I didn't really know much about Monarchs until I started to hear about their decline. And, honestly, I don't know if I still know much except they only reproduce on milkweed. And in Iowa we have spent time getting rid of all kinds of milkweed for various reasons. And now....we are all trying to bring them back!
I have two types in my yard; common milkweed and butterfly milkweed. I have them in my yard because Eric, the father of the five sons, is way more passionate about Monarchs for way more reasons than mine...I think they are lovely and beautiful. I am simply fascinated by creation.
So imagine my surprise when I came across this red beetle. I have never seen one before. They live happily on milkweed along side Monarchs.
I think it's really important to find reputable information on the internet. So I turned to Iowa State Extension. Click on the link below for a great article on milkweed insects. Enjoy!
What do you know about tulips? They are super easy to grow and will provide years of beauty to your property. They can provide the first burst of color into a drab spring yard. Even if you don't do all the proper things to your tulips they will still grow. They just may potentially not be as full and lush as they could be. And, honestly, the care involved is simple and takes very little time. So your small investment in a few bulbs will really pay. We have also moved bulbs around that were already in existence on our property and with just some care they are multiplying beautifully.
We all know how busy life can become and how easily it is to just pop in and out of our homes without taking time to look at spring. It is time to stop pruning your trees until next winter. Why? Because even though it looks like nothing is happening, there is a lot happening within the trees. The sap is moving up the tree and if a branch is trimmed the nutrient within the sap is lost. The sweetness of the sap can also attract insects and disease.
Everything looks pretty dreary and dead right now, but in just a few short weeks it will all have a green fresh tint. Take the time to look at the trees in your yard to see what's happening.
River Birch buds up close
Silver maple - take the time to look up
Viburnum buds up close
Viburnum bushes - from a distance it seems there is nothing going on. But, once again, these are bushes and can be trimmed when time allows. However, I would also wait until they have leafed out and aren't putting so much energy into spring growth.
As days shorten in the fall and temperatures gradually cool, leaves stop producing chlorophyll and the pigments that give maples their bright red fall foliage become exposed. At the same time, the branches start to form "abscission" cells that push off the dying leaves (aided by wind) and seal the little openings where the stems attach.
A sudden cold snap can short-circuit that process. Not only does the leaf color go directly from green to brown, the leaves stay attached because abscission tissue hadn't sufficiently developed.
We believe this is what happened with our Japanese Maple last fall. We had quite an early cold snap in October. This picture was taken two days ago with the leaves still in tact. We will simply wait and watch and hope the tree survives and new spring growth will push the dead leaves off of the tree.
If you have a tree like this in your yard, just allow nature to run its course. We will be keeping a close watch on our two year old tree this spring to make sure all is well.
Creating beautiful outdoor spaces with passion, honesty, and integrity.