower stuff?)
now, that’s more like it ebay    (eBay sucks for sellers)
things cost an arm a leg or a soul    (Never bought anything that cost my soul!)
puppy girls feet wall paper    (That sounds like an HGTV decorating disaster.)
pups don’t shed for sale   (would make a very good name for a rock band)
sequim booty    (Hmm….Sequim, Washington? Known for booty? Who woulda thunk?)
elephant foot yam butterflies moths   (okay, way too much going on in this search)
cialis cindy   (alright already…enough with the cialis and viagara, spammers!)
legged fish wiki   
20 bucks    (I’ll take it!)
puppy road    (Puppy road, take me home, to the place where I belong, West Virginia…)
duck herding women    (I knew animals would take over one day, I just knew it!)
away morning
bulletin board idea for peek a boo   
tiny little bugs in kitchen denver  
fairmont empress + “bed bugs” 
spring rose sex
very little girl!   

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2. Top 10 posts of all time on this blog (click on post name to view):

Concrete leaf casting: 4,094 viewers

Color Magic Rose: 2,017 viewers

Crafty room divider screen: 1,730 viewers

Stuff About Me: 1,602 viewers

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth: 806 viewers

Heavenly blue: 704 viewers

Gigglebean with parrot and sugar glider: 661 viewers

Spotlight on Abbie!: 626 viewers

Mina Lobata (Spanish Flag): 576 viewers

Monarch butterfly habitat poster: 536 viewers

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3. Top 10 referrers:

my2008blog.wordpress.com: 421 referrals  (Thanks, Birgitte!)

contradica.blogspot.com: 265 referrals  (Thanks, Abbie!)

penick.net/digging: 181 referrals  (Thanks, Pam!)

phillipoliver.blogspot.com: 178 referrals  (Thanks, Phillip!)

auntdebbisgarden.blogspot.com: 128 referrals  (Thanks, Debbi!)

mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com: 107 referrals  (Thanks, Heather!)

moresecretwhispers.wordpress.com: 99 referrals  (Thanks, Chloe!)

www.fotoblography.com: 87 referrals  (Thanks, Andy!)

www.outerchat.com: 86 referrals  (Thanks, Senthill!)

www.stphoto.wordpress.com: 62 referrals  (Thanks, Scott!)

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4. Top 10 links that visitors went to from my blog:

Concrete garden leaves: 1,196 clicks

Color Magic Rose photo: 698 clicks

Martha Stewart’s website: 654 clicks

Making a leaf casting: 641 clicks

Little and Lewis (concrete casting artists): 472 clicks

Jacquard Products (again, concrete casting related link!): 408 clicks

Ellis Hollow Blog (yet another concrete leaf cast related link): 213 clicks

My “Punch O Color” photo collage: 203 clicks

Photo collage of my garden club doing concrete casting: 200 clicks

PDF download of Abbie Cranmer’s feature article in Hearing Loss Magazine: 196 clicks

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I’ve been remiss in posting as often as I normally do. Work and other commitments called and something had to be set aside. To my regular and most loyal visitors, I offer a plea for leniency (and patience). I’ll be back soon with a plethora of postings, I promise! (In fact, I see that my white Japanese anemones have begun to bloom in the front yard…might they be my next subject?)





My Kenilworth bounty

27 05 2009

The previous posting about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens prompted me to look through my photo archives. I’ve been to Kenilworth three summers in a row (and 100% sure I will do so again this summer). While I have posted on my trips to the gardens, I didn’t gather all of them into one collage until now.

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit the gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/ 

What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





Much more Monarch mania

15 10 2008

Yes, more Monarchs. I can’t help myself. They’re everywhere! I learned a technique from my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics about how to “stalk” Monarchs with a camera. Wait until they have their proboscis inserted into a flower and they become completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible. They won’t even notice you’re there. This one sure didn’t. I was able to shoot about 50+ images of this Monarch in less than five minutes.

Want to learn more about the senses of a Monarch? Click here.

Here’s a surefire way to attract Monarchs to your garden—plant milkweed!
Mary Ellen sells common milkweed seeds in her eBay store here. Milkweed is the sole food for the Monarch caterpillar. Adult butterflies can feed on other plants such as this butterfly bush, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed.

Mary Ellen and I crossed paths a few years ago when I purchased seeds from her through eBay. This led to a frequent e-mail exchange, and now I do volunteer design and photography for her organization. I design and produce her quarterly 4-page newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, as well as other marketing materials. You can download the latest issue of the newsletter in pdf format here. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her this past spring.

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





Going, going, (almost) gone!

13 10 2008

It’s late in the gardening season, but the Monarchs are still out in full force, flitting from butterfly bush to butterfly bush. I just photographed this one in the front yard a few minutes ago as he worked his way around this cone of flowers, full circle, then flew away when neighborhood kids went (loudly) by and startled him. I’d like to trim back this bush and put the garden to bed for the coming winter, but as long as the Monarchs are around, I’ll have to postpone my pruning duties. I also saw an American Painted Lady.

Check out the Monarch butterfly poster I designed this past spring for Happy Tonics to use as an educational tool to show what native plants will be grown in the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary being developed in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

You can learn more about Mary Ellen, Happy Tonics, and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat at http://www.happytonics.org/. In addition to utilizing photos from my own archives, other images were provided by Happy Tonics, Jeff Evans (http://evansimagesandart.com), and Brian Loflin (http://www.loflin-images.com/).

Learn more about Monarch butterflies at this site: http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

Want to see more of my butterfly images? Click on any of the links below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/wings-of-fancy/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/a-flash-of-blue/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/wings-for-jennifer/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/28/17/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/meanwhile-in-the-garden/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/hello-world/

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