Butterflies and Glad Tidings

Throughout the day yesterday I glimpsed this male swallowtail nectaring at this large stand of Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The day before the garden had been filled with colorful American Goldfinch (Carduelis trusts) also enjoying this plant. The verbena has scattered itself all around the borders, so this year I have been able to share some with friends.

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

About a month ago I noticed a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) fluttering around, just for a day, but I could never get a picture. Then again on Saturday another passed through. Still no picture of the butterfly, so I will share its host plant, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant).

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

This spectacular gladiolus below is from a package of blue shades mix planted last spring. The bulbs performed poorly last year, so seeing this royal spire each day thrills me. Although the tip of the stem is out of view, at this stage the gladiolus is half blooms and half buds.

After Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) finished blooming here in the western border, I cut it back leaving this section looking particularly bare. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, everything should fill in quickly: Buddleia davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Butterfly Bush), Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox). I am still deciding how to replace the gardenia hedge that once lined this fence along the back.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

This is the same flower after a rain a few days earlier, with the northwest corner in the background: ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress), Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox), Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood). In front of the planter Allium atropurpureum are preparing to  bloom.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

24 thoughts on “Butterflies and Glad Tidings

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Marian, yes it does seem early for monarch sightings. Actually I usually don’t see them until Sept/Oct, so it seemed unusual.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Pauline. I had a purple gladiolus when I first started the garden that I loved, but it eventually died out. This one is deeper and richer in color with many more blooms. Love it even more.

      Reply
  1. Kris Peterson

    You got beautiful shots of that swallowtail, Susie! The Verbena bonariensis I planted here didn’t do well and, contrary to the common tale of it seeding freely, I never got a one. But perhaps I planted it in a particularly inhospitable location and should try again – it certainly enjoys the approval of birds and butterflies. That deep purple gladiola is just plain gorgeous.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Kris. I don’t know the trick about reseeding V. bonariensis, but keep trying. For a few years I had to buy a new plant each spring. Finally it took off and is now scattered everywhere. I love it.

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Oh Wow Susie, we have nothing so beautiful as your Tiger Swallowtails here. I have lots of Verbena and do the same as you, it makes a great plant to give away. Interesting you have Goldfinches on your verbena too.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Julie, I always thought the verbena attracted Am. Goldfinches because of their seeds, but now not so sure. Doesn’t look like they’ve formed seeds yet. We had more swallowtails than I remember for this time of year. Nice to watch them.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Ricki, it’s true the swallowtails tend to be on the move all the time. He liked that verbena a lot so kept returning to it so I could finally get a picture.

      Reply
  3. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Tiger Swallowtails are so photogenic, as are Monarchs! 🙂 Apparently Monarchs are in our area, too, although I’ve only seen one , and none yet here in my own garden. The Milkweed and nectar plants are ready for them when they arrive! Many people lately seem to be extolling the virtues of Verbena bonariensis. I know the butterflies like it at the local botanical garden. Beautiful images in this post!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Beth. Was planning to make this a Wordless Wednesday post but had too much to say! I loved V. bonariensis for years before knowing its name, after seeing it used in a parking lot of all places. Saw it characterized somewhere as a “pop-up” plant, filling in vertical space in the perennial border but never taking up too much room.

      Reply
  4. Cathy

    Beautiful photos of your Swallowtail Susie! We saw one in our garden a few days ago too – we left some of the grass uncut to allow the weeds and wild flowers to flourish and it has attracted so many insects and butterflies we will expand the unmown patch next year!

    Reply
  5. Christina

    Beautiful images of your lovely Swallowtail, it is very similar to the Swallowtail we have here but not exactly which I find interesting. The Gladiolus is a gorgeous intense shade, are the other bulbs making an appearance too?

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Christina, the swallowtails have been more noticeable this year. Was happy to get some clear pictures of this one. Does your swallowtail have different markings or different coloration? I love that gladiolus and am happy another opened yesterday. As for other bulbs I planted 40 Ranunculus this spring, a first for me, and about 6 plants made it! Was able to cut my first two flowers today but they were very much smaller than I’d imagined. I added lots of alliums this year but am wondering if the voles got them. Planted 4 Asiatic lilies in a container and 1 has pushed through the soil. Fingers crossed!

      Reply
  6. Frogend_dweller

    Amazing depth to the colour of that gladiolus, it is wnderful. Great shots of the swallowtail butterfly. We don’t have such large butterflies here, except in theme park type attractions.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      That gladiolus has made me happy for a week. Amazing how well it has lasted in the garden. Interesting your butterflies are smaller. I don’t know a lot about them really, but these are quite common here.

      Reply
  7. gardeninacity

    That is a gorgeous gladiolus. Also – those Swallowtail pictures! You’ve got an admirable patch of butterflyweed. I saw a Black Swallowtail yesterday – I think she was laying eggs on my parsley. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Black swallowtails are gorgeous. Lucky you! The flowers on one butterflyweed plant opened about a month ago, were beautiful for a week and were devoured by something, every last one. This plant opened later and has lasted better. Guess the monarchs don’t need the flower heads, just the leaves?

      Reply
  8. Cathy

    If only we had Swallowtails here to visit my Verbena bonariensis! I will pay more attention to any butterflies visiting them in future after your post. And what a lush gladiolus colour – I can imagine it made you happy all week!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Yes, the gladiolus has been lovely all week. I was tempted to bring it indoors but it has kept nicely outside. Now some others are opening to keep it company.

      Reply

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