Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Beautiful Blue Garden Surprise!

Much to my surprise, a tall plant with dark blue buds suddenly appeared in my garden in early May.  I never planted it, so the birds must have done it for me!  I watched it grow taller, and eagerly awaited the blooming of the many flowers along the branched stalk.  After several weeks, I was rewarded for my patience.

Pretty Blue Wild Lupine 

Isn't it a beauty?  I love the deep blue color.  It reminds me of a sweet pea. 
In my research I also found that it is a wild lupine which grows all over the U.S.  But this blue color is the only one that grows in my  NYS region.  All the rest are shades of blue, purple, orange and yellow.  Actually, lupines are a member of the pea and clover family. 

 I also learned that the wild lupine is an essential plant for the larvae of the Karner Blue Butterfly.  If the little caterpillars don't find a lupine around, they won't survive.  It's their only food source!

Karner Blue Butterfly from NYS Dept. of Conservation

I'm looking forward to possibly seeing a Karner Blue--that would be awesome.
See pictures and learn more about the connection between wild lupines and the KarnerBlue Butterfly in an article written by Kim Mitchell and Cathy Carnes.

How to grow lupines:

Preferred soil conditions are sandy dry soil in full sun to semi-shady conditions in a cool climate.  Mine is growing in one of my semi-shaded gardens here in the woods, but they are also found on open savannas, and recently logged or burned areas.  Their seeds need snow cover to protect them over the winter. 

Blooming in late May through June, they produce seed pods, which pop open and spread their seeds.   You'll know when that is about to happen because the pods will turn black.  And then the lupines will die back in July.  When the Karner Blue Butterfly larvae hatch, they browse on the leaves of the lupine.  It takes a lot of lupine leaves to ensure the butterfly larvae will survive to metamorphosize into adult butterflies.

Learn more about collecting and replanting seeds from Ellen Brown in her article here:



Shauna L Bowling said...

What a beautiful surprise for your garden, Pearl! Since they like sandy soil, perhaps one of your birds will bring some to me when they migrate south this year!

Connie Smith said...

Great idea! I hope they do--these are really pretty wildflowers. Still no sign of the caterpillars that love to eat them. Maybe after this rain passes!