Archive | June, 2014

Gourd Birdhouse

29 Jun


Have you seen the apple-shaped birdhouse hanging from the tree near the picnic tables? It’s a birdhouse hand-crafted from a gourd, by Linda, seen in this photo with Benji and her product. We met Linda and her wares at a farmers’ market in Berlin, Maryland this weekend while we were visiting my parents.

According to Linda, who grows, cleans, dries, stains and seals each gourd herself, the hole is just the right size for song birds, but too small for much else…I don’t know much about birdhouses but I thought this was both cute and cool. Any concerns? Questions? Deb says the hole placement may be problematic as it can collect rain water…I’m not too sure but will defer to the group. –Denise




Fundraiser Tonight, 5pm-7pm

21 Jun
Join Us To Celebrate! Gather round to enjoy homemade food, drinks, and everything that’s special about CVEarthlab garden at our fundraiser this evening! Missed the RSVP deadline? You’re still very welcome!  Bring something we always need, like ice, wine/beer or fruit!  You can still get in on the door prize fun by purchasing raffle tickets.


5pm-7pm Tonight!

Suggested Donation: $10 per person, $25 per family.   There’s much that’s new to celebrate. The new snap peas and lettuces and growing tomatoes and basil (most of which we grew from seed!), to be sure, but also:

This is the work of donations and volunteer labor (thanks especially to Lee, Keith, Karin, and Judy for their assistance and supplies this season so far!), so let’s celebrate it!

We need more members to support this amazing, self-funded resource!  We ask members to donate $10 per person (or $25 per family) to help us with the costs of keeping our garden safe, functioning, and growing (in addition to the bigger projects above, seeds, plant supports, compost — it all adds up!).  We also need volunteers to help water and supply more mulchJoin us to celebrate and learn more about what we do and what we need! Thank you.


Euthamia caroliniana (Slender Goldentop)

19 Jun

“Euthamiacaroliniana” © MaryKeim CC-BY-NC-SA 



Euthamia carolinian a (Slender Goldentop) is a perennial that blooms in late summer. Part of the Aster family, this type of goldenrod produces small yellow flowers that attract bees and butterflies. According to the NYBG directory, once the flowers turn into seeds, they are eaten by several types of song birds.


Source list:

Euthamia caroliniana” by Mary Keim is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA



Look Who Is Eating the Carrot Greens!

17 Jun

Look who is eating the carrot green!

Focus on the carrot top in the center of the photo.

It’s fuzzy–and small–but I’m fairly certain it is

an early stage black swallowtail, the first instar larva.

Must be an early stage black swallowtail, the first instar larva.

Welcome little fella! I’m looking forward to watching

you get fat on the carrot leaves!


Plant Markers

17 Jun

Plant Markers

We’ve begun to put in plant markers identifying the various vegetables and flowers growing in and around the garden. Watch for more in the days to come.

Test yourself: How many plants can you identify without looking at the tags?

What’s In Our Butterfly Garden

16 Jun

Over the past two years, CVEarthlab has acquired many butterfly host and nectar plants, in addition to our butterfly bushes.  These include:

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail checks out CVEarthlab.

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail checks out CVEarthlab.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Monarch in September #3

Cunila origanoides L. Britton (stonemint, frost mint, dittany)

16 Jun
Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

The common dittany, (Cunila origanoides L.), is a herbaceous perennial and a member of the mint family.  The name means “like oregano” and from July to September/October, the plant shows purplish flowers. In late autumn or early winter, it can create “frost flowers” when the water pushes out of the roots and freezes in the form of tiny ice sculptures. In warmer weather, the  flowers attract butterflies, skippers, bees and other insects.

Source list: USDA, NRCS. 2014. The PLANTS Database (, 16 June 2014). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA;; Plants for a Future database (; The Green Farmacy Garden ( MDC Online ( )






Solidago L. (Goldenrod)

14 Jun


Solidago, common name goldenrod, is a perennial plant that blooms with yellow flowers August through October. It can crossbreed with other plants, and today there are at least 130 species in the United States. Several butterflies eat goldenrod nectar, including Orange Sulphur, Gray Hairstreak, American Lady and Monarch.

Source list:;;





Anethum graveolens L.  (Dill)

14 Jun


Dill is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies. Watch for the caterpillars!

Dill is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies. Watch for the caterpillars!


Dill is an annual, self-seeding plant. Along with carrots, parsley and fennel, Dill acts as a host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.

 Source list: Monarch Watch; Bronx Green-Up (NYBG)USDA



Rudbeckia hirta L.

14 Jun


Various types of Rudbeckia are called black-eyed Susans. Rudbeckia is a perennial native plant that is considered to be one of the 20 most valuable plants in terms of supporting biodiversity in our region. It supports 17 Lepidoptera, or insects such as butterflies, moths and skippers.

I suspect the nectar of the flowers is what interests the insects. I’m not positive, but I believe the actual plant that I bought in the Greenmarket in early June, then transplanted outside the edible garden, near the shed, is Rudbeckia hirta L. (Please feel free to comment if you think I am wrong–even half wrong:)  Without a doubt, the Rudbeckia plant genus is a very valuable addition to the wildlife in our backyard. –Denise

Learn more via this source list: University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (; ;







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