I have promised myself someday I will return to painting (but this month I did not).
It has been too hot for me to want to garden but occasionally I step outside with the camera to survey the visitors.
Early this morning I spotted a skipper flying erratically among Verbena bonariensis flowers along the front drive.
In the main garden in the back yard a large bush of common lantana draws many insects, as does the nearby Blue Sky salvia, both growing in the southern border. In the western border along the back fence a butterfly bush offers enticement.
Unlike last week when they merely passed through, several eastern tiger swallowtails spent the day.
In addition to the swallowtail, this morning in quick succession I enjoyed seeing some favorites return. There was a male monarch in good condition bouncing back and forth between the lantana and salvia.
While photographing the monarch a Common Buckeye appeared, first one this year for me.
Can you spot where it fled to escape my persistent camera?
I left the common buckeye alone once the first Hummingbird Clearwing of the season suddenly came into view. It has an easily recognizable profile.
The Hummingbird Clearwing didn’t stay still but it stayed around long enough for me to take portraits.
Within just a few minutes I was cheered to see such interesting creatures. Hope the garden is feeding your soul this August.
November passed quickly with the garden left largely unattended and mostly unvisited, except by the avian community. Most days colorful Eastern Towhees, Northern Cardinals (North Carolina’s state bird) and Eastern Bluebirds vie for turns at the feeders. Occasionally, Red-bellied Woodpeckers stop by and frequently, Brown-headed Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees watch for their chances to approach.
On November 22 there were ample flowers left in the borders to fill Thanksgiving day vases with fresh zinnias, echinacea, lavender sprigs and foliage, Iceberg roses, chrysanthemums, and there were pristine camellias to float in small ceramic dishes. The next day brought the first hard frost of the year and this week a few nights with temperatures down into the twenties finally have convinced many plants to consider winding things down.
I wandered around today to see what has survived the cold. The old-fashioned woody-stemmed pale yellow chrysanthemum looks very sad, but I included a couple of pictures below to illustrate an interesting transition. One image shows the original yellow of the flower and the next shows how the chrysanthemum flowers change to pink as they fade. Most of the garden is wilted and tinged with brown, though a few flowers still look nice for this time of year.
As November’s end approaches the day is clear, the sun is low. By 1:30 pm much of the garden lay in shade cast from the Carolina Sapphires. The sunset will come early at 5:02 p.m., after making its late start this morning at 7:06 a.m. November accomplishments are few except for the addition of a few daffodil bulbs, but the garden and the gardener are content.