Late June on the Hellstrip

The Hellstrip becomes a living rainbow – a riot of color and life. Flame red Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella) burst through the fading milkweed blossoms. A mature Asclepias tuberosa is enchantingly bright and beautiful. Towards the east end of the strip, a large cluster of bright white daisies seem to look at us with cheerfulContinue reading “Late June on the Hellstrip”

Garden in the Woods

Garden in the Woods is a botanical garden which is singular for its focus on the exhibition of native plants.  Nestled in the heart of busy Middlesex County, Garden in the Woods is a peaceful sanctuary.  Visitors enjoy rustic trails which are dotted with different biomes.  We started out on a pathway of sun dappledContinue reading “Garden in the Woods”


All at once, the milkweed have bloomed. The air is redolent with their heady perfume. My Hellstrip plantings seem to facilitate conversation about milkweed. I have had many great chats with the people who have stopped to both admire and ask questions about the growth. In my mind, Milkweed is a vital part of theContinue reading “Rejoice!”

Spicebush Swallowtails

Beautiful, fragrant flowers may attract butterflies with their enticing nectar. However, to truly have a successful butterfly garden, you need to invest in host plants. Host plants provide for the specific dietary needs of caterpillars. Monarchs need milkweed. Painted Ladies need thistles or mallows. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails need native trees such as wild black cherry,Continue reading “Spicebush Swallowtails”

Two Large, Three Small, One Hatchling, Five Chrysalids

Exciting changes in the Monarch enclosure! Yesterday, I woke up to three new chrysalids. One was hidden in a precarious place. It was attached to a wilting milkweed stalk. Thanks to the advice of two of my friends, I was able to remove the branch and sew it to the top of the mesh enclosure.Continue reading “Two Large, Three Small, One Hatchling, Five Chrysalids”