Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Monarch caterpillars on swamp milkweed in Quebec

My gardening companion spotted these monarch caterpillars today and took this photo.  I'd just made a mental note yesterday that the swamp milkweed flowers were about to open.  Totally exciting to see these caterpillars, even if the flowers on this shoot seem to be their primary food source.  Leaves on another shoot were also being eaten.

monarch caterpillars on swamp milkweed
It was a surprise to us;  I'd see monarchs in the Eastern Townships and northern Vermont on a recent excursion, but hadn't see any here.

We're at about the farthest point north that monarchs get, here in Bas St. Laurent, at the base of the Gaspé Peninsula.

Here from Journey North is a distribution map. The arrow indicates where we are.

Monarch range in North America in summer

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Monday, July 29, 2019

gardening in Quebec

Some thoughts about gardening and wild foraging posted on my sister blog: Places of the Spirit

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mushrooms and strawberries

At the local market in the village of Le Bic this afternoon, I saw both Quebec strawberries (from the Ile d’Orleans, near Quebec City, and which have been in the market for awhile) as well as these truly local ones from Bic.


I also saw these beautiful cremini mushrooms from Ontario - perfect.

They have an interesting story.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I've been doing more posts lately on Places of the Spirit, but this one seems more at home here.

These are peppers that don't appear in our U.S. markets, but I keep seeing them here.  They're called red field peppers, and are grown in Mexico.  They seem to be large red pepper varieties that flourish somewhere in Mexico and are packaged in 4-packs for the markets here.  They're always somewhat unusual shapes; early in summer, they looked more like Italian frying peppers on steroids; now they look like unusual, and oddly shaped, bell peppers.

I chopped up an even more interestingly shaped one this evening.
Red field peppers
This last photograph picked up the bar code on the package, which led to their website, for Frescadel.

I rather appreciate that they're selling peppers that are a bit unusual-looking under the rubric of "field peppers!"

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lonicera sempervirens

I never expected to see our native (from the Southeastern U.S) Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in flower next to a historic house in the village of Le Bic, even though our cultivar on the arbor has parentage from it.

It's native to the Southeastern U.S., and is generally well-behaved, although I was sorry to see in this Missouri Botanical Garden characterization, that it's escaping outside of cultivation in some places.

It's pretty darn impressive in this nicely pruned specimen in Le Bic; the perfoliate leaves and abundant flowers attest to the careful pruning.

It's hardy to Zone 4, joining its fellow SE denizens, Baptisia australis and Aesculus pavia, in extending their hardiness WAY beyond their natural ranges.

Coral honeysuckle


Friday, July 12, 2019

Lonicera x 'Mandarin' revisited

I've been admiring the Mandarin honeysuckle on our arbor;  it was a new plant to me last year, and happily is a sterile cultivar, developed by folks at UBC.

There are other lovely honeysuckles here that aren't so benign; a delightful-looking bush honeysuckle (Tartarian honeysuckle) now in fruit is apparently a rampant invasive in Ontario, and has popped up in Parc National du Bic and other "wild" places that we've visited recently.  It's not a species that we grow in the SE United States, so I wasn't familiar with it.  Attractive, but not in relatively undisturbed places.

A closer look at the Mandarin honeysuckle as we left for dinner this evening had us admiring the lovely hue of its flowers.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

A trio of cans (for debris, recycling, and compost)

A walk in our nearby village of Le Bic found this remarkable trio of cans.

On the far left is the trash can, with the frowling image.  The middle can is the recycling bin, with the salute image.  The smiling image is reserved for the compost bin.  Delightful!

We don't use our compost bin much, as we have the handy compost in place site down pat (it's over the fence, easily covered with a bit of soil, as needed.  We also have the chicken manure and horse manure site, too, so we have compost covered.

Woody, who's now an old boy at almost 11, is learning how to go up and down a ramp to our cars.  His leg that had the draconian knee ligament reconstruction for big dogs has finally gotten problematic (he was lucky it took this long).

Down is easy, sometimes I have to demonstrate going up for him to follow!

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