PINNING UP THE EGGS

Sometimes female butterflies find the ‘ perfect ‘ site on which to lay their precious eggs. She is quite capable of depositing 100 eggs. This can be quite overwhelming for the host plant and in order to avoid starvation of all the caterpillars, transplanting of the eggs is required.

We simply pin the leaves on which the eggs are on to a new area. Pinning causes little damage to the host plant and the eggs continue to develop, uninterrupted, on the underside of the plant away from the rain and eyes of predators.

These are spicebush swallowtail eggs and caterpillars being transferred to fresh spicebush host plants.

IN SEARCH OF UNIQUE HAWTHORNS

This is the year we are readjusting our mindset, at the nursery, in regards to what we thought were valuable additions to the landscape. Many trees and shrubs that we believed to be of little or no value are now getting a second chance. Turns out it is all in the eye of the beholder. What is no worth to someone is someone else s gold.

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We had blindly listened to opinions stating trees such as poplar and hawthorn were garbage trees and not worth planting. But, you know, these opinions were based 40 years ago and our southern Ontario landscape and environment has changed greatly. Now when I take a second look at the hawthorn I see a tree ready made for disturbed soil locations, abandoned hay fields and hot, open lots. They tolerate no shade and are perfectly suited to our present day environment. As a pioneer, and restoration species, it is at the top of the list.

In North America, we have a vast variety of hawthorn. Unfortunately, since this is not a sought after species, most of the varieties are not found at nurseries. That spurred us on to conduct a survey to find local, wild hawthorns. So far, we have tentatively identified 5 varieties and will have to wait till the Fall to verify our findings. The fruit will definitively determine the varieties.

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MEMORIAL TREES

Trees invoke feelings deep inside of us.  Have you ever felt how quiet a forest feels; almost like standing in an empty, quiet church.  Or sometimes we feel sad when we plant a tree for a deceased loved one in an arboretum.

We have memorial trees, here, but they make us smile and relive fun moments with loved ones.  Once such tree is our beautiful northern Catalpa.  Every summer when she blooms we remember Grandpa Bill and smile and recount the story as we have coffee admiring the blooms.

Twenty years ago, Grandpa Bill, had an oddly shaped Catalpa in the backyard.  Every year his wife would shout at him to chain saw down that misshapen tree but Bill would say, ‘ Look how beautiful it is blooming.  Let’s wait till it has finished flowering before we saw it down.’   Of course, it got too hot then and maybe we should wait till the fall to chop it down.

This went on for many years and the tree still remains in the backyard – misshapen.  Bill passed away and before the house and property were sold we dug up some baby Catalpa and transferred them to our house.  4 are placed all around the house and when they bloom his grandchildren remember Grandpa and his Catalpa.  There are no tears just smiles as we retell the story.  The story never seems to get old.

So you see, memorial trees need not be a sad affair.  I think they can remind us of loved ones; it is up to us what feelings the tree will invoke.