Thursday, May 14, 2015

Monarch Butterfly Look-Alikes

Four Fast Facts about Monarch Butterflies
  1. Monarchs know the right direction to migrate even though they have never made the journey before. They have a sun compass, with receptors in their antennae—and use an internal magnetic compass on overcast days.
  2. Milkweed is the one and only host plant for monarch caterpillars.
  3. Monarch populations have dropped 90 percent in the past 20 years due to massive habitat destruction and pesticides.
  4. The grassland prairies that run through the middle of our country provide one of the most crucial monarch habitat corridors in the world.

Learn how to tell monarchs apart from viceroy and queen butterflies.
An orange, black and white butterfly alights on a milkweed blooming in your garden. But is it a monarch butterfly? Or is it a viceroy or queen butterfly? Do you know how to tell the difference?
Don’t be fooled! Learn how to distinguish monarchs from their look-alikes by taking our Monarch ID Quiz by   Clicking Here

Monday, May 4, 2015

Flag Time Once Again

Norchester looks particularly nice on these "flag days" the band provides.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More About Milkweed

We have featured milkweed and Monarchs a number of times on this blog... Here we go once again.

We came upon two articles from the National Wildlife Federation and Monarch Watch on our friends and their favorite plant.. milkweed, that are worth a review.  Both are several pages with lots of pictures and other links so I have downloaded them as pdf files which you can also review and download as you choose.  Both are links to our DropBox so just click on them, and be patient while they load on your screen. You don't need to have DropBox or sign in for anything.
 The first one describes twelve native varieties of butterfly weed for monarchs. Each has a picture and some background information.  That link is HERE

The second article
has some additional information along with links to other resources on the butterflies and their plants.  It may be found

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Trees for Matzke Park

The Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS) is proud to announce the donation of $1400 to Pct #4 for the purchase of 7 trees for Matzke Park.  The trees at the park have been aging and due to drought in the past few years, many have died off. So in October 2014 ABCS offered the donation to Harris County for some replacements. They have finally arrived and hopefully will be in place within a few more days.  There are seven.  Two are Burr Oak and five are Cedar Elm

One is not looking too well right now, but with luck will recover and be fine

In 2006 ABCS, a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer group, partnered with Precinct 4 to preserve the 20 acres of land now known as Matzke Park at Jones and Grant. ABCS, through its cooperation with Be An Angel foundation, is also responsible for the special needs playground.  ABCS, and several of its generous donors have also been a major funding source for the Matzke Butterfly Garden and its amenities.

The Randalls and Krogers Neighbor Programs are one source that help to provide ABCS with funds to replace trees, plants, upgrades and continued support of Matzke Park.  Your signing up for these programs and shopping at either Randalls or Krogers help ABCS to collect these needed funds.  ABCS board members, past and present are Tracy Toma, Susan Greenway, Martin Heemer, Joan Fitzgerald, Margaret Buchanan, Kathy Reagle and Carol Bennett.  If you have questions, suggestions, or requests for the park please email us at 

Here is how you can support the park.

         Kroger   Link your Kroger Rewards card to ABCS.  This must now be done each year. The program year starts in August.   Both Kroger and Randalls provide very modest funds to ABCS each year related to the purchases made by customers who have linked their rewards cards to our ABCS organization.  All of these funds are used for Matzke Park and Butterfly Garden improvements.

Sadly the number of families who have remained linked to Kroger has trickled down to Only Four.  Yes, only four Kroger cards remain linked to ABCS-Matzke Park.  In past years, this program has provided as much as $150 every quarter. This past year the amount is much less than $20.  Not even enough for them to send a check each quarter.  All of this money goes to the park and/or Butterfly Garden. So if you enjoy the park and the garden.. please sign up now, and then again in August when the renewal for the year begins again.

Randalls (Safeway, Tom Thumb)   ABCS is still registered with their Good Neighbor program and it is only a one time signup for you at a store.  It automatically renews each year.  Just provide their customer service desk with this number:  1969   This is the Randalls number for our organization.   

Signing up with Kroger also gives you weekly emails with Kroger Special coupons, etc.  And you don’t loose any fuel points.  Sign up is now through computer or smart phone and much easier than in the past few years.
However, you must have registered for a Kroger online account with your computer or the smart phone app, and then "re-link" your card each year starting in August.
To register with Kroger:

1.  Click HERE which is

2.  Sign in if you already have an on-line account.. If needed, click on Create an Account.  This short process will also sign you up for online coupons. You will need to provide your Kroger Plus card number (printed on the card) or call Kroger at:  1-866-221-4141.

3.  Once your Account is established, sign in and click on Community Rewards to provide the ABCS number for Kroger which is:  82607

You can also register with Kroger by downloading the Kroger app for your smart phone.  Download it, select Register and enter your information including your card number and the Community Rewards number 82607 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Latest Visitor

Not much doing for flowers and gardens at the Matzke Park these days.  But on my 7:15 AM morning walk around the path this morning... this guy was perched on the fence on the north side where it goes along Grant Rd.  He seemed "frozen" and oblivious to anyone passing by and he was still there in the same position when I left about 8:30 AM. 

And when we drove by about 10:30 AM.. HE WAS STILL THERE and hadn't moved.

I have seen this animal before at the park.  One time "playing dead" right next to the path.  Again, he/she was there the whole time I was walking.  You can see what that looks like HERE if you click on the link and scroll down a bit.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Amazing Flowers

We have had a surprising number of below freezing nights in the past several weeks.   Last night was another... with a low in our back yard of 31.1 degrees.   These two Hibiscus were picked this afternoon.  And their siblings, still on the plants, look just as fine.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moving Outdoors

Hopefully our last freeze of the season is behind us.  
The cuttings and seedlings in the greenhouse are doing well and some will be shared at the next Norchester Garden Club meeting. The rest will soon be moved outdoors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   And this new raised bed should hold a couple of tomato plants very nicely. Is it only in this county where one has to BUY DIRT at the store ?

While the poppy plot continues to thicken.