Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Painted Ladies

Our Painted Lady butterflies began to emerge today!  I had ordered 13 caterpillars a few weeks ago.  They grew incredibly fast and it didn't take long for them to begin the last cycle in their metamorphosis.  Their chrysalis, though not as beautiful as a monarch's is also a thing of wonder.  It's gold flecks appear almost immediately.

It took a little over a week for them to develop.  Today was the first day we saw colour through the chrysalis.  I observed them after dinner and they were still intact.  During story-time one of the girls surprised us with, "There's a butterfly!"   Of course the book we were reading was put on hold as we all marveled at the creation!

These butterflies are not as big and as showy as monarchs, though wonderful just the same.  The under side of the wings is especially beautiful.
One of my students quickly dispatched to bring an orange for it to feed on when ready.

Amazingly, that is where it was when I came back to school this evening.  Two more butterflies were testing their wings!

With painted Ladies, if you keep them for two weeks, they are ready to begin the cycle again.  Hopefully we will be able to care for some long enough to see the eggs and watch the complete cycle.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Everything Grows...

There's a new greenhouse on the grounds!  A long awaited one I should add.  It is under cover now and already housing many of the plants which by now would have been crammed into cold-frames near the old tiny one.

It is well situated across the road from the school.  My luck!    

I walked over this afternoon to see what was happening and took pictures of those flowers starting to bloom.  I am not that into annuals, but who can resist the beautiful colours of these beauties.

A selection of shade-loving variegated coleus is stowed away from the sun under the shelves.

Not only the flowers are maturing, but a trailer full of vegetables are hardening off outside waiting to be planted tomorrow.  

This particular tractor, 'A' as we call it, happens to be a favourite with the kids.  They were disappointed this year when the John Deere was used to pull the trailer for their annual colony clean-up excursion.  I guess it makes for a more authentic experience!