Alex and Erin Grady come to help their mother, who gardens with
us in the Detroit Zoo Adopt-A-Garden program. During our last
session Janet gave the twins a camera and asked them to record
"whatever looks good today." Their photos provided us a great way
to see what children may notice as they visit the zoo, and
coincidentally, the gardens.
More Kids' Views!
Notice the focus in their photo record? It shows in this collage
of their snapshots. It wasn't the paths, the grand entries, the
combinations... their photo collage consisted almost entirely of
flowers. The kids took note of everything in bloom, from the low
and tiny to the largest and most exalted.
We know they saw and gave many other things a pass, for they
didn't miss the caterpillars. Their sharp eyes saved this batch of
monarchs -- we quickly reversed our decision to pull all the
We'll keep that focus in mind: For the kids, plant more flowers,
and succor more caterpillars!
This year our Detroit Zoo beds have a three-for-three
caterpillar hosting success. Our milkweed has monarchs, the black
swallowtails have claimed the fennel, and the pearly everlasting
(Anaphalis margaritacea) is supporting quite the crowd of
American painted lady butterfly larvae. Cool!
Below: American painted lady larvae can make a host plant
look bad, as they knit leaf tips together and their excrement
accumulates in those shelters. Yet they finish feeding long before
the plants need to bud up to bloom. So the plant's new growth
covers over any mess.
See the caterpillar? It does take an expert eye!