Tag Archives: Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Friday Reflections

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The weather has been ideal for gardening this week and I have put in a few hours each day and nearly all day on Thursday.  There are so many tasks that need attention that no matter which one I set out to do, I am finding it hard not to become distracted and end up working on something else.

I have been planting seeds, bulbs, perennials and dahlias.  I must have really craved color and flowers this winter, but it is hard to know where I imagined I could plant everything I ordered.

As part of my “Friday reflections” I wrote and then deleted paragraphs about weeds, bermuda grass infestations, yellow jacket nests. Sharing the positive highlights of the garden is more exciting.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

This week I have seen butterflies: monarch, black swallowtail, and a pearl crescent (every day). None was interested in posing for me or even getting close so the image quality is poor, but I want to post them here as a record.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

I was pleased to see a Bumble Bee checking out the ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe.

Bumble Bee and ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Bumble Bee and ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

A green anole sunned on the back garage steps and scurried just for a moment each time I passed, before settling back into its sunny spot.

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

More irises opened and others are close. This is one my garden blogger friend from Petals and Wings (now mostly on instagram) sent me last fall. I’m not sure if they will bloom this year but they are growing and look healthy. The variegated foliage caught my attention and the flower is purple/blue.

Iris (passalong)

Iris (passalong)

Many of my Iris tectorum have disappeared in the past couple years, so I am especially happy to welcome this one back.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Another iris of note, this one is one of the only ones I have actually purchased.

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Hope you are having a wonderful week in and out of the garden.

Garden Delights

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Another busy week is done that left little time for the garden. There were warm, humid days, stormy days, bright days with the bluest sky imaginable and on this sunny first of October morning the air has a refreshing chill (before warming to 78°F).

On the last few days of September, in brief segments measured merely in minutes, I wandered the garden to recharge, each time finding some small delight.

I have had a few monarchs visit each year but Tuesday marked the first time I have seen a viceroy. Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) is distinguished by the black line across the veins on its hind wings.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

I spotted another yesterday (or perhaps the same one returned, but I think the black vein looks thinner).

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

My incarnations of  Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ have not always been true to the catalogs but one plant in particular sometimes throws up a pretty one.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

There were several other butterflies of note, a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) and a Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). These are commonly sighted where I live but fairly infrequent in my garden.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

A few dianthus plants are blooming more easily now the weather is cooler.  How is this for a colorful greeting?

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

The small skippers were everywhere midsummer but numbers have declined significantly in the past 5-6 weeks.  iNaturalist is my goto source to identify skippers (mostly fieries, ocolas).  I found another clouded skipper this week.

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

An interesting creature, if not the loveliest, this grasshopper tried to hide from the camera.

Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

I will finish with a quick video of the black swallowtail, frenetically searching for sustenance among lantana flowers.

 

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Looking a bit ragged now, Verbena bonariensis has been a hot spot in the garden for weeks. When not occupied by 7 or 8 American Goldfinches swaying gently on it, bees and butterflies are seen enjoying it.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

I can’t seem to get a picture of the goldfinches but it has been fun to track the pollinators around even just after noon on this scorching day. Finding the verbena an irresistible lunch was today’s special visitor, a lovely Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

I did not think to use slow-motion video, but this 10-second clip will give you a sense of the butterfly’s fluttering lifestyle.  (Also try setting the playback speed).

Before seeing this one today, I’ve observed three other Black Swallowtails (one on July 21, 2015 and believe it or not, two exactly a year apart on August 27, 2015 and  August 27, 2016) and this caterpillar on July 20, 2015.

July 20, 2015. Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

(By the way, it’s too late to tell me I shouldn’t have planted Aegopodium…just one of many garden aggressors.)

Are you observing lots of butterflies this summer?