Ah, Summer In July!

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) – Meditation Circle at Sunset July 14, 2022

Hot, yes. But summer, ah! My husband and I enjoy the daily comings and goings of hummingbirds and American Gold Finches as they forage. Songbirds and cicadas provide a satisfying soundtrack to garden wanders. Paths in the meditation circle are too overgrown to make room for walking but at least the culprits are not weeds this year, but rather cleome rising up 5 or more feet. They seed easily and though I committed to staying strong and trying to reclaim the meditation circle for walking meditations, I aways think maybe I’ll keep just a few.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Last year I made a habit of checking the garden every day for butterflies, logging 600 individuals from 33 species.  This year I have checked only sporadically, counting 113 from among 20 species. So far I have managed two lifers, a Least Skipper and a Great Spangled Fritillary.

There are two stands of green-headed coneflower in the garden and both are abuzz with activity most of the day with a diversity of insects: bees, a few butterflies and various insects I have identified previously but haven’t learned. They work the flowers with intentionality—some hustle, some accommodate. Their encounters set up a communal rhythm of lighting, feeding, and scrambling for another place to land.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

This is one of three buckeyes spotted this year. Like many of the butterflies seen so far it escaped being dinner for something higher up the food chain.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

It is fascinating to discover how varied butterflies present themselves depending on position of wings. This Eastern Tailed-Blue allowed just a tease of its spread-winged blue coloration. Can you spot it in the lower right quadrant above the unopened black-eyed susan?

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Dragonflies are numerous.

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

Since March eight Eastern Tiger Swallowtail have appeared, though it seems like fewer.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Not quite sure but iNaturalist suggests this is Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta).

Slaty Skimmer

A second hairstreak showed up this week, also on the Rudbeckia (I suppose it could be the same individual, so I should say second sighting). Last year I observed two other species of hairstreak as well that are absent this year.

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

This American Lady was too speedy and feisty for me to approach.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

A few zinnias are established from seed. Never got them all planted because the rabbits were devouring them (even with my rabbit fence—they’re ensconced within the fence!).

Zinnia

This entire section of the border was meant to be full of dahlias. Some tubers didn’t return, some new ones didn’t emerge, some still hold promise. More rudbeckia in background full of insects. Only one phlox survived the rabbits.

Dahlia Decorative ‘Noordwijks Glorie’, Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Lantana and Black-eyed Susans are adding a big splash of color in the southern border. Drought-resistant, yes, but they appreciate water too and it has been very dry. I am headed out soon to give them a drink. A shower yesterday lasted only 2-3 minutes.

Lantana camara (Common lantana) and Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Sipping at the butterfly bush, this black swallowtail appeared yesterday and marks the 20th species of butterfly for 2022. The swallowtails are so lovely.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’ is about 4 feet tall and is beginning to offer a few flowers.

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’ (Decorative dahlia)

The blackberry lily seeds from my sister were a great gift to the garden. Polinators find them attractive. Most are orange but this one has a decidedly red tendency.

Iris domestica (blackberry lily)

Can you spot the Silver-spotted Skipper at center of the frame? The wings glow in the gold of the black-eyed susans.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Why don’t I stake gladiolas? G. ‘Flowering Performer’ is new this year with a whitish streak in the center of the petals.

Gladiolus ‘Flowering Performer’

Several liatris survived nibbling and have become popular way-stations for bees and other insects.

 

Liatris Spicata ‘Blazing Star’

The garden is feeling more robust this year despite the dry weather. A haven from worldly cares, it offers a kind respite where the pace of life can slow, where nourishment can be found.

21 thoughts on “Ah, Summer In July!

  1. Kris P

    Even if your butterfly hunting forays are sporadic, Susie, you’re doing better than I could ever hope to in catching your subjects on camera. Great shots and I’m glad you’re enjoying the peace your garden offers.

    Reply
  2. theshrubqueen

    Love the bugs! I tried to figure out what dragonflies I had once, only once. The Cleome looks wonderful, I wouldn’t be able to resist keeping it either. Stay cool.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The cleome is fairly easy to remove if I really want it removed, but those seeds keep it trying. Hope you can be cool as well. Have a good weekend.

      Reply
  3. Horticat

    Wow, such a diversity of insects and plants in your garden, Susie. It must be so satisfying to know that your hard work is helping to support so many creatures. And of course you get to enjoy their beauty as a bonus.

    I’ve never grown cleome before – must give them a go after seeing yours looking so happy.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Yes, I’m happy to support the insects. I love blooming plants and so the both insects and I are nourished. Cleome does well here. It gravitates to where it’s happy and seeds heavily unless you’re better than I am in removing the pods, but it’s quite interesting.

      Reply
  4. Linda Brazill

    I am amazed at what you are able to capture on film and identify, let alone keep track of. I haven’t seen much activity here but perhaps that’s because my garden is so shady. Love your Monday bouquet. Such richness and depth of color.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Linda. Glad you like the vase. It lasted well and the flowers cheer us up indoors. I have to look up lots of names of plants and insects but I am pretty good about labeling my images, so I can look back easily. I like for everything to have a name!

      Reply
  5. Cathy

    Your garden is looking lovely Susie, and the variety of pollinators visiting must be wonderful for you to watch. Good to hear you are getting as much enjoyment out of it as your butterflies! 😃🦋

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy, feeling better about the garden this year and finding pleasure in it again! Yours is looking great in what seems like a fairly short time.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy. I don’t like to overuse those digital pictures but sometimes the filter makes a nice effect. The garden was languishing in the heat today until a late afternoon shower, brief as it was, gave a little relief.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks you Judy for thinking of me! I have learned to recognize a few garden visitors–some I feel I rediscover year after year with no memory of having seen it, but there it is in my records. Thank goodness for iNaturalist and other sites.

      Reply

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