Checking out the flowering progress of the Orange Coneflowers today I discovered a pretty visitor. If anyone recognizes it I would be grateful for the identification. [Update: Thanks to Annette at Annette’s Garden for help with the name: Celastrina neglecta Summer Azure.]
The day began cloudy and cool. After a pleasant breakfast on the porch overlooking the garden we lingered, relishing the quiet respite from the normal hum of air conditioners and mowers. Sounds of Bluebirds, Cardinals, American Gold Finches, Hummingbirds, and Mourning Doves filled the air and occasionally the wind stirred, initiating and sustaining gentle tones from the new wind chimes in the meditation circle.
By early afternoon the sun was shining. With the temperature only in the mid-seventies, well below normal for August, at last it was a perfect day to weed and trim and enjoy the work of the garden. Hungry birds and pollinators made fine company and we each concentrated purposefully on the flowers, stalks and seedpods.
In the southern border Lantana camara (Common lantana) has finally come into full bloom. Reaching that stage seems to have taken longer than usual, but the timing suited very well a Hummingbird Moth, Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe).
It has a long proboscis (tubular mouthpart) used for feeding, which is coiled up while it searches for nectar.
The proboscis is uncoiled to sip from these Phlox Paniculata (Garden Phlox). The antennae are distinctive and as the term Clearwing Moth suggests, part of the wings are clear.
Following a prolific floral display in Spring, a few Chuck Hayes Gardenia blossoms have appeared throughout the summer. The foliage has stayed green and healthy thanks to all the rain this year.
Most of the Shasta Daisies have gone to seed, but there are a few fresh flowers.
I enjoyed Obedient Plant for years at my former shady garden, but it spreads too much in this sunny setting and sends out long-reaching runners. This has just begun to bloom recently. I pulled some up elsewhere but decided to enjoy this for a few days.
Upon closer inspection one can see a couple of ants are at work on the Obedient Plant.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop) is looking strong this year.
Growing among the ‘Autumn Joy’ are a few stems of Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage). The ‘Blue Sky’ attracted one of the few bees seen in the garden this year. Last summer it was hard to photograph the flowers without capturing multiple bees in every frame.
One other bee sipped nectar from the Zinnias that volunteered from last year.
I particularly like the color of this orange Zinnia.
The Zinnias also attracted a colorful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), the state butterfly.
By following the Swallowtail I discovered Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) has set up camp next to the fence. I like the looks of this plant, but I know it would be hard to get rid of if I let it stay.
Another unidentified pollinator was attracted to the Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The American Gold Finches are fond of it too.