Thursday, October 14, 2021

GREEN SPRING GARDENS - PART 2 - 9-2-21

Continuing our visit to Green Spring Gardens, I have shared some of the flowers from my previous post, with the addition of a Tiger Swallowtail. There were many that day.  The Creeping Zinnia and Bluemist Flower I have shared before.

Next you can see the fruit of the Jujube. Jujube fruits are eaten fresh, dried, boiled, stewed and baked, and are used to flavor tea. 
They resemble Persian dates and when made into glacé fruits by boiling in honey and sugar syrup, they resemble dates and are sometimes known as Chinese dates.  Juice obtained from the fruits is used in making small candies called jujubes.  The raw fruits are high in Vitamin C.  
Most are varieties of the common jujube (Z.jujuba), native to China, where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. They have small yellow flowers followed by dark, brown, round to oblong fruits the size of small plums.
Cardoon (in the photo below and also shared in previous posts) is a type of thistle.  It tastes like a bitter version of a giant artichoke, and has small, prickly flower heads.  Unlike the artichoke, you eat the stems not the flower buds.  The edible part looks like a celery stalk.  The ones in my photo have all gone to seed.  I wish I had taken photos earlier when they showed their prettier version, but there's a certain beauty in these too.  It is a perennial that is planted in late January to February and harvested in early spring.
The next interesting flower is called the Klip dagga.  Its common names are Christmas candlestick, Bald bush and Lion's tail.  Botanical name is Leonotis nepetifolia.  Some of the stalks towered above my head and I read that it grows up to 10 feet.  It is native to tropical Central Africa and southern India.  The petal colors range from purple to orange to red.  The nectar has a sweet grapefruit taste, and many parts of this bitter plant have been used in traditional medicines. It likes full to partial sun and is moderately drought tolerant and prefers well-drained soils. 
I always enjoy looking at what is growing in the garden.  I wished that I could get closer but it has a tall, see-thru barricade.  To protect it from any hungry deer and other animals no doubt.  
We do have a good view of what is growing.  The pumpkins are the first thing that caught my attention.  There are lots of fruit trees in the garden also.   
I found a Skipper on a Mexican Sunflower.  Skippers remind me of a cross between between a butterfly and a moth.  
They are generally small but their wings have powerful muscles for such a tiny creature, and enables them to fly up to speeds of 20 miles per hour (30 km).   
A butterfly that I see a lot of in the warmer months is the Tiger Swallowtail, and it can be found from Canada to Mexico.  It is widespread and numerous in the wild and fortunately not on the endangered species list.  
Males have yellow wings covered with black stripes.  Borders of the wings are black with yellow spots.  Hind wings end with 2 black wing tails.  Females look just like males with additional blue markings on the hind wings.  Certain percent of females have completely brown or black wings with faint stripes.  
The Tiger swallowtail has a straw-like tube in the mouth which functions like a flexible tongue designed for the suction of liquids.  This is curled into a spiral when it is not in use.  They visit oregano, purple coneflowers, zinnias and the butterfly bush to extract nectar from the flowers.  It occasionally consumes juice extracted from the overripe fruit.  
They can be seen in the wild from February to November.  It has a wingspan of 4 to 5 inches, and usually moves by gliding through the air.  It can also lose one of its wing tails after a close encounter with a predator, and is still be able to fly. A female produces 2 to 3 broods in a lifecyle.  She lays yellowish-green, spherical eggs on wild cherry, tulip tree, white ash and sweet bay.  Leaves on these plants are a basic source of food for the caterpillars (larvae that hatch from the eggs).  Nests made of leaves and silk are used as shelter from predators.  The egg stage is generally from 4 to 10 days, depending on temperature and host plant.  The caterpillar (larval) stage is 3 to 4 weeks.  The Chrysalis (pupal) stage is 10-20 days (except for overwintering pupae) and the adult butterfly stage if 6-14 days.
There is an interesting website at this link telling us all about the Mexican Sunflower.  It has other common names, Tree marigold, Japanese sunflower, Nitobe chrysanthemum and its botanical name is Tithonia diversifolia.  I have taken several photos in previous posts from my visits to Green Spring Gardens.  It is a native to Mexico and other regions in Central America, but will readily grow in any tropical climate.  It has been used for cultural and culinary purposes in Japan, and as the regional flower in certain parts of Thailand and Vietnam.
Since writing this post we have made another visit to the garden a few days ago.  I was amazed at how many flowers were blooming.  We are very grateful to all the hardworking people who keep this garden going, not only the staff but all volunteers.  A lot of hard work but I would imagine a labor of love. 

You can see Part 1 and Part 3 if you click on their links. 






46 comments:

  1. Interesting Denise and how lovely are your photos of the butterfly on the flower. Well done.

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  2. The Cardoon is so unusual and strangely mysterious. I have never seen such a plant, it looks like fur. I remember jujubes candy! So it is made from the juice of this jujube plant? The Swallowtail is glorious!

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    1. Thanks Ginny and I have never had jujube candy but probably they are the same :)

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  3. Beautiful images! Interesting information about plants that I'm not familiar with.

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    1. Hi Linda and thank you, so glad you found them interesting :)

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  4. Thank you for yet another beautiful (and sometimes spectacular) walk.

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    1. You are very welcome Sue. The flowers can be very spectacular :)

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  5. The picture of the Cardoon really caught my eye. Beautiful shots. What a wonderful garden this is.

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  6. Wow. Beautiful images and fantastic commentary on the plants and winged insects.

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    1. Obrigado pelos seus comentários muito gentis :) Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

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  8. Hello Denise,
    I love all the zinnias, pretty captures of the Butterflies. Lovely collection of photos. Take care, enjoy your day!

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  9. can you hear my wild clapping for your skills with your camera. these are each and every one spectacular.. I can't even pick a favorite, they are all winners and I want one of the Klip Daggas, never seen before and I LOVE IT

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comments Sandra :) I only know the Klip Daggas from this garden.

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  10. Gardening is not for wimps for sure. Lots of hard consistent work goes into a beautiful garden! Great photos and information Denise.

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    1. Thank you Ellen, always appreciate your comments :)

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  11. Interesting to learn of this jujube fruit.

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  12. Hello Dennise, Wonderful detailed commentary of this beautiful garden. I enjoyed reading all about the unusual plants I had never heard of before, and the beautiful images of both flowers and butterflies. I also was amazed that the tiny Skippers can fly up to 30 km an hour.Wow, amazing!!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed :) Yes, who knew those tiny Skippers could fly that fast.

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  13. How very beautiful, D! Thank you

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    1. You are very welcome Cloudia and thank you :)

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  14. you do such gorgeous close-ups of the butterflies - gorgeous! thanks for the information on the new plants (for me).

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    1. Hi Carol, happy you enjoyed and you are very welcome :)

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  15. Lovely photographs, the close-ups are amazing.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan, so glad you enjoyed. All the best to you too :)

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  16. I so would love to vist this place, or wish there was one close by to visit. Christmas Candlestick...a person would have to love it for its name alone. And you sure got some wonderful shots the Tiger Swallowtail.

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    1. The name for that flower is a delight isn't it Rose? :) Thank you!

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  17. Our season is so much shorter here! Love the visit!

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    1. That's great Jenn, happy you loved your visit :) Thank you!

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  18. Such lovely bright photos of your visit, Denise! I always learn something from you. We had a sweet little Skipper on our Rosemary this afternoon. I had no idea he can fly 20 mph! The swallowtail photos sure do make my heart sing. Thank you for sharing your photos and information!

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    1. Thank you Martha, always enjoy my visits to you and I am happy you feel the same way, and you are so very welcome :)

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  19. Those gardens have a lot of unique plants. I'm impressed, but not surprised, at the amount of research you did to tell us about them.

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    1. How kind, thank you Yogi :) The research is what makes it fun for me. Love learning anything I can.

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  20. There are plants that I've never seen here in the UK so your information and photos are interesting. You have quite a few butterflies enjoying the nectar and the sunshine. We've not seen many in our locality this year probably because of the changeable weather and breezy conditions.

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    1. Hello Linda, that makes a lot of sense with your weather and the butterflies. I am so glad we saw these at our garden :)

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  21. Gorgeous photos, Denise! Thank you for sharing this beautiful garden with all of us. Have a terrific weekend.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed them Kay and you are very welcome :) I hope your weekend was a great one.

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