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Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/13/2016, 2:36 pm

My garden started in 2014 with transplanted pipevine from our old place and milkweed grown from seed. It was just a small space around a tree, lined with rocks from the property and filled with leaf mulch and compost. (We don't have "real" dirt here -- just rocks and clay.) It soon became apparent that my little plot needed protection from our free-range chickens, so Hubby built a makeshift fence around it.

Here's what it looks like now.

Last year, our drought was so bad, I couldn't, grow anything. I had to choose between flushing, bathing, doing laundry, or watering plants. NOT FUN!  Evil or Very Mad

This year, we've had some much-needed rain with even more to come. YEE-HAH!   Hubby and I are now starting a real garden around the original one. The new one will be 16' x 24' with waist-high raised beds around one side. The posts are in. Now it's time to start laying boards. Here's where we are now. More later -- gotta get to work.


Last edited by countrynaturals on 4/13/2016, 2:39 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Hit the wrong button. Grrr!)
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Kelejan on 4/13/2016, 3:16 pm

That looks so interesting. Looking forward to your development.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  sanderson on 4/13/2016, 4:55 pm

Ditto

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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  hammock gal on 4/13/2016, 6:04 pm

What a difference some rain makes. Plants will grow if watered from the faucet, but there's something magic in what falls from the sky. Plants really perk up when it rains. Your little beauty spot is looking good. I hope you get enough rain to keep everything going! Very Happy
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/13/2016, 6:57 pm

Thanks for the interest, y'all. We got a whole lot done today. YEE-HAH!  Laughing

I was really afraid it was going to be ugly, but now I think it's gonna be gorgeous. (Hubby still thinks it's ugly.) It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so there may not be any updates until Friday or Saturday, cuz we may have to make another trip to Home Depot, too.

Here is our first batch of new residents in the butterfly host garden. They're 1st instar pipevine swallowtail caterpillars.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/14/2016, 6:24 pm

Congratulations, suz! I am a recent convert to native plants to support the local ecology! Started last summer, here:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t19666-monarch-supporter

Had a lot of fun. Looking forward to denser plantings of host plants for a variety of pollinators!
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/14/2016, 7:52 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Congratulations, suz!  I am a recent convert to native plants to support the local ecology!  Started last summer, here:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t19666-monarch-supporter

Had a lot of fun.  Looking forward to denser plantings of host plants for a variety of pollinators!
I know what you mean. I didn't have enough pipevine or milkweed last year. This year I thought I'd be in great shape, but I already have dozens of pipevine swallowtail cats. The more I grow, the more they come. I don't think I'll ever get ahead of this game. (Monarchs and frits won't be here until summer, so I don't know how I'll do with milkweed and passionvine.)
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/15/2016, 7:32 pm

Lookin' into pipevine, new one on me.  Looks like tomentosa is my native....cool!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 4/15/2016, 7:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Auto correct not my friend.)
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 7:38 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Lookin' into pipevine, new one on me.  Looks like tomentosa is my native....cool!
They love it here in the Redding, CA area. We had so many in our old yard in Cottonwood that they would form trains and fly around in formation. It was an awesome sight to see. Cool Cool Cool
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/15/2016, 7:55 pm

Were they all trellised?
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 8:38 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Were they all trellised?
Nope. In Cottonwood, our property was completely covered in big old oak trees. The pipevine was just a weed that climbed the trees or ran along the ground as it pleased. When we moved up here (northwest Redding) all we had was a few pipevine plants that we brought with us. Last year a single female found our meager bed and laid a few eggs. Only one survived. This year, we have more than a dozen plants, thriving (climbing trees, trellis, and crawling on the ground). We even transplanted some to a 2nd bed. I thought we were in great shape, but we're having a banner year for butterflies. We already have at least 2 dozen caterpillars. Unfortunately, these little piggies eat more and longer than monarchs. I still don't think we'll have nearly enough pipevine to feed all these hungry little mouths.  Shocked
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 10:09 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:Thanks for the interest, y'all. We got a whole lot done today. YEE-HAH!  Laughing

I was really afraid it was going to be ugly, but now I think it's gonna be gorgeous. (Hubby still thinks it's ugly.) It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so there may not be any updates until Friday or Saturday, cuz we may have to make another trip to Home Depot, too.
Minor setback on the sfg project. These panels are 10' and 12' long. Hubby realized that's too long a span without vertical support. Eventually, all that heavy, wet soil behind them could make them bow out, so today he dug more holes for vertical supports in the middle of each section. Tomorrow, he'll finish the holes, add the supports, and pour cement in the holes. It will probably be a couple of more days before there's anything new to photograph.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2016, 8:11 pm

Got the inside done today. Hopefully, we'll get the liner in tomorrow, then we can start filling it up.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Kelejan on 4/18/2016, 8:16 pm

I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2016, 9:39 pm

@Kelejan wrote:I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
AHA! It has a name! Who knew?  Shocked
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2016, 9:48 pm

@Kelejan wrote:I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
Yikes! I didn't know that was a "thing." The shape may be called a keyhole, but my methods are strictly old-school SFG. Cool
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/18/2016, 10:09 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Were they all trellised?
Nope. In Cottonwood, our property was completely covered in big old oak trees. The pipevine was just a weed that climbed the trees or ran along the ground as it pleased. When we moved up here (northwest Redding) all we had was a few pipevine plants that we brought with us. Last year a single female found our meager bed and laid a few eggs. Only one survived. This year, we have more than a dozen plants, thriving (climbing trees, trellis, and crawling on the ground). We even transplanted some to a 2nd bed. I thought we were in great shape, but we're having a banner year for butterflies. We already have at least 2 dozen caterpillars. Unfortunately, these little piggies eat more and longer than monarchs. I still don't think we'll have nearly enough pipevine to feed all these hungry little mouths.  Shocked

Interesting..... study

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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2016, 10:36 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Were they all trellised?
Nope. In Cottonwood, our property was completely covered in big old oak trees. The pipevine was just a weed that climbed the trees or ran along the ground as it pleased. When we moved up here (northwest Redding) all we had was a few pipevine plants that we brought with us. Last year a single female found our meager bed and laid a few eggs. Only one survived. This year, we have more than a dozen plants, thriving (climbing trees, trellis, and crawling on the ground). We even transplanted some to a 2nd bed. I thought we were in great shape, but we're having a banner year for butterflies. We already have at least 2 dozen caterpillars. Unfortunately, these little piggies eat more and longer than monarchs. I still don't think we'll have nearly enough pipevine to feed all these hungry little mouths.  Shocked

Interesting..... study

Daughter went back down to Cottonwood and brought back some more runners and cuttings. I planted the runners around another tree. If they survive, we'll have 3 pipevine beds. Hopefully that will be enough, once they get established. The cuttings will go into the butterfly house tomorrow, to feed the little monsters in there. The good news is that even though it's difficult to get cuttings to root, they will live for a good long time in water. The same is true of milkweed and passionvine, which makes raising these babies a whole lot easier.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2016, 2:27 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
Yikes! I didn't know that was a "thing." The shape may be called a keyhole, but my methods are strictly old-school SFG. Cool
I've been chewing on this all night. I've always called this a "horseshoe" garden. It looks more like a horseshoe than a keyhole to me and I like it better. Besides, since "keyhole" might confuse people into thinking I use that method, that's another reason not to use that term.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Kelejan on 4/19/2016, 4:13 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
Yikes! I didn't know that was a "thing." The shape may be called a keyhole, but my methods are strictly old-school SFG. Cool
I've been chewing on this all night. I've always called this a "horseshoe" garden. It looks more like a horseshoe than a keyhole to me and I like it better. Besides, since "keyhole" might confuse people into thinking I use that method, that's another reason not to use that term.

I hope you did get some sleep. CD.  Anyway, it is the same principal; it enables a person to reach comfortably into any part of the bed. In your case it seems the tree is the "key".
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2016, 5:30 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:I see you have used the Keyhole approach. I did not notice that before.
Yikes! I didn't know that was a "thing." The shape may be called a keyhole, but my methods are strictly old-school SFG. Cool
I've been chewing on this all night. I've always called this a "horseshoe" garden. It looks more like a horseshoe than a keyhole to me and I like it better. Besides, since "keyhole" might confuse people into thinking I use that method, that's another reason not to use that term.

I hope you did get some sleep. CD.  Anyway, it is the same principal; it enables a person to reach comfortably into any part of the bed. In your case it seems the tree is the "key".
Yup, the tree's the thing! In most parts of the country, folks look for sunny spots to garden. Here in Northern California (which gets hotter than Southern California -- go figure!) we look for shady places to garden. "Full sun" here would fry just about anything we could plant except, possibly, cantaloupe.
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2016, 8:32 pm

This project is kicking my butt!  Sad The weeds are taking over the yard, the aphids are taking over the milkweed, and I'm almost too pooped to type this. WAAAAAA! We have at least another 3 days of work on it and it's supposed to rain on Friday (which we need, so I'm not complaining about that). I'm too old for spring.  sawing logs
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/20/2016, 9:35 pm

Got all the plastic liner finished yesterday. We used bathroom caulking under the seams and pulled the plastic over the top edge, which will get a 2x4 finishing piece next week. Next we watered it down, just in case our plastic had some kind of chemical coating, which I doubt, but can't be too careful.

Today we started filling. We threw all sorts of yard scraps and rocks on the bottom, then nicer wood chips on top of that. Next came aged horse manure. We wetted it all down, then weighted it with boards and rocks. Tomorrow we'll find out if it settles over night. If not, we'll have to pack it down somehow. I did my best Lucy-in-the-wine-vat imitation today -- might have to do that again, tomorrow.

We only got 1/3 of it finished (12 feet). It really wore us out. Tomorrow, we'll either work on the next section, or top off this section and plant some asparagus beens that have out grown their Jiffy Pellets.

Here are 2 pics of our progress from 2 different angles. The first one shows how the quality of fill improves as it gets closer to planting depth. The 2nd one shows our efforts to pack it all down.

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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/20/2016, 9:59 pm

It is a process, and ibuprofen is a godsend!
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Re: Butterfly Junction

Post  countrynaturals on 4/20/2016, 11:35 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:It is a process, and ibuprofen is a godsend!
LOL! Too tired to even think of that.  Rolling Eyes
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