Of course, we have to share the photos of the many little invertebrates that we have seen in our garden this spring.  Unlike last year, when the garden was new, this year we are seeing many different species of caterpillars!  I don't know all of them, but we have seen Black Swallowtail, Monarch, Gulf Coast Frittilary, & a Tersa Sphinx Moth.  We have also seen a few others in our yard and at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, I had the great pleasure of seeing a Spicebush Caterpillar - one of my favorites!  While camping at Brazos Bend State Park, we saw fireflies & dung beetles.  We have also seen great big black fuzzy caterpillars, inchworms that look like twigs, and caterpillars that have horns and eyes!  So many different bugs!

What kinds of critters have you seen?  Have you kept any caterpillars indoors so that you can watch them form their chrysalis and best of all...watch them emerge as a butterfly??  Happy bug watching!!
For help identifying your mystery caterpillars, butterflies, or other bugs, check out these great websites:
Butterflies & Moths of North America
Discover Life 
Gardens With Wings
What's That Bug?
Bug Guide
Insect Identification
eNature
 
 
This spring has brought us many beautiful flowers in our butterfly garden and back yard.  I have been taking photos of these flowers for a few months now and have decided to compile them into a slideshow to share with you.  There are even some flowers that may otherwise be considered the oh-so-scandalous weeds!  However, a plant is only a weed if it is growing somewhere where it is not welcome....all flowers are welcome in our yard!

Our butterfly garden was planted last April and has grown and flourished.  We have really enjoyed seeing the many different critters that come to enjoy the garden.  (Post on critters coming soon!)  This spring, as the plants started to take off growing again, I transplanted the purple porter weed and some of the fennel to my back yard where they would have more room to grow and could take up as much space as needed.  To fill in a few gaps, Riley & I sprinkled a butterfly seed mix which has quickly filled up our little garden and surprised us with a huge variety of flowers to enjoy.

If I had to pick favorites, I would say the Jasmine & Gardenia have the most lovely aroma, but the Passionflower and Hibiscus are probably my most favorite to look upon.  What do you have growing in your yard?  What are your family's favorite flowers?
 
 
My friend and I dyed Easter Eggs naturally, using the water from boiled fruits, vegetables, & spices.  We added designs to our eggs by using plants from my butterfly garden as a stencil, attaching the plant to the egg with a piece of nylon before soaking it in the dye.  

We used:
Onion skins
Red cabbage
Beets
Spinach
Turmeric
Blueberries

My favorite is the red cabbage - it turned out to be such a beautiful shade of blue!  The beets made a lovely rose color, the onion skins turned a deep orange, turmeric a light & bright yellow, and the blueberries made a speckled gray/brown color that another friend said looked like a dinosaur egg!  The spinach barely changed the egg to a pale grey, so I switched those eggs over to the turmeric instead.  I think perhaps we didn't have a high enough spinach to water ratio.

Check out Two Men and a Little Farm for a beautiful chart of color options!  

Sources:
Adventures in Cooking
Big Sis Lil Sis
A Storybook Life