Thursday in the Naturehood

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We are on full chrysalis alert in the pollinator garden.  Four monarch butterfly caterpillars were hatched on our milkweed ... but no chrysalis has been found.  All eyes are on the movement of this last hungry caterpillar (who devoured the leaf pictured within an hour.)  Caterpillars often journey as much as 30 feet to form a chrysalis.  Entomologists speculate that they leave their host plants to protect themselves from predators - so there is a good possibility that this one will soon disappear, as well.  In the meantime, we're canvassing the naturehood to find the three pupae varying forms of transformation.  Stay tuned.


Tuesday Treasures

August 22

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Who Is Black-Eyed Susan?

Have you ever wondered how the most beloved wildflower got its name?  Who was this infamous black-eyed Susan?  Well, of course, it’s a legend – dating back to the 17th century, immortalized by the poet John Gay.   “All in the downs, the fleet was moored, banners waving in the wind… when black-eyed Susan came aboard, and eyed the burly men…  ‘Tell me ye sailors, tell me true… does my sweet William sail with you?’ ”   Apparently, sailor Bill bid the distraught lass a fond farewell, with his promise to remain “safe and true” while on the high seas.  But alas, the lass still waits, her eye(s) blackened with tears.

Because Susan is a North American native,  English colonists, no doubt, gave this golden beauty its name when they arrived in the New World.  If you seed Black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia hirta) with Sweet William ( Dianthus barbaus) they will bloom beautifully for you at exactly the same time!!