Two friends, a mother and daughter, have been raising monarch caterpillars at home. Monarchs subsist solely on a diet of milkweed, and having run out of their homegrown supply, I recently received a SOS text (from my friend, not the caterpillars!). Where could they locate more milkweed to feed the VERY hungry caterpillars? The next evening we drove around until we found some, and now I can’t stop looking for it –and getting excited when I see it. Loss of habitat for milkweed is one of the main reasons the monarch butterfly is in decline.

I spotted these milkweeds on the side of the W&OD trail one recent day while riding my bike. I am charmed by the chartreuse leaf, the course texture, and of course the huge seed pods.  When ripe, the pods open to cast their fluffy seeds to the wind.



giant tree spade in action

Back in July, I had the great pleasure of going on a tour of the beautiful Ruppert Nurseries in Laytonsville, MD. The highlight of the tour was a tree spade demonstration with their shiny, new, extra-large tree spade. Before that day, I’d seen tree spades, and I’d seen large balled & burlapped trees, but I’d never seen how the one made the other happen. Neat stuff. Follow this link to an album of photos and short video clips to see for yourself!

zelkova in a tree spade