Welcome to my Garden Blog

Nature. Wild & untouched. Photographing it, preserving it, taking walks & drinking in the landscapes as they unfold.

Gardens. Touched by loving hands. Cultivated, nurtured. Drinking in those landscapes is wonderful, as well.

In my garden one enjoys some of both. Generally unpruned & wild, my plants reshape the garden as they grow. Beyond its borders, natives from the Santa Monica Mtns. await. Oaks with their shady canopies. Cactus & Sage in the sun.

And always there are animal creatures to join in the fun.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you as they unfold.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Butterfly Kind of Day~

                   Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Photo Courtesy of LasPilitasNursery

Today was a day for butterflies.  I saw (3) Monarchs at Las Leones Park today (in the Santa Monica Mtns near the Beach), or maybe it was the same one (3) times!  Anyway, it felt nice to watch them in the 70dg day of mid-February.  Next, I moved on to Warner Park in Woodland Hills (the Valley).    I didn’t expect to see any butterflies but, what to my wondering eyes DID I see but a yellow swallowtail, swooping from high up in the pine trees, and then a brown butterfly.  I started to photograph the swallowtail, but it was too fast! Then the brown started to chase the swallowtail, also too fast for me. 

Then the brown decided my head was of interest – so he flew directly AT me!  I moved to get a shot, and he backed off and tried again just moments later, and yet again.  I figured out that he was interested in the sweat on my brow (80dgs here). He most likely had just hatched due to the warm temps, (he was very fresh and perky) and the swallowtail, too.  I finally gave up on the shot. Then, the brown butterfly came to me. 

First, I felt the soft drag of his feet in my hair. I held still while a squirrel on a nearby tree trunk looked on in good humor, I suppose.   “Lady, do you know you have a butterfly in your hair?” Then the butterfly moved to my hand, and I could watch him close up, see a bit of blue along his brown body. We regarded each other for a long time.  Then, up and away. I put down my camera and watched while ANOTHER brown butterfly met up with him! Together they whirled and  twirled until I lost sight of the pair. 

While most of the country was cold and full of snow and ice, here it was an amazing butterfly kind of day~

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Magic of Monarchs in Winter

                           Monarch Nectaring on Baccharis salicifolia,
                           Leo Carillo State Park, Photo by Kathy Vilim

I could scarcely believe my eyes! A large orange Monarch waited for me to go get my camera, flirting, attending to the puffy blossoms of Baccharis salicifolia (commonly called Mule Fat) and flashing his open wings at me.  I couldn't believe my luck :-)

I have been seeing Monarchs at this campground in Northern Malibu, near the coast for about six weeks now. I still wonder if they overwinter here or fly on to one of the better known overwintering spots to the north.  This one was out in mid-day, enjoying the warm sunshine, in no hurry to return to the shade of Eucalyptus trees.

It is so special to see the Monarchs.. the way they fly, their large wings make their movements slow, proud and graceful. It was the best Christmas present nature could have given me that day, as I shared the moment with a friend who had never seen a Monarch before!

I will give you an update soon on the numbers of West Coast Monarchs that Xerces.org will come up with after Dec.31st.  Also, you can read more at http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/monarchs-on-christmas-eve.html

May Nature fill your Holidays with Wonder!