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.
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.
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.
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?
Dragonflies are numerous.
Since March eight Eastern Tiger Swallowtail have appeared, though it seems like fewer.
Not quite sure but iNaturalist suggests this is Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta).
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.
This American Lady was too speedy and feisty for me to approach.
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!).
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.
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.
Sipping at the butterfly bush, this black swallowtail appeared yesterday and marks the 20th species of butterfly for 2022. The swallowtails are so lovely.
Dahlia ‘Great Silence’ is about 4 feet tall and is beginning to offer a few flowers.
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.
Can you spot the Silver-spotted Skipper at center of the frame? The wings glow in the gold of the black-eyed susans.
Why don’t I stake gladiolas? G. ‘Flowering Performer’ is new this year with a whitish streak in the center of the petals.
Several liatris survived nibbling and have become popular way-stations for bees and other insects.
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.