Category Archives: garden

A Week Of Flowers – Day Two

Lily Asiatic ‘Royal Sunset’

In its second year Cathy of Words and Herbs is hosting a Week of Flowers, inviting everyone to share some extra colour and cheer by posting one flowery photo a day, for a week.

With gentle Lamb’s Ear leaning in, Lily ‘Royal Sunset’ opened in early June to reveal subtle brushwork in soft peach, apricot and gold.

Lily Asiatic ‘Royal Sunset’

For an uplifting color boost this week visit Cathy in Bavaria at Words and Herbs to see florals from around the globe.

 

A Week Of Flowers – Day One

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

For a second year Cathy of Words and Herbs is hosting a Week of Flowers, inviting everyone to share some “extra colour and cheer” by posting one flowery photo a day, for a week.

During 2021 I have mostly posted floral designs and butterfly journal entries so will omit those images this week. I started growing Cerinthe two years ago. It reseeded generously the first year, not so much this year, but I have saved some seeds. I love its rich blue-green palette.

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

For an uplifting color boost this week visit Cathy in Bavaria at Words and Herbs to see florals from around the globe.

In A Vase On Monday – Red Flowers

In A Vase On Monday – Red Flowers

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Red Flowers

Overnight temperatures in the 20s F. spoil any opened camellia flowers, but buds remain plentiful on Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’. Flowers open afresh daily, so I was able to collect several stems of red camellias for today’s vase.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Materials
Flowers, Foliage
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 11/19/2021 – 11/28/2021

American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded a single observation, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 600 (30 species)*.

[*Including a Painted Lady seen in town the overall 2021 annual butterfly total is an 601 (31 species).]

Butterfly Sightings 11/19/2021 – 11/28/2021

11/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1

A fortuitous glance out the window and a flash of orange led me outdoors just to double-check and yes, it really was a butterfly in late November nectaring on dandelion. There was time only for two quick snapshots.

American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis

American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis

What might December bring?

In A Vase On Monday – November Curiosities

In A Vase On Monday – November Curiosities

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

With temperatures now below freezing at night the garden has receded considerably, yet it offered surprises this week. More of the white plicata bearded irises with their purple stitching and stippling that featured in last Monday’s vase have continued to form new flowers and Russian sage in the side garden suddenly is covered with fresh flowers.

In A Vase On Monday – November Curiosities

In A Vase On Monday – November Curiosities

Even as photographed in the weak light of late afternoon, these November oddities, nestled into a porcelain Ikebana vase, make an intriguing combination.

In A Vase On Monday – November Curiosities

Materials
Flowers
Tall bearded iris, reblooming
Salvia yangii, previously known as Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Foliage
Container
Container Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 11/13/2021 – 11/18/2021

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on Cleome

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 2 observations, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 599 (30 species)*.

[*Including a Painted Lady seen in town the overall 2021 annual butterfly total is an even 600 (31 species).]

Butterfly Sightings 11/13/2021 – 11/18/2021

11/13/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
11/13/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1

Last Sunday, November 13, was our first morning waking up to temperatures below freezing. It was also the only day of butterfly activity detected in my garden this week. A glorious late-morning sighting of a fresh, male monarch sent me outdoors to document this late arrival.

The butterfly flew in and among the beds tasting a number of plants along the way, including dianthus.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

For a time it settled in the meditation circle attracted to verbena bonariensis and eventually to cleome. Determinedly fighting a gusty wind the butterfly resembled someone in a storm wrestling an unwieldy umbrella.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Throughout the week the thermometer readings dipped a few times again below 32F, but ironically we had beautiful and warm days with highs reaching to mid-70s. Seeing the monarch Sunday lifted my expectations that a few more stragglers might wander through, but searching most days among the remaining flowers yielded no further butterfly treasure.

One afternoon I saw a good number of yellow jackets reigning over the camellias, while two sluggish carpenter bees had the chrysanthemums to themselves.  Lady bugs flew by (some are creeping into the house) and, so it goes.

Eastern Carpenter Bee on Chrysanthemum

After spending months looking so closely inward toward the garden, in the early hours of this morning my attention focused skyward to observe the full Beaver Moon of November 2021 in the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years. Around 4 a.m. EDT, near the peak of the eclipse,  I joined my fellow curious humans to observe the moon 97% covered by the Earth’s shadow. Bathed in a reddish glow our planet’s natural satellite was resplendent as it cast light over this little garden.

Hope awe and wonder filtered through your life this week.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

In A Vase On Monday – Abundance Of Autumn

In A Vase On Monday – Abundance Of Autumn

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

With temperatures forecast to fall below freezing Sunday morning I cut flowers on Saturday for today’s vase.

My pass-along button chrysanthemums are having a banner year. Held on tall plant the fluffy pale yellow flowers lighten as they age, fading gracefully toward white with hints of pink.

Button Chrysanthemum

Button Chrysanthemum

Button Chrysanthemum (Passalong from Virgie)

A blogging friend suggested this reblooming iris might be ‘Autumn Circus.’ I read there are so many irises with this pattern they are very hard to be certain of unless you grow one of known variety next to yours. Our fall weather in central North Carolina has been so agreeable (except for lack of rain) that irises have been blooming for over a month. I was compelled to include one in today’s last pre-frost vase.

Tall bearded iris

Leaves of the Eastern Redbud glimmered in the afternoon sun while I was planting bulbs the other day. Up close they are marked by the aging cycle and the effect of cold weather but still I find them beautiful.  I cut a long branch that initially rose above the iris but eventually I cut it down.

Cercis Leaf With chrysanthemums and iris 

The red vase and black vase is a mismatch in color but was the perfect height and shape to hold the flowers without the assistance of mechanics. I wish I’d kept looking to find the right vase but life has been busy and there was no time to second-guess. Often things like this are exaggerated in photographs but really look fine in person, but actually the red looks odd in person also. A few more handfuls of chrysanthemums cascading over the lip of the vase could hide that red and possibly make the entire design more interesting. I trust you to picture it in your mind’s eye.

Materials
Flowers
Button chrysanthemum
Tall bearded iris
Foliage
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
Hellebore
Container
Raku vase, Charles Chrisco, Chrisco’s Pottery

In A Vase On Monday – Abundance Of Autumn

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 11/05/2021 – 11/12/2021

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 6 observations, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 597 (30 species)*.

[*The overall 2021 annual butterfly total to 598 (31 species).]

Butterfly Sightings 11/05/2021 – 11/12/2021

11/9/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
11/12/2021 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae 1
11/12/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
11/12/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3

From a window on Tuesday I spotted a Cloudless Sulphur floating above the garden for a minute or two, but it quickly moved on without making a stop. There are still a few floral enticements it might have tasted: saliva, lantana, a few zinnias and cosmos. Or how about some fresh button chrysanthemums?  Yesterday a Fiery Skipper found a sunny spot to pause among the flowers of this passalong plant.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

After a busy week it was a relief to spend some time in the garden yesterday afternoon. The day was sunny and mild. I planted narcissus, hyacinths, muscari and allium yesterday—still a few more bulbs to place.

A butterfly drew me outside. I had spotted it earlier but it didn’t stay. When it returned (presumably it was the same one) it paused among a large planting of shasta daisies before moving through the garden. I couldn’t get very close to it but I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see a Cabbage White! This was the tenth one of 2021 and the first one here since mid-July.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

While trying to photograph the Cabbage White I noticed skippers in front of me. I shifted the camera toward them just as the Cabbage White took off and felt their touch. I’ve never had a butterfly land on my hand before, much less two. It was a sweet moment but the timing was decidedly awkward.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

I helped them settle back onto lantana.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Autumn color exploded this week and throughout the neighborhood and along our routes around town the views have been spectacular. The last time I wrote a butterfly journal entry there was a prediction for our first freeze that never materialized.  Tomorrow (Sunday) a hard freeze (30°F.) is expected.

 

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight

Each Monday for the past eight years Cathy at Rambling In The Garden has invited us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.  She posed a challenge for IAVOM’s eighth anniversary: to share a vase without fresh blooms.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight

Temperatures have been lower but we have yet to get a frost yet. There are fresh flowers in the garden—even irises which have rebloomed—but in the spirit of meeting Cathy’s challenge I walked around the borders in hopes of finding enough dried materials to fill a small vase. Soon I had much more than expected: cleome, lantana, zinnia, echinacea, juniper with seeds and pods, dogwood leaves and berries, salvia.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight. Cleome seed pods, salvia, juniper.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight. Zinnia.

I moved out front to gather several camellia seed heads I had noticed a few weeks ago, but they were too fragile. Fortuitously my sweet neighbor Eileen was walking her dogs and when I explained what I was doing she invited me to come to her garden to search for more items.  She has a lovely, well-tended garden and offered beautiful, still colorful hydrangeas and more, including magnolia, salvias, grasses, heuchera leaves, and nandina berries and leaves.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight. Magnolia and nandina.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight. Nandina berries.

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight

In A Vase On Monday – Year Eight.  Echinacea and hydrangea.

Materials
Variety of Dried Flowers and Foliage
in a Handwoven basket from Williamsburg, Va.

Congratulations to Cathy on this eighth anniversary of In A Vase On Monday. I appreciate her dedication and generosity in hosting us each week. I have really enjoyed participating through the years.  Many thanks Cathy!

Check out her anniversary dried arrangement this week and those of others at Rambling In The Garden.

Butterfly Journal For 10/29/2021 – 11/04/2021

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) at Fresh Market

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 1 observation in my garden, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 591 (30 species).

Also I had a first-of-year sighting in a commercial landscape planting at the grocery store this week.  I have been on the lookout for a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), but it is a little bittersweet that I finally saw one this year away from home and not in my garden. I am excited nevertheless; this encounter brings my overall 2021 annual butterfly total to 592 (31 species).

Butterfly Sightings 10/29/2021 –  11/04/2021

10/31/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
11/2/2021 Painted Lady – Vanessa cardui 1   FOY [not in my garden]

A Clouded Skipper frequented the back garden for much of one day. I also think I saw another one nectaring at the sasanquas but I could not get a photograph of that one for verification. This one landed on Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ .

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

It was nice to capture an open-wing view of the skipper taking off among coreposis leaves.

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

There is a freeze warning for tonight, our first this fall. Butterfly season is waning but I intend to keep an eye out for any late activity.

In A Vase On Monday – Pink In Painted Glass

In A Vase On Monday – Pink In Painted Glass

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Pink In Painted Glass

I think of early spring as the appropriate time for pink flowers but today autumn pinks star in this November vase. Sheffield chrysanthemums have been generously shared among neighbors in our community. I am not sure which homeowner planted them first but they thrive here and make good pass-alongs. Some are quite apricot but mine are definitely pink. Butterflies are said to like them but when I was gathering flowers for today’s vase,  bees were finding them delicious.

Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’

On the north side of our house Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana Jiman’ is in full bloom. Its delicate flowers carry a lovely scent.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana Jiman’

Clematis ‘Niobe’ has been reblooming robustly for a month or so. It spills over the scalloped edge of the Fenton glass vase, drawing the eye to hand painted floral decoration.

Clematis ‘Niobe’

Clematis ‘Niobe’

Fenton Painted Glass Vase

Materials
Flowers
Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana Jiman’
Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’
Clematis ‘Niobe’
Foliage
Container
Hand painted Fenton Glass Vase – USA

In A Vase On Monday – Pink In Painted Glass

In A Vase On Monday – Pink In Painted Glass

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 10/22/2021 – 10/28/2021

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 7 observations (2 species), bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 590 (30 species).

Compared to the previous report this is 3 more observations but 2 fewer species. Nectar sources are still available for any last minute guests but the butterfly party is closing down for this year.

Butterfly Sightings 10/22/2021 –  10/28/2021

10/22/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 3
10/24/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
10/27/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1

Frequent visitors to the garden since mid-June, Fiery Skippers are uncommon now.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

On October 22, 2021, I was particularly happy to see 3 monarchs feeding at the lantana. This male had a unusual light coloration on it’s right upper wing.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

At one point it moved perilously close to ensnarement by a huge orb spider. Alarmed, I disassembled the web quickly but was unable to relocate the spider. A master at escape, it simply dropped out of sight.  The next day it’s web was rebuilt and once again I took it down. One thread of the web is visible in the lower left quadrant of the photo below.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Butterfly season has been an enriching time here in my little garden this year. Thanks to all for sharing this little adventure.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

Another week passed without rain and even the zinnias appear tired of the situation. Before the zinnias end their season I want to bring them to the forefront of a Monday vase. Throughout the summer they have provided nectar for pollinators while adding plenty of zingy color to the borders.

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

In searching for a vase today I found a unique ceramic piece, crafted in high school by our daughter. The container is sculptural, not functional, not built to hold water. Neither was inside the main compartment wide enough to hold an insert like a water bottle, but I couldn’t resist arranging the flowers in it anyway without water for a brief time.

This side of the vase has several compartments and a dark blue tree and bright yellow sun decoration.

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

The back view has a sun with a  larger tree design.

Back view with Sun and Tree

After a quick photo shoot on a beautiful October Sunday afternoon, I moved the flowers into a favorite stoneware pitcher to rehydrate and live out the week. The white semi-cactus Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’ play a support role this week.

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

Materials
Flowers
Zinnia Cactus Flowered Mix
Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’
Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’
Foliage
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Button Chrysanthemum
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Containers
Ceramic Slab Vase with Tree and Sun Decoration. MLMB, circa 1997.
Stoneware pitcher. Pringle Pottery, North Carolina, circa 1977.

In A Vase On Monday – Zinnias And Zest

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 10/15/2021 – 10/21/2021

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 4 observations (4 species), bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 583 (30 species).

Butterfly Sightings 10/15/2021 –  10/21/2021

10/15/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/15/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
10/16/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
10/21/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1

None of the butterflies stayed around long enough for more than quick snapshots. With the Pearl Crescent the time was only enough to recognize and record its presence with an obscure image.

Last weekend there were promises and some reports of rain throughout the region but nothing more here than a brief splash. Though there are still plenty of flowers on the Lantana camara (Common lantana), skippers have all but disappeared from their favorite nectar source in my garden.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

In mid-October despite their now deeply mildewed foliage, zinnias continue to provide a resounding zing of color to the borders. I’ve been in no hurry to clear them, preferring to enjoy for myself the pops of pink, orange and yellow that dominated this year’s crop, knowing too butterflies might enjoy them. Yesterday I embodied an old clichéd phrase: my heart soared when I spotted a fresh female monarch nectaring on the zinnias.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) -female

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) -female

Occasional sightings are possible into next month but butterfly season here is coming to a close.

Wordless Wednesday—Angelonia In The Meditation Circle

I used this angelonia in my vase on Monday and several readers were unfamiliar with it. An annual here, it blooms all summer until first frost without deadheading.

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

At mid-October as cooler temperatures arrive, today I am savoring the garden’s late-season  flowers.

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment

The stars of the vase are Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’, ‘Gallery Pablo’ and ‘David Howard’.

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment:  Dahlias

Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’ and Zinnias

Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’

The past two years sunset-orange D. ‘David Howard’ bloomed early and bloomed prolifically  until frost, but it is just starting to progress this year.

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’ pouted its way through summer and finally looks happy and exuberant. I chose it this morning to accompany the large white dahlias. As I kept adding other materials the angelonia became less prominent, yet worked beautifully to frame the vase.

Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’ and Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’

Materials
Flowers
Angelonia AngelMist ‘Spreading Berry Sparkler’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’
Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Container
Raku vase, Charles Chrisco, Chrisco’s Pottery

In A Vase On Monday – Savoring The Moment

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 10/08/2021 – 10/14/2021

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Butterfly sightings have dwindled significantly. Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 7 observations (6 species), bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 579 (30 species).

Butterfly Sightings 10/08/2021 –  10/14/2021

10/10/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/13/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/13/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
10/14/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
10/14/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1

We had one satisfying rain a week ago, just following my last report’s lament on how dry it had been. (It came Friday, October 8 and well into Saturday.) Then a series of days marked by heavy, portending gray clouds gave way to clear blue skies without producing rain.

There have been few photo opportunities this week. Precipitation brought a sigh of relief and optimism, but did not bring out butterflies here.  Plenty of flowers for them to feed on are still available should they arrive.

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

My dahlias are double or semi-double which are not as easy for insects to feed upon as single dahlias would be, but zinnias and lantana are plentiful. (I ordered several singles but they didn’t survive.)

Lantana and Zinnias

I spotted one little hairstreak this week resting atop my passalong chrysanthemums, which are full of buds.

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Last year I saw an occasional butterfly into mid-November so I am hopeful the 2021 list will expand by a few more entries.

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In Textured Vase

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In Textured Vase

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

Rain came at last on Friday, a nice long slow soaking, bringing  temporary relief. The next day I gathered a variety of dahlias and conditioned them in water overnight. I passed along many to a friend, then allotted the rest among multiple vases. For this Monday’s vase I settled on a few purple cactus dahlias with white centers, whose name I do not know. This has been the most prolific bloomer this dahlia season. I paired them with fragrant gardenias which are putting on a great fall show.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In Textured Vase

The green container, a gift several years ago from my sister, is three-sided with purple glazing inside and a heavily scribed surface decoration.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In Textured Vase

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia sp. – No ID
Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’ (Ball)
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Foliage
Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Container
Glazed ceramic vase

I had intended to feature Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’ today but couldn’t get them arranged and photographed to my satisfaction. The colors are so pretty so I will sneak them in anyway.

Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’

Likewise, I was happy to see Clematis ‘Niobe’  flowering again. It has quite a few buds. Out of proportion with its companions in this first attempt, it deserved to be included today but I ran out of time. Eventually I stood it upright behind the dahlias. I love its rich color.

Clematis ‘Niobe’ With Dahlias

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 10/01/2021 – 10/07/2021

October 2, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Since my last report I recorded 24 observations, down from 43 last report. The 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden is 572.  A chance encounter with a Common Checkered-Skipper added another species to those seen my first time (7 lifers this year)—a total of 30 species noted in the garden for 2021.

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

Conditions are dry and overcast with teasing gray, cloudy skies alternating with rich blue skies. Forecasts for a rainy week have led to disappointment. Today there is a 51% chance at 10 a.m. for about 0.3 inches, similar to predictions of past days. While running an errand across town Monday afternoon I was caught in a short-lived downpour, so I can attest it did rain locally, just not in this garden.

Butterfly Sightings 10/01/2021 –  10/07/2021
10/02/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
10/02/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 2
10/02/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/02/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
10/03/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
10/03/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
10/03/2021 Common Checkered-Skipper – Burnsius communis 1
10/03/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/04/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/05/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/05/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
10/05/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
10/06/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
10/07/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1

It was difficult to get photos this week. Lately Carpenter bees have used aggressive positioning to dominate the main nectar sources, Common lantana and zinnias.  The few monarchs I saw were constantly interrupted by the bees and would fly way up into the air, floating around, sometimes resting high in the redbud tree or a neighbor’s Japanese maple, before giving it another try.  Eventually the monarchs just moved on out of the garden. At my back fence looking toward a neighbor’s backyard, I managed to catch this monarch nectaring on remnants of Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower).

October 3, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

There are usually a few but this autumn has brought a surprising flush of blooms on the gardenias. Before this year I had never noticed gardenias attracting skippers.

October 3, 2021 – Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

I had help identifying this skipper from Harry LeGrand in the Carolina Leps group: “Clouded. VERY long proboscis, strong white costal band. They often nectar on morning-glory and many other tubular flowers; most skippers can’t reach the nectar on such flowers.”  Watch at full screen view if possible and you can see that proboscis in action in this video.

Missing: Last year I saw Red-spotted Purple, Painted Lady, Wild Indigo Duskywing and American Snout, but not yet this year.  Monarchs are scarce and very few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have stopped by the garden this year.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

 

In A Vase On Monday – October Messenger

In A Vase on Monday – October Messenger

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens. It has been another week without rain. 

Some of the dahlias are blooming more vigorously, like the one I’m featuring in today’s vase: Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’. [Apparently I’ve been misspelling the name of this flower as Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’.  I checked my records and it was sold under the latter name, but this year I noticed the change.]

Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’

I’ve grown this white semi-cactus dahlia for about three years. Bred in Japan and introduced in 1953 its name means “Messenger From The Moon.”  It seems to produce its best flowers in fall—some are finally reaching the promised 6-8 inches.

Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’

Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’

Gardenias are having one of the nicest re-blooming periods I can recall. Last week I used foliage of Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’. This week the shrub is in bloom and I was able to include stems whose flowers are open, releasing their signature sweet fragrance.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

Last year all my dahlias seemed to be the nearly the same type and size, making it challenging to create arrangements. This year I ordered more variety, including a white ball form called Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’ that has been useful.

Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’

I like the white-on-white effect and had planned to use only white flowers today, but a few remaining bare spots forced my hand. After taking a long time to produce, D. ‘Totally Tangerine’ has found its stride so there are fresh blooms daily.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Maybe the design needed a bit of color after all.

In A Vase on Monday – October Messenger

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’ (Ball)
Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ (Anemone)
Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’  (was: Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’)
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Foliage
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Container
Dark blue matte ceramic jar

Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.

Butterfly Journal For 9/25/2021 – 9/30/2021

September 27, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Since my last report I recorded 43 observations of 10 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 548 (29 total species).  There has been no more rain.

Butterfly Sightings 9/25/2021 –  9/30/2021
09/25/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/25/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/25/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
09/26/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/26/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/27/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/27/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
09/27/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/27/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/28/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
09/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/28/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/28/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/29/2021 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas 1
09/29/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
09/29/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/30/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
09/30/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1

I had no first-of-life or first-of-year sightings, but did enjoy seeing a few species that had not been around for a while. Yesterday saw the return of the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), the first since August 11. They were frequently seen around the garden in June and July. This one was hanging out among dahlias. It flew off as soon as I approached so I managed only a fuzzy, not-worth-sharing photo.

Last reporting period I had noted a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) and this week saw one more. It was one of the first species seen in the garden this year, back in April 10, 2021. While I have been recording butterfly sightings I have only scratched the surface in learning about the individual species and their habits.

September 27, 2021 Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) was back this week also after being absent since August 10, 2021. As colorful and welcome as it was, I admit to hoping it was going to be a Painted Lady, which has been completely absent from my garden since last year, August 2, 2020. From following reports of other butterfly watchers I understand numbers for Painted Lady species is down across the state. I captured the American Lady busily nectaring on Common Lantana.

September 27, 2021 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Fiery Skipper still contributes to padding my number of total butterfly observations–they are easily observed in multiples. Anecdotally their numbers seem way down this year.

September 26, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

I continue to see a few Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) here and there. This is another species other people note as absent from their reports.

September 27, 2021 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

On Wednesday an Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) followed me inside onto the porch. It was in no mood for pictures. Though I left the door open it spent the next half-hour frantically trying to escape the screen. Eventually it found its way to freedom. I had last recorded seeing this species three times in June of this year.

September 29, 2021 Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The other species seen this reporting phase are the most photogenic (or at least the most cooperative in allowing me to photograph them). I saw 4 Red-banded Hairstreak, 4 Cloudless Sulphur, 3 Monarch and 1 Sleepy Orange. I will close by sharing with you the graceful beauty of these creatures, but first here are several other visitors to the garden.

Suddenly there are lots of birds (which are too quick for my camera) and many grasshoppers.

September 27, 2021 Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

Perhaps this Carolina anole, sunning on a gazing ball underneath the zinnias, is hoping for supper.

September 27, 2021 Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Hummingbird Clearwings have been frequently seen this summer. The other day more than once this moth bumped the monarch out of its way. I’ve noticed carpenter bees feeding on lantana to be similarly aggressive lately.

September 28, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

The male monarch was pristinely fresh.

September 27, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

September 27, 2021 butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Lantana is universally popular as a nectaring source. The one Sleepy Orange I saw during this reporting period blended in with the multi-colored flower clusters pretty well.

September 26, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

September 26, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

For a few days I enjoyed seeing a Cloudless Sulphur in the yard, like this one intently feeding on zinnias.

September 25, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

None of my single-form dahlias survived the rabbits and drought this summer, but there have been a few butterflies lured to the doubles. Dahlia ‘Break Out’ opened recently. Whether this Red-banded Hairstreak was able to nectar here I’m not sure.

September 25, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

I was confused about the name of a dahlia last week—I had misremembered planting ‘Fairway Spur’ in its location.. But after a second flower opened Thursday with more distinctive coloring I checked my records and was able to identify it as Dahlia ‘Break Out’.  It matches the description used by the vendor in comparing it to D. ‘Café au Lait’, “Break Out’s petals are more pink than cream, and the center of the blossom has a golden glow. The flowers are also looser and more informal, with thick, velvety petals.”  I think it’s a lovely flower and planned to feature it solo for today’s Monday vase, using this photo.

Dahlia ‘Break Out’

But after our rains mid-week all the dahlias perked up a bit and I was able to cut a  good number of stems. I have been waiting all summer for these plants to produce and wanted to share the bounty with you today. While conditioning them in water I enjoyed the luxury of seeing each flower. I was particularly happy with ‘Totally Tangerine’, which until now had produced only one or two flowers at a time, malformed ones at that after suffering the drought and heat of summer. (Click an image for larger view.)

I considered arranging the flowers in the same vases as I had used to condition them, but as many of the stems were rather short, I decided to use floral foam so I could better control each placement.

I began with D. ‘Totally Tangerine’. The seller describes them this way: “flowers have a cluster of short and frilly orange petals in the center, surrounded by larger, daisy-like petals that may be flamingo pink, pale yellow or apricot, depending on the weather and time of year.” These flowers are brighter outdoors in sunlight and paler as they age. Mine feel almost coppery at times—I’m quite taken with them.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Not quite open fully – Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

The arrangement went together fairly quickly but I soon ran out of the featured dahlia and enlisted the help of others in the same color range.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ with Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

At this point the arranging was finished but I had yet to settle on a vase. I tried two versions and both worked fine. The first vase I tested, a green pedestal, seemed a bit too tall, but I came back to it in the end.

Vase 1A – In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

The second vase is a few inches shorter and makes the design seem fuller. The creamy color picks up the white flowers and makes them stand out more.

Vase 1B – In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

The foliage drapes easier around the neck of the second vase. I used gardenia as foliage. A few stems had buds so the bouquet is slightly fragrant.

Foliage: Lavender, Gardenia, Everlasting sweet pea with white Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia sp. (cactus, overwintered, prolific bloomer, no-ID)
Dahlia ‘Break Out’ (Dinnerplate)
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Pablo’ (Border Decorative)
Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’ (Ball)
Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ (Anemone)
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Zinnia
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Container
floral foam; plastic 6-inch Lomey dish
Ceramic Urn Stamped “Vintage 4”, 5-inches tall
Green Paper Mache Pedestal Urn, 8-inches tall

I have gone on too long but don’t you wonder what happened to the other flowers? I prepared them in a similar fashion, first arranging them into a small plastic dish and trying them with the two vases. Dahlia ‘Break Out’ is the focal point, supported by the purple no-ID cactus dahlias.

In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

The green vase is too stark for these soft floral colors, so I settled on the creamy vase for this arrangement.

Vase 2A – In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

Vase 2 B – In A Vase On Monday – Mixed Dahlias

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Thanks for your patience and as always thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for providing this opportunity to to share our vases. Visit her to discover what garden surprises she and others are offering this week.