April 29, 2012
The work party in Elyria Canyon Park today had a modest attendance, and those who came to work watered plants and put some seedlings into the butterfly garden, including bush lupines and bush sunflowers. Bunch grass seedlings were also planted in an approximately 10 square foot patch in the meadow near the red barn. These tender plants will need to be watered with some regularity during the hot summer to ensure that they can survive their first year, but after that, they will need only sporadic care, most significantly weeding to keep non-native plants from competing for precious water.
After much searching, members of the beautification committee eventually located some native stinging nettles. This is not a plant that is normally available at nurseries, and the committee wanted to introduce the plant into Elyria Canyon Park as part of the butterfly garden since it is a native larval host for the Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, a cheerful dark colored butterfly with bright orange-red bands on each of its wings. Though there have been Red Admiral sightings in Elyria Canyon Park this season, the fast flying butterflies have proven very elusive and they have not been willing to pose for the camera. This somewhat tattered specimen was photographed in a private garden on Burnell Drive where they frequently sun themselves in the late afternoon hours.