Saturday, December 10, 2016

“Life is short. If you doubt me, ask a butterfly. Their average life span is a mere five to fourteen days.”
~ Ellen DeGeneres

A total of 21 hand-reared Monarchs have been released at the Container Butterfly Garden for the 2016 butterfly garden season through September. Since then, things have slowed way down around here butterfly-wise from barely perceivable to next to nothing. I decided to call it quits early this year cage rearing Monarch cats, as a dearth of these harvestable creepy crawlies was the norm for the last half of the 2016 butterfly season.

From all indications, tachinid fly parasitism was rampant this year, at least in Orange and San Diego counties. From correspondence with others -- especially in San Diego County -- it was a grab all the eggs you can scrounge up before they turn into fly fodder. Without egg harvesting and the subsequent release of healthy adults, the container garden would not have seen any signs of Monarch caterpillars, save the few at the beginning of the season back in March/April, before the tachinids arrived. That would make a cool sci fi movie title: Arrival of the Tachinids

About the only thing that has been happening here is general plant maintenance, with very few patrons visiting. I'm rather disappointed at the general lack of butterfly visitors to the garden, as I assumed many would show up if enticed. Alas, such is not the case. Situated in a veritable landscape desert devoid of trees and basic landscape plants (Gravel Landscape Mobile Home Park syndrome, or GLMHP as I prefer to call it), there are much better hunting grounds surrounding the mobile home park, so they circumvent it completely. As with politicians, they follow the money.

There may be some major changes coming down the road that will affect the Container Butterfly Garden and this newsletter if things turn out like I would like them to. I put my house up for sale and will be submitting an offer on a home in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Real estate selling/buying contingencies prevail.

If the move happens, I'll be creating a new butterfly garden over there in USDA zones 7 & 8 that I've never gardened in before, hoping to lure butterflies we normally don't see here in SoCal, and of course, some of those we do. I was amazed at how many butterflies I did see cruising around in the various parts of the valley I visited back in November.

Bits and Pieces:

Parks for Monarchs is a "national strategy" for restoring monarch populations to sustainable levels. (cough-cough... Laguna Beach?)

Why two California farms give me hope for the monarch butterfly

-EDF Environmental Defense Fund

A Prevalence of Ophryocystis elektroscirrha Infections in the Monarch Butterfly...

A very well written, planned and organized school project by Danielle, a 12th-grader from south Orange County, California. I hope she received college scholarship offers for her work.

-Danielle, grade 12

"Migratory monarchs wintering in California experience low infection risk compared to monarchs breeding year-round on non-native milkweed" is an abstract published on the Oxford Journals site by Oxford University Press. Short and sweet, filled with gooey creamy info and delicious scientific observations.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

“How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
~Trina Paulus

I've been on hiatus the past couple of weeks doggie and house sitting for some friends in Murrieta. Upon my return, a list of honeydews and neglected chores greeted this nanny warrior: back at it now.

Latest total adult Monarch release count for the season: 21.

Tony Gomez from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been an inveterate student of butterflies and a raiser of caterpillars -- especially monarchs -- for the past 40+ years, according to his web site. A deep fountain of information on planning a butterfly garden and raising caterpillars, his Caring for Baby Caterpillars is the first in a new how to series.  

Some seasons, caterpillar predation by various diseases, predatory wasps, parasitic flies, etc. are especially problematic. The caterpillar mortality rate in the Container Butterfly Garden  has been astronomical this year, and as the season progresses, has gotten worse.

I went out into the garden recently to harvest some milkweed for one, lone, 2nd instar, that happened to show itself a few days before, and for two tiny 1st instars that hitched rides into the house on some propagation cuttings I started.

Simultaneously looking for Monarch eggs, found only one. There were some empty shells, meaning a predator has been attacking the eggs themselves, or has been pouncing on the newly emerged cats. Could be wasps, or some other bug that is lurking unannounced amongst the plants.

Pathogens such as Oe and bacterial infections can be moderated. The hard part is mitigating predators such as tachinid flies and braconid wasps. Two ways are to harvest eggs and place found caterpillars in some sort of cage or container to keep predators at bay, if they haven't been compromised already.

For more info how to raise eggs and cats, make your own cages, for different container ideas, or purchasing ready-made, head on over to Raising Butterflies--How to find and care for butterfly eggs and caterpillars.

Butterfly kits make great children's presents, helping to teach them about nature firsthand!

"Laguna Beach mayor pledges to help save dwindling monarch butterfly species" -- WHAT?

 Oopsie! Meant to type in "Topeka". Read here how the city of Topeka, Kansas is installing monarch way stations within their own parks and common areas


Saturday, July 23, 2016

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”
~ Laurence J. Peter,
The Peter Principle

Eight new chrysalides, of which four eclosed and were released Friday. Released sixteen so far this season.

The Xerces Society has published the "State of the Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Sites in California" report recently, which you can access here:

The report shows a sharp two-decade decline in the number of monarchs which overwinter along the California coast and prioritizes the top 50 overwintering sites most in need of conservation and management attention. State of the Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Sites in California provides an analysis of western monarch population trends. A comparison of the average number of butterflies overwintering in California during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows a decline of 74% since the late 1990s, a figure that is comparable to declines documented at monarch overwintering sites in Mexico.

For those that have a penchant for Monarch butterflies, this report is a must read and worthy of keeping for future reference.

Let's not forget the potential downsides of  planting year-round milkweeds in our gardens. If possible, stick with native milkweeds, preferably ones native to your area. If you do grow perennial milkweeds such as Asclepias curassavica and wish to keep growing it, it's highly recommended to cut them way back each fall and winter to minimize unnatural overwintering of migratory Monarchs:

Another Damning Research Paper...

For some more exciting municipal government news, the City of Oakland, California has stepped up to the plate in support of our native butterflies and other pollinators through their system of city parks, via one of their employees, Park Supervisor Tora Rocha.

 Victoria 'Tora' Rocha. Park Supervisor, City of Oakland, California


Tora has been instrumental in introducing and cultivating pollinator plants in her parks with blessings from city management. Not only that, but the City of Oakland even allows volunteer citizen groups to help out in the parks. Not a new concept, but a very foreign notion to some municipalities; at least to the City of Laguna Beach, apparently.

 Garden volunteers at Oakland's Gardens at Lake Merritt.

For those that know me and have been following this blog for some time, I have been at odds with the CLB (City of Laguna Beach) management regarding planting for butterflies and the use of citizen gardening volunteers, ever since I was employed as a Parks Gardener there. Hopefully, citizen awareness and a grass roots movement may sway city fathers to reconsider their aversion to the concept.

For more information on Tora Rocha:

Perhaps those LB warriors with like interests could contact Tora for some mentoring on how to achieve similar goals within their own borders.

Will someone please help take over this abandoned Laguna Beach butterfly garden? The current city gardener is doing his best maintaining and improving it, given the allotted time, resources, and management indifference he must contend with:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

“Entomologists use that word 'foul' often when referring to the flavor of a caterpillar. They are rarely more specific than 'foul' or 'tasty.' I expect that is because they are leaving the assessment up to birds, and birds have a very binary approach.”
~ Amy Leach

Found five more eggs this Thursday. If they all make it to adults, that'll be 17.

One man's vision and quest to repopulate the California pipevine swallowtail in his northern California neighborhood:

-Vox Science and Health

There are scattered reports of pipevine swallowtail communities in various parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. I planted their host plant, the pipevine, in several areas of Alta Laguna Park when I was Parks Gardener for the City of Laguna Beach to attract and retain any pipevine swallowtail drifters that may wander in, but since my retirement, the vines have all vanished.

The Pipevine Swallowtail

I threatened to illustrate my technique of moving and reattaching Monarch butterfly chrysalides using jewelers tweezers and bits of cellophane tape in a previous post. Here goes:

At times, it may be necessary to moves butterfly chrysalides for whatever good reasons. For the Container Butterfly Garden, it usually means I didn't get the chance to place 4th and 5th instars in the eclosing cage before they pupated. As such, they must be moved.

-Andrew Kliss
Four Monarch chrysalides hanging inside of 4th and 5th instar rearing bucket.

-Andrew Kliss
Flipped the lid over to access chrysalides.

-Andrew Kliss
With pointy jeweler's tweezers, I carefully loosen the silk webbing around the chrysalis that attaches it to a surface. It is then grasped by its tiny stem (cremaster) on the little green chili pepper, and then carefully lifted off.

-Andrew Kliss
¡Voila! Safely removed with silk still attached.

-Andrew Kliss
Sticking the silk on to cellophane tape. Be careful not to place tape on the chrysalis itself.

-Andrew Kliss
Affixing it to the inside wall of the eclosing cage.

-Andrew Kliss
Ultimately, we end up rewarded with a beautiful living jewel such as this recently eclosed female.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

“The most satisfactory definition of man from the scientific point of view is probably Man the Tool-maker.”
~ Kenneth Oakley

A couple of things:

Butterfly sanctuary attraction in Buena Park, California:
"Rubin Stahl wants Orange County residents stepping into Costa Rica.
His Butterfly Palladium in Buena Park will be as authentic an experience as any outside of the Central American country.
“I’m recreating Costa Rica in its entirety,” Stahl said. “It’s going to be something special.”
Stahl joined city leaders to break ground in late May on the $25 million butterfly pavilion that’s expected to open on Beach Boulevard next summer." ~ Orange County Register

-O.C. Register

-O.C. Register

To read the article:

Released the remaining Monarch June, 27th. A healthy little girl again.

Girls: 11
Boys: 1

After releasing her in the butterfly garden, I prodded around the milkweed plants looking for more eggs. There they were, six of them. The 28th has produced five more eggs, plus I found a lone, little 2nd instar Monarch cat I promptly scooped up and took inside for safe rearing. I hope tachinid flies or parasitic wasps haven't discovered it before I did.

At this point it would be a good segue into some of the tools I use for rearing butterflies.

I use several different types of containers for different phases of a caterpillar's life cycle. There is some overlap in this post with a previous one dated Saturday May 21 2016, so please bear with me. 

From collecting eggs to releasing adults, containers get progressively bigger:

-Andrew Kliss

4oz. and 24oz. Ziploc containers.

From egg until roughly their second instar, they stay in the 4 oz., upon which they are transferred to 24oz. Ziploc containers. At 1st and 2nd instar stages the cats are fed individual milkweed leaves. Depending on how many cats there are at one time, they eventually outgrow the 24oz. and must be "potted up", so to speak. They then go into a 2gal. paint bucket where they can be fed whole stems with leaves.

 Milkweed stems are placed in floral tubes filled with water, and then stuck in a chunk of Styrofoam.

-Andrew Kliss

-Andrew Kliss
2gal. paint bucket modified for raising cats.

Besides what I list, just about any clean and secure container can be used. Plastic shoe boxes, plastic product containers; you name it, as long as they aren't too deep and can accommodate the needs of your charges. Be resourceful!

(Other butterfly enthusiasts enclose whole plants found growing in the garden or in containers with netting to protect their cats. One downside to this practice is that one may inadvertently secure pests and predators along with them. Again, the fox is locked up in the hen house along with the chickens.)

Ultimately, they go into the eclosing cage at their 4th or 5th instar to pupate. Sometimes I'm a bit too late and they form chrysalides inside the 2gal. paint bucket. I then have to delicately move and reattach them to the eclosing cage.

Eclosing Cage

The particular eclosing cage I use is a Whitmor 18 inch collapsible laundry hamper purchased online at Amazon. They list a boatload of different hampers from different companies to suite particular needs. I like this one because it is large, inexpensive, and features a zippered lid. Local brick 'n mortars such as Walmart, Target, etc. sell them too, but none offered both the size and zippered lid the Whitmor does.

This is the tool set I use for working with caterpillars.

-Andrew Kliss

  1. Fiskars Stainless Steel Blade Micro-Tip Snip. Used for cutting out eggs from plants, harvesting whole leaves and also stems with leaves for feeding larger caterpillars. Bought mine from Home Depot.
  2. Small paintbrush for picking up and moving 1st and 2nd instar cats. Cut back the bristles to make them stiffer if need be to accomplish this purpose.
  3. Jewelers tweezers. Used for picking up eggs on little leaf square cutouts, moving around 3rd instar cats, and for relocating chrysalides that have formed where unwanted. I inherited mine from dad who was a jeweler and watchmaker.
  4. Beading tweezers. Used for 4th and 5th instar cats, and for picking up and moving larger objects. Bought these at a local bead shop.
  5. Plastic slide pencil case. Houses and transports these tools. Fairly ubiquitous wherever school supplies are sold.

-Andrew Kliss
A magnifying glass is also used to evaluate eggs.  

-Andrew Kliss

I also use Scotch Tape regularly to rehang chrysalides that had to be moved for whatever reasons. A rather delicate procedure, but actually very easy to accomplish. Get your first one down pat, the rest are a breeze. I'll illustrate the technique in a subsequent post. This is where the jewelers tweezers become very important.


There are several other uses for Scotch Tape, one being for entertainment. Visions of hanging decorations probably come to mind first, but no, we can aspire to aspiring to higher aspirations than hanging milquetoast decorations: we can use it to create facial art.



(Please do not attempt this at home. For illustrative purposes only. If you do decide to try this, please send photos for posting so we can all have a good chuckle.)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.”
~ Dean Jackson

Things are "popping" so to speak in the Container Butterfly Garden. Came back from church mid morning last Sunday and was greeted by three fully eclosed Monarch female butterflies. When I left the house earlier that day there were no butterflies, just chrysalides.

Tuesday morning's ritual of retrieving the paper from the carport revealed three more butterflies ready to emerge, as I've set up the eclosing cage outside by the rear door. By the afternoon, they too, were released. How satisfying! As Tuesday's batch was being released in the container garden, a female Monarch was depositing eggs on the milkweeds. Hopefully, this will be the first time in weeks I'll be able to harvest more eggs. How strange I haven't found any new eggs in the last few weeks. I wonder if they're being harvested by predators soon after being deposited. As for caterpillars in the garden, nary a one in over a month.

Wednesday noon greeted me with three new adult butterflies ready for release.

The heat wave we've been experiencing here in SoCal has ramped up the metamorphosis cycle. Including the Monarch I found on one of my cacti, plus those from the eclosing cage that emerged healthy and able to fly, the total successful releases so far is:

girls = 10
boys = 1

Two others didn't make it. Both were found lying on the cage floor.  

Taking the eclosing cage out to the container garden on Wednesday to release the latest, I heard a flurry of furious, frantic, frenetic, frenzied, fast fluttering wings beating in the back of the yard; quite loud, really. At first I thought it was two small birds duking it out, but upon rounding the corner, it turned out to be two Monarch butterflies battling it out big time. My first thought was two males fighting for territory. They kept banging into the sheds, the back of the house, and finally crashed into the backyard fence where they fluttered to the ground, continuing their fight.

They were quiet for a while, allowing the opportunity to creep up on them for a look-see and a gander. To my surprise and delight, they were a mating pair. How violent a spectacle! Eventually, the female resumed her struggles and they flew off in a coupled embrace.

-Andrew Kliss
Male and female Monarchs mating.

Video of the latest release. Handheld, shot on a smartphone. Shaky vid: vertigo.

Lastly, but not leastly, an updated photo of the lantana I pruned back hard last spring:

-Andrew Kliss
 Before a hard pruning.

-Andrew Kliss
After a hard pruning.

-Andrew Kliss
A couple of months later. So much healthier looking and prettier!

Hard pruning of quite a few flowering plant species is beneficial both to the eye of the beholder and to the plants themselves. Don't be afraid to do this on your own plants! If interested, please contact me with any questions regarding what species are amenable to hard pruning, how to go about it, and when is the best time to do so.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


"I should tolerate the closeness of 2-3 caterpillars, if I want to get to know butterflies" ~ Antoine De Saint Exupéry

There are now 12 chrysalides dwelling safely in their eclosing cage, with more to come. All are safe from pesky tachinid flies, and so far none exhibit the telltale dark spots of Oe infestation. How incredibly beautiful Monarch butterfly chrysalides are! Truly, they are one of nature's crown jewels.

In fact, I've seen craftsmen and artisans create pieces of jewelry based on them, such as earrings and pendants. One beautiful pendant I came across was of a perfectly executed copy made of jade-colored glass on which they dabbed gold dots to mimic the gold spots found on real Monarch butterfly chrysalides, hanging from a delicate gold chain.

-Andrew Kliss
 Three chrysalides hanging from eclosing cage, along with one cat beginning to pupate.

Thursday morning I noticed one of the chrysalides began to darken and take on an orangish color. By Thursday noon there was a fully eclosed adult with wings still soft and not fully expanded. She's a healthy little girl I released in the late afternoon by the milkweed plants after her wings hardened sufficiently for her to safely fly away. She wanted nothing of the cage, taking off like a cat with a burr stuck under its tail.

-Andrew Kliss
 It's a girl! First reared Monarch butterfly for the Container Garden.

I've been a bit busy down here at the homestead of late, therefor a dearth of posts vs. a plethora. This will most likely continue for the next month or more, as I'm in the process of writing and illustrating a personalized story book for my little granddaughter, plus I've yet to begin collaborating with a newsletter subscriber on her children's storybook about the adventures of a Monarch caterpillar. She asked me to take photos illustrating the story for inclusion in her book. By all means!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou

A female Monarch butterfly is ovipositing (laying eggs) on the milkweed growing in the Container Butterfly Garden. YAY! Stay tuned.

I came across a Monarch butterfly that recently eclosed (hatched, or emerged) Thursday morning when hunting down weeds. It's a little girl, but I don't think she's too healthy. Her chrysalid is smaller than normal. Conversely, she is too. Thankfully, tachinid flies didn't find her first before she turned into a chrysalis.

-Andrew Kliss

-Andrew Kliss

The chrysalis above hasn't changed much in the several weeks (month+, really) I've had it. Normal time for a caterpillar to emerge as an adult butterfly takes two weeks roughly. From its color and abnormal length of pupation, I suspect it will produce tachinid fly maggots instead of a beautiful butterfly.

 Healthy Monarch chrysalides

Nice metamorphosis photo chronicling the steps a Monarch butterfly caterpillar takes from forming a "J" to eclosing as an adult.

-Steve Greer Photography

Three Monarch cats I found as eggs I'm raising are doing great. It's amazing how fast they grow after the 3rd instar phase! Looks like they'll blow right through the 4th, whiz past the 5th, and turn into chrysalides very soon.

Went for another egg hunt in the container butterfly garden a few days back, looking for Monarch eggs deposited under milkweed leaves. This time I didn't get skunked and found nine, so a female did come through to oviposit. I'm sure the nine come from a single mom, as all were laid on the same plant.

Update: Whilst cutting fresh food for my caterpillar charges Thursday, I came across another batch of fresh Monarch caterpillar eggs. This time, 5. There are now 14 eggs waiting to hatch:

-Andrew Kliss
Left: first batch of 9. Right: second batch of 5.

-Andrew Kliss

The three healthy cats have devoured the milkweed I gave them just a couple of days ago. At the 4th instar stage, they have turned into eating and pooping machines.

-Andrew Kliss
¿Donde esta las orugas? Where are the caterpillars?

-Andrew Kliss

With fresh food, the three cats took no time settling in safely under a canopy of milkweed leaves, sequestered in their modified 2 gal. paint bucket. For the next feeding they'll have to go into their eclosing cage for a final 5th instar stage before turning into chrysalides.

Monarch Life Cycle

And now there's artificial food (Synthesized: mmmmmm... yummy! Soylent green anyone?) for those who have run out of milkweed or don't wish to bother growing plants, but would like to raise some Monarch caterpillars nonetheless:

One desperation alternate food source for Monarch caterpillars is pumpkin, plus other members of the squash family. Only works on 5th instar cats who are close to pupating. So, if one gets to the point where plants are stripped and can't find any fresh milkweed, one can at least save 5th instars from starvation:

Monarch Caterpillars Butternut Squash

 5th instar cats noshing on squash.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

“Love is that butterfly feeling you get in your stomach, after you swallow a caterpillar.”
~ Jarod Kintz

For the Container Butterfly Garden, it's beginning to look like the need to raise cats in a controlled environment.

"Controlled environment? Pray tell, what do you mean?"

That means collecting monarch eggs and possibly 1st instar cats from the garden for raising in nursery containers. Eggs and 1st instar only because they are the stages least likely to be infected by parasites.

Monarch caterpillar instar examples

 Scanning electron photograph of a monarch butterfly egg.

 Newly hatched monarch caterpillar (1st instar) feeding on its own shell for the protein boost.

The incidence of parasitism in the container garden is getting out of hand. With the threat of Oe continuously hanging over the caterpillars' heads plus the rest of the predator/parasite crew potential threats, now parasitic tachinid flies have become unbearable.

Parasites and Natural Enemies

7 Common Monarch Diseases, Parasites + Caterpillar Killers

I also have a resident, cool-looking green spider who is hunkered down on one of my young milkweed plants that will pounce on 1st instars,  but he's so cool looking, I cast my eyes the other way in his case. Here's hoping he gets big enough to catch flies. Tachinid flies. All of them. And other egg and caterpillar predators. Yes. (I get off on spiders...)

-Andrew Kliss
My little green spider dude taking up residence on Gomphocarpus cancellatus.

I ordered two Gomphocarpus cancellatus plants online from Annie's Annuals and Perennials. Annie's still lists it as Asclepias cancellata, it's old taxonomic name. From what I've read, G. cancellatus should adapt well to SoCal gardens and could prove to be quite a substantive source of monarch caterpillar food. As the season progresses, I'll update on its merits, or lack thereof.

Back to tachinid flies:

 One of many species of tachinid flies. The one above looks most like those in the container garden.

Back in mid March, I could easily count a dozen + cats in various stages of instars. Within two weeks I saw none except for one sorry looking, lone, 3rd instar individual. Within six inches of the cat perched a tachinid fly staring directly at it. I took the little cat inside, put him in a rearing container with some fresh food, and within a day it was dead from what I believe was a parasite, most likely a tachinid.

Tachinid fly maggots with host caterpillar

I went back in the garden, promptly scouring every bit of milkweed underleaf surface scrounging for eggs and small cats. Found three eggs and one tiny 1st instar cat that were placed in rearing boxes I made. Unfortunately, I lost the wee little cat when trying to transfer it to a new box. It dropped onto a design-rich oriental carpet, where it immediately was lost to the relative chaos of the rug's surface. 1st instars are so small, one just about needs a magnifying glass to view them properly. Even with my reading glasses, it was hard to pick him out sitting on a white paper towel that lined his first box.

I have not seen one Monarch here in the container garden -- or any type of butterfly for that matter -- in the past few weeks. I check for eggs and young cats a couple of times per week on the milkweeds, but have yet to find anything new. Could it be attributed to just a lull in visitors, or can they sense the presence of tachinid flies close by, therefor avoiding the inherent dangers? I have no clue.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden."
~Hugh Johnson

Here's a gardening practice a Japanese Hawaiian gardener taught me when I was a mere grasshopper back in my 20's. Some flowering shrubs can be severely pruned back each year in order to keep them within prescribed bounds, and will stimulate profuse blooming.

One such plant this technique works especially well on is Lantana camara. It's an approach I incorporate starting April that will work in most SoCal locations. Below is a container garden lantana showing vestiges of winter doldrums, before it was pruned back hard:

-Andrew Kliss

-Andrew Kliss

-Andrew Kliss
A little over one month later

Yes indeed it is pretty drastic, but the outcome within a short time is a beautiful bushy shrub chock full o' blooms.

Other plants that can derive benefit from severe pruning include:

Took a casual stroll through the garden this morning just before posting. How enjoyable it is to visit living things that have become your friends; who depend on you to take good care of them, and who in return reward you with awe and beauty only creation can provide. Below are some photos I took with my smartphone (love this thing):

-Andrew Kliss
 Ruta graveolens, Common Rue

-Andrew Kliss
Fennel. Finocchio, or Florence Fennel

-Andrew Kliss
Verbena bonariensis, Purple Vervain

As an aside, I also wish to share some photos of a couple of cacti blooming in the rest of the yard:

-Andrew Kliss
Echinocereus pentalophus, Ladyfinger (taken a few weeks ago)

-Andrew Kliss

-Andrew Kliss

These blooms on 'High Noon' are six inches across. Some Echinopsis hybrid flowers can span 12 inches!