Tropical Butterflies in the World's Tropical Rainforests

If you are sufficient enough to visit a rainforest you will no doubt be eager to look at the birds and animals within. Yet, for many visitors, although they can hear the sounds of the wildlife, seeing it is another thing. Some of the rainforest`s animals are nocturnal, and the birds are in the canopy of the forest.

One creature you are likely to see, though, is the tropical butterfly.

Butterflies are important rainforest insects. They feed on nectar, and are important because they pollinate flowers.

Tropical butterflies are often larger than those you may see in your garden, and many boast beautiful colors. The green of the forest is an ideal backdrop for the brilliant blue, red, and yellow butterflies that flit about in the clearings. Apart from these traditional colors, in South America you may also see butterflies with transparent wings. Not all butterflies are colorful, some are camouflaged to leave leaves, or the bark of trees.

Tropical rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on earth. The number of different butterfly species inhabiting the rain forest is amazing. An eight-square kilometer area of ​​rainforest contains as many as 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles, 60 species of amphibians, and 150 species of butterflies. More than half of the world's plant and animal species inhabit the 6 percent of the world that is covered in rainforest.

Although a butterfly's wing may exhibit a full range of colors, these hues generally do not depend on many different pigments. The wing compacts a transparent membrane on which thousands of tiny scales are attached, and each scale usually has just one pigment. However, scales of different colors combine to give the impression to the observer of yet another color.

In a study by The University of Exeter, UK, research appears in the journal Science. The study concluded that fluorescent patches on the wings of African swallowtail butterflies work in a very similar way to high emission light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Unlike your garden at home, because most flowers bloom high up in the canopy, where they provide nectar for the butterflies, they can not be seen by a visitor on the ground. Fortunately, male butterflies come down to earth for salt. It is thought that the mating process may deple them of necessary minerals, which they replenish by sucking up moisture from wet ground. Thus, a damp forest path or the edge of a small stream may prove the ideal place to observe the butterflies of the rain forest. This partly explains why males institute the vast majority of butterflies clustering around salty ground. Butterflies seek out salt to obtain additional compounds that need to function as adults; the plants they ate when they were caterpillars had low levels of some critical compounds. For example, plant tissues have relatively little salt, which is essential for all animals.

If all you leave with your memories of the beautiful …

Concrete Garden Benches Lend Unique Character to a Special Lady's Garden

Nearly all women love to receive flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, but have you thought about giving something truly unique-say, an engraved concrete garden bench? Perhaps you're not the type who heads for the mall when you want a gift to acknowledge a special woman in your life, whether you call her Mom, Nana, or Sweetie. It's important to you what you select will really suit her and give her a smile, and that's exactly the result you get when you give her a concrete garden bench personalized with a name or message.

Set among flowers or in the shade of a favorite tree, the garden bench provides a place for one person to sit and reflect, or for two people to share conversation. One specific aspect of the concrete bench that makes it an ideal gift is its low maintenance factor. The lucky recipient will get something she will simply enjoy, without the obligation of a lot of necessary care. It's illegally that the bench will ever collect any dirt (although it is possible after heavy rains if the bench is set within spacing distance of garden soil), but if it does just a simple hosing-off will take care of that. Accessories such as pillows or cushions can add color and comfort while further personalizing the bench.

Besides the great feeling you'll get when you see that beloved lady unveil a gift that truly touches her heart, it's heartwarming to know that you'll be in her thoughts every time she uses (or simply walks by) the bench. It's a wonderful way to:

o mark the birth of a child

o note a milestone achieved (such as a graduation or religious rite)

o immortalize a favorite verse

o add a symbol of your love to her outdoor space

o let her know how you feel on Valentine's Day or Mother's Day

o thank a special aunt or grandmother for her never ending love

There could not be a more appropriate housewarming gift than this garden centerpiece that is made even more special by the giver's message. You will find many benches that already have an inscription making the decision of "what to say" a breeze. However, for that special personalized touch you can also have a bench associated with whatever you desire. These highly personalized benches do take longer when you order them so plan your gift giving in advance. Do not forget about yourself, you deserve a customized bench as well. The reason can be as simple as a wish to add something special to your own garden, which an engraved bench undeniably supplies. Gardens evolve constantly as you add new plants and accessories, and even as existing plants die and their vacated spaces must be filled once again with beauty. Once in place, the bench will allow garden visitors a resting spot where they can linger and savor the fluora in all its intricate detail.

An engraved concrete garden bench presents an everlasting way to help make your loved …

Little Bit About Grass in the Garden

We are all happy that the spring is almost here. A bit of winter is still with us but we are more likely to think about warm, sunny days and green grass in our garden. But what do we know about the grass – do we know how to take care of it to make it look stunning? Let's find out.

The most important are beginnings. There are two times when it is good to start the grass growing – one is between April and May, and the second one is between August and September. Before we seed the grass we should prepare the soil. Most when the soil is with good pH and with enough of deceay we can just dig it over and this will do.

Next thing is to choose seeds. It is worth to pay a bit of attention and time to think this matter trough – what will be the best type needed for us. The choice depends on the purpose that we have for our grassed yard. If we have children and animals the grass might be in worse condition this case we should choose a sport type of grass, if we only want the grass to look good we can decide on the park one mixture.

And not without a meaning there is a way of sowing. Popular method is to sow on the cross – first we split seeds on two parts and than we sow one part in one direction, till the end of the field and another part in different direction, crossed to the first one. After sowing we have to cover seed with soil. We can make using in example rake. In the end we water the soil checking if the flow is not to intense.

If we already have seeds sowed important is a good care. The biggest problem for all gardeners is the cutting part. There can be a lot to say on this subject. We have to have good methods, tools and spend a lot of time. The best time for cutting is in the morning and in the evening and using electrical lawn-mower and smaller, hand one that can be used in harder to get places.

First cutting should be when the grass is about 6-10 centimetres and not making it too short – the correct length should be about 4 cm. The next problem is how often the grass should be cut. It is commonly said that we should do it once a week. If we do it fewer there is a possibility that pests will appear. And we should not cut the grass when it is wet – there is a more chance to make plants sick. …

Weight Loss – Obesity, Diets and Holistic Health

Diets are defined in the traditional sense of following a specific eating plan for weight loss / obesity.

Sure, following any of the hundreds of plans that have been promoted in the last few decades may result in some weight loss, but the benefits typically do not last.

Sadly, there is no magic bullet. No, not even those prescription medications that are common these days. Sure, they may result in shedding some pounds, but I've been observing nasty side effects in people that use them, and without lifestyle changes are made, the pounds will come back.

The average American keeps getting heavier, especially children, and the new miracle diets keep coming, and the average American keeps getting heavier, especially children, and …

I suspect you get my point.

But wait, I have this diet that works and I offer a guarantee and … Gotcha! Sorry, there are no simple, miracle solutions / plans. There was never any and there never will be.

I am happy to report that what does work for weight management, always has and always will work, is this: careful food selections, self control, occasional splurging (yahoo!), Acceptance of how God made you, and eating slower, smaller more Numerous meals.

This is the holistic approach and it's what I advocate.

Why do not you see this type eating advice advertised on TV or in magazines anywhere? It's because nobody makes any money when you do it. Surprise! In fact, many people will make less money when you follow a healthy holistic eating lifestyle, sometimes doctors because you will likely be ill less often.

Please become aware that the media and it's advertisers are becoming increasingly talented at getting and keeping our attention, particularly when it comes to our physical appearance. They place pictures of beautiful people with gleaming muscles (they are oiled), rippling six pack abdomens (they are airbrushed or do dozens of sit-ups immediately before the picture is taken), or even yet the people are taking steroid type drugs to enhance Their physiques. These "models" are not representative of we typical humans. You and I need to be wise to this, even though we enjoy looking.

Also, be wary of some of the food products, their claims, and what's in them.

The top 10 deceiving "healthy" foods that lead to weight gain and other health problems:

– margarine, because it lacks the essential oils necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system.

– artificial sweeteners, because they contribute to inflammation

– soy, because it can mimics the hormone estrogen

– most granola bars, because they contain excess sugar

– most dehydrated fruits, because they have added sugar

– most juices, because they lack pulp and contain excess added sugars

– whole grain products, because many people have hidden gluten allergies

– commercially grown apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, and imported grapes because they are the top 5 most chemically treated produce and contain toxins.

– all orange juice, because it is well known to increase inflammation

– commercially …

Do You Know What Interior Design Work Is?

Interior design begins with a style and a color palette. From there, furniture, flooring, window furnishings, rugs, architectural detailing and other features are added to improve functionality and build upon theme. Often a commercial professional in this field will be employed pre-construction to ensure that windows, stairwells, escalators, walkways and rooms are located in optimal places. To become an interior designer, one must obtain a Bachelor's Degree and participate in several years of apprenticeship work.

When a professional interior designer gets started, he or she begins by assessing the client's wishes and needs. They study budgets, look at lifestyle, scrutinize the home for wasted space, seek color or style preferences and identify pros and cons of the current interior space.

Next, the designer will estimate the costs and create a design image with computer-aided interior design software. After introducing the proposal, the client will either approve or deny the sketches. Then it is either time to implement the project or "go back to the old drawing board," as they say.

There are several different realms for professionals in this field to focus their sights. For instance, some designers work at furniture, home or garden stores selling merchandise and recommending color and theme options. Other times, interior designers may run their own businesses as consultants, with administrative assistants onboard to order samples, liaise with contractors and draw up documents.

Some designers focus on office interior design or commercial interior design, while others specialize in custom designs for individuals or realtors trying to stage homes for sale. Special certification may be purchased for kitchen or bathroom design. Other designers may be masters of acoustics and soundproofing, security, home theaters, home spas or gardens.

According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average annual income for interior design professionals is around $ 42,260. The middle 50% earned between $ 31,830 and $ 57,230, with the lowest 10% earning $ 24,270 and the highest percentile over $ 78,760. Architectural and engineering designers earned the highest salaries, with specialized interior design services right behind. Furniture stores and building supply dealers garnered most of the lower salies. The income a professional interior designer makes large depends upon the years of experience, specialization, reputation and employer. …

7 Reasons You Might Want to Consider Using Hydroponic Gardening to Become a Hydroponic Gardener

Are you a gardener? Have you read about hydroponic gardening but are not quite sure if it has any advantages for you? Do you get discouraged when you cannot control the weather? Are you forever fighting pests? Have you learned how to control the amount of sunshine or light your plants receive? Then perhaps you should reconsider hydroponic gardening, as it has many advantages over conventional gardening. Here is what you will discover when growing your plants with the hydroponic methods.

1. Less time and effort: Yes, much less time and effort is required than with conventional gardening. If you have ever spent hours preparing the soil, planting the seeds, weeding the plants, watering when nature does not provide enough water, then you know just how much time and effort conventional gardening can be. Once set up and running, hydroponics requires very little time to maintain.

2. Weed free: That is correct! Since you are not using soil, you have no opportunities for weeds to appear. This in itself has caused many a gardener to switch to hydroponics. And, of course, your plants will get the maxim nutrients from the solution because they are not fighting the weeds for it.

3. No more plant diseases: Without soil, your plants have no opportunity to pick up bacteria and parasites commonly found with conventional gardening. Again, you will have healthier plants.

4. Larger plants and higher yields: Because hydroponics relies on feeding the roots directly with a nutrient solution, the plants will develop much more quickly, grow larger, and produce bigger yields. This is because the plants spend their energy growing rather than searching for nutrients. Plants grown this way show much less stress than those grown in the conventional manner.

5. Limited space needed: Hydroponic gardening can be done in a very limited space. So if you have no access to a yard, or if you live in an environment not conducive to conventional gardening, hydroponics is your solution.

6. Clean: This is very clean gardening because no soil or dirt is used. Because you have such a controlled environment, no pesticides are needed.

7. Great for the elderly and handicapped: Seldom mentioned, but a very important advantage, is that hydroponic gardening is easy for the elderly or the handicapped. The garden can be built at any height so it can be accessed by someone in a wheel chair or someone who just cannot get on the ground any more. Avid gardeners who age and give up their gardening are missing out by not turning to hydroponic gardening.…

Tips to Get Great Lighting For Every Corner of the Garden

Whenever anyone is redesigning or building a new house, very often they will forget about one important aspect of the whole set up and that is the garden. The garden is important since it can be used for many different functions and that is where the talents of a landscape lighting expert will come in very handy. Landscape lights can set the mood in the garden and this will make or break the whole design.

Of course, it is obvious that many people will know just how to set out their gardens to give some spectacular views or vistas through the year. However, for those who are not familiar with the plants and their habits it is very often down to the expert to advice on just what will fit where.

The same holds true for the illumination expert who will want to have a hand in putting in electrical outlets and conduits where they will be of most use. Getting these two disciples together, or in the same professional, is probably a good idea.

First it must be decided exactly what is expected of the garden itself. Is it just somewhere enough and pretty to relax and let go of the cares of the day? Or will it be used like an extension of the living space where dinner parties or family gatherings will take place? This is important to know so that the appropriate illumination can be put in place as and when the garden is being designed and planted.

If the garden is to give continuous color throughout the year, changing with the seasons, it is of vital importance for the illumination to be put in to show off the best features. Water features, for example, look wonderful when lit right right and if this can be seen from a great vantage point where guests will gather, then this could become quite a focal point.

On the other hand, low illumination may be what is needed to just make the whole setting glow when dusk falls so that the transition is not noticeable until the day has completely faded. The garden will literally come alive once darkness has fallen completely and this gives a wonderful effect to the finished look.

It may be that the garden is only going to be used by the family unit but this still means that it can be utilized as extra space as and when necessary. Electrical outlets conveniently located around the garden will enable several activities to go on at once and this means that the family does not always have to gather in the same spot all the time.

Dinner served under the stars is wonderfully romantic for the grown ups but the kids can go off safely to another spot and play their games and sports in the safety of the home setting. Whatever the occasion then it is very obvious that the way the garden is lit becomes very important if it is to be used to …

5 Benefits Of Having Your Wedding Service In A Chapel As Opposed To Gardens

Are you having a wedding soon? Well, you have two options on where to have your service; a wedding chapel or a garden. Which one is better? For one, it will definitely depend on the weather! However, both of them do have their benefits and this article will enlighten more on the advantages of having a wedding service in a chapel.

• Best for cold seasons

If you are not sure of how the weather is going to behave on the most important day of your life, you are better off in a chapel. Some people may find it old-fashioned but the setting it creates is just right for a wedding. With a garden wedding service, the weather may turn on you and cause a disaster; strong winds, heavy rain, too hot or too cold.

• Perfect ambience

Wedding chapels have a great ambience for such occasions. From the architectural beauty, to the structural designs to the small details such as window frames and panels, all having unique shapes and forms. All these elements are what make a chapel special and holy place to have a special occasion such as a wedding.

• Photogenic!

Today, people are going out of their way to take great wedding photos; near lakes, game reserves, on vintage cars, bikes, pools etc. Why not use a chapel for the same purpose? Of course, you have to take one with your parents and in-laws at the entrance; that has been there for a while now, but use the unique structure to lighten your photo session! Some ideas could be sitting next to the piano or standing at the altar, anything that will make your photos look out of this world! Chapels always have beautiful venues and well-maintained surroundings.

• Inexpensive

As compared to gardens, chapels do not charge as much when it comes to renting their venue. For members of the church, you are most likely going to be given the venue at lower rates than non-members. In fact, if you have been good to the church, you might have your service at your chapel at no cost! Therefore, if you plan on a low-cost wedding, you better start going to church.

• Welcoming

Unlike other faiths, the chapel leaders do not restrict people who are not believers of the same faith. This way, it is advantageous to the almost-married couple since they have the freedom to invite anyone! This can be an ideal place for couples of different religious beliefs.…

French Formal Gardens Employ Cast Stone Fountains

France is famous for its romantic cast stone fountains, but it's also rich in gardens that reflect its cultural taste, as those tastes have been from the Middle Ages to the present. What better way to breathe in the essence of the French than to wander outdoors in designed spaces where you can smell and touch the living displays, sit by a refreshing cast stone fountain and move freely and absorb at your own pace?

French gardens, particularly the French formal garden can engage all five senses. In the 16th Century, French courtiers built their chateau gardens along the Loire Valley fertile riverbanks. The homes were especially small turreted castles that reicked of charm. Many of these same chateaux and their formal French gardens with cast stone fountains are open to the public today so that the owners may qualify for government tax breaks and grants.

The French Gardens and Cast Stone Fountains Were an Inspiration for Other Countries

Italian artists who traveled through Europe were inspired by French gardens and their cast stone fountains where architecture took pride of place over nature. Very strict geometric perspectives were used to show buildings to their best advantage. The French formal gardens at Versailles, designed by Andre Le Notre, were inspired by the sun-symbol chosen by King Louis XIV, the main axes corresponding to the points of the compass. Flowerbeds edged with trimmed box hedges were planted. Garden specialist Gabrielle van Zuylen sees the influence of Versailles at Blenheim Palace in England, in St. Louis. Petersburg (Russia), at La Granja near Segovia (Spain) and in Caserta near Naples (Italy). Le Notre's radiating garden paths even served as inspiration for the town plan of Washington DC The cast stone fountains appeared in many of these palaces and estates.

French Formal Gardens Represent Extreme Formality

The most favored style for great house gardens in Europe during much of this period derived from the influence of the French designer Andre 'Le Notre, creator of the gardens at Versailles. The French style represented an extreme of formality, with box-edged parterres (elaborate and geometric beds) typically placed near the residence to provide an arranged view. The cast stone fountain was usually set in the center as the focal point of where it all came together. Trees were grouped in neat plantations or in bold lines along avenues, with terraces and statuary carefully placed to emphasize the architectural symmetry of the grand manner. The widespread adoption of this style among the European nobility and gentry reflected the potency of French cultural influence at the time. It was also related, on a practical basis, to the limited availability of planting materials, especially those offering autumn and winter display.

The change to a more natural style of gardening came about when, in the latter part of the 18th century, the opinion anose among leading gardeners, particularly those of the English gentry, that the French formal garden manner greeted with it a certain monotony. The increasing importation of foreign plants also …

Fun Garden Games For Kids

Encourage your children to play outdoors is not always easily, particularly when there are often so many distractions available to them indoors. So how can outdoor games compete against computers, games consoles and televisions?

The key is to concentrate on showing your kids how much fun is to be found outdoors. This is not as difficult as it may sound – children tend to love outdoor games, but it's just a matter of showing them the possibilities that are available.

Is it worth making the effort? Looking at a range of recent reports, there can be no doubt that kids who do not get enough exercise can really be heading for trouble. Childhood obesity levels have been rising and the lack of exercise is being held up as one of the potential causes.

Where do you start when it comes to increasing exercise levels? If you're already starting to think about garden games then you're probably on the right lines. Outdoor games certainly offer to involve a higher level of activity and movement than many indoor alternatives.

You can help your kids by demonstrating how exciting it can be to spend time playing outdoors. This might involve you investing on some additional toys and games. Climbing frames and slides, for example, can be good purchases because they help to show children that it is possible to be healthy and have fun at the same time.

Trampolines have also become increasingly popular. You may have spotted them popping up in more and more gardens around the country. They are particularly good because they are perfect for the whole family.

Once kids get to use trampolines they generally find that they're such a good fun that it can be hard to try them back indoors!

This is the ideal situation. If you can show your children how exciting it is to play garden games then you'll soon be encouraging them to choose more healthy activities. …