Today brings a welcome chance to share the garden by participating in Cathy’s weekly call to display our cut flowers In A Vase On Monday. My vase was prepared several days ago.
This past week I finally cleared the Southern Side Path of grass, pruned a couple of overgrown shrubs to make it easier to pass by, and deadheaded lamb’s ears, echinacea and more. The fence gate in the photo below belongs to my neighbors. Mine is not visible, but the slate path curves to the right, leading visitors through the gate and into the main garden.
At the right corner guarding the back entrance, a large Green-Headed Coneflower had been taking its job much too seriously, reaching out from the house and blocking traffic from both directions. I cut away and removed all of the overhanging stalks, which were still covered in golden yellow petals and pollinators galore. (Can’t remember the last time I wrote “galore.”)
This plant, Rudbeckia laciniata, grows 6-7 feet tall and begins blooming early to mid-July. Although the trimmings were generously oversized, I decided I could use them for a Monday arrangement if I left them outdoors. Normally left unadorned by the front door, a large periwinkle ceramic urn made the perfect container.
A tall glass vase of water was placed inside the urn to hold the the rudbeckias. The flowers sit cheerfully at the front door to welcome company. I was too tired to worry about arranging them carefully, but now wish I had taken a few more minutes to pose them.
That the pollinators would not mind being relocated was one thing I had not anticipated. When dinner guests actually did arrive Saturday, dozens of bees and other insects were hanging around. Entering the front door required calculation and prowess.
I tried to identify this skipper and thought I had found a match on Jeff Pippin’s site, until I read the description: “Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus): In NC, this butterfly is rare to uncommon and found only in the mountains. Indian Skippers are single brooded, flying in May/June. The host plants are various grasses, and this species is commonly found nectaring on Red Clover.”
So much for my skipper skills. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong plant. If anyone recognizes this insect, I would like to know what it is.
This one I believe is Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
In summer I love to fill the house inside with flowers as well, not formal arrangements, just colorful blossoms lining the counters and tables, tucked into window sills and corners. These are a few from the weekend dinner party.