SiteSection Butterfly Poster

The SiteSection butterfly poster is available for purchase! Though we will accept $10/poster, we encourage larger donations in support of BRDC’s ongoing educational work. Posters can be bought at Shades of Nature in Mouth of Wilson, VA, Grayson Highlands State Park (eventually), the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally, and various BRDC events throughout the course of […]


Phemeranthus species At first glance I assumed these succulents [location undisclosed] were Phemeranthus teretifolius, like the other fameflower plants known in the Charlottesville area. This colony has begun blooming, and the number of stamens present in each flower appears to contradict my prior assumption. In fact, so far as i can discern, this plant does […]

The Sweetshrub Mystery

An inquiry into Thomas Jefferson’s Calycanthus floridus. Is it an Albemarle native?  Amazing Species and Habitat Inventory and Assessment, Albemarle County Natural Heritage Committee (ANHC)  “planted 19 Bubby flower shrubs, Calycanthus from the Green mountain, the only place I’ve ever heard of them. They are said to be very common in S. Carolina.” – Thomas […]

Pawpaw Prints

Pawpaw fruit bisected, the seeds removed, and watercolors used for pigment. My girls and I have been watching and waiting for local pawpaw fruit to ripen. We visit local woodlands weekly to check in on this wonderful native plant. We went yesterday with visions of soft sweet fruit in our heads and the expectation that […]

Pawpaws as Bait

Yesterday I picked my first ripe pawpaws (Asimina triloba) of the year. The pulp was delicious. I then sliced the skins lengthwise and put them out skin side down on a plate in the shade by the front porch. Butterflies stopped by starting about 10 am. The most I saw of each species at any […]

2011 Butterfly List, Our Urban Yard

We have a tiny yard in downtown Charlottesville. The following is a running list of species observed in 2011. The list only shows the first time a species was noticed and does not reflect multiple sightings, numbers, etc. April- June eastern comma, Polygonia comma orange sulphur, Colias eurytheme cabbage white, Pieris rapae spring azure, Celastrina […]

Ecosystem Gardening and Living: Part I, The Piedmont Mafic Barren

Looking to Local Habitats: models for creating vibrant self-sustaining urban ecosystems. You know that spot in your garden on the south side of your house or office building where nothing will grow without significant watering? Maybe it’s against the house with full sun exposure and maybe some hot and hard surface is nearby. Maybe it’s […]