Tag Archives: verbena bonariensis

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?

 

Lunchtime In The Garden

A couple of weeks ago the weather was unseasonably hot and dry. These are photos from May 27, 2019. Lots of butterflies were visiting the garden then, flitting from one flower to the next (especially popular was Verbena bonariensis—must be quite tasty.)  This is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Females are dimorphic and can be yellow or nearly black. Blue spots along the hindwing indicate this yellow form is female.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

At some point this swallowtail apparently escaped a bad encounter, but managed to get back to lunch.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

At first I thought this next one was a female dark morph of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail—I noticed it nectaring on Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’ The coloring didn’t quite seem right though and I finally decided it is a Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus). The spicebush has blue markings, one of which is missing its orange spot.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

I followed the same butterfly around the garden. It stopped to enjoy the Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ before moving on to the verbena.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Verbena and penstemon are also popular with bees. Shown here is an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) sampling the buffet.

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

In A Vase On Monday – Echinacea And Grass

In A Vase On Monday – Echinacea and Grass

Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement every Monday using materials collected from our gardens.

In spring I needed some instant color at the front steps and so bought a pre-planted container with a purple grass, petunias, verbena and something else (I cannot find tags for any of the items).  The grass quickly took over the entire pot and is all that remains.  So many gardeners enjoy grasses I feel there really is something missing in my own gardening DNA that I do not find them very exciting. So I decided to trim and use the grass for today’s vase before the container contents are composted. The grass is paired with two echinaceas, Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown.’ White Swan is having a banner year. Big Sky Sundown blooms less eagerly and needs to be relocated where it will receive more sunlight.

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ with grass and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’

For a change in texture I included a stem of Celosia plumosa ‘Castle Mix,’ thinking its color would echo Big Sky Sundown. The celosia is more orange and the stem was too short, yet I kept it just for its fuzziness.

Celosia plumosa ‘Castle Mix’ and Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’

As pictured the arrangement feels too sparse and is too tall for the size of the vase. I did not have time for a redo. It would have been nice to cut additional White Swan Echinacea to fill in, but some hours later after having photographed the flowers, I did actually trim and reduce the height of the tallest elements and that improved the proportions somewhat.

The vase was a gift from my sister-in-law last year.

Ceramic ikebana vase with 3 integrated ceramic tubes

Ceramic ikebana vase with 3 integrated ceramic tubes

 

Materials

Flowers
Celosia plumosa ‘Castle Mix’ (Feather Celosia)
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Foliage
Unknown Grass
Container
Ceramic ikebana vase with 3 integrated ceramic tubes, built-in stem holders. 6 x 6 inches.

Just a note: Some of you may recall earlier in spring, around mid-May, I ended up rescuing a number of peonies after a storm and stored them in the refrigerator.  Finally I needed to free up that space so the last of the peonies were released this weekend. Three had several brown spots on the petals, which were easily removed; generally the condition was good and the fragrance still strong.

Refrigerated Peonies Released

Refrigerated Peonies Released

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday – Oakleaf And Verbena

In A Vase On Monday – Oakleaf And Verbena

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

As the garden transitions toward summer Verbena bonariensis orchestrates the views, diverting the gaze away from peonies past their prime, directing attention to newly unfolding scenes in the borders.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

In today’s vase the verbena appears to leap above everything else, demanding attention. The intended focus of today’s arrangement, Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers,’ needs more time to develop before it can fully command the vase.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Husker Red penstemon is in the early stages of bloom in many spots around the garden.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Pink achillea, gaura and a sprig of lavender foliage fill out the design.

Materials

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Vase
Hand painted Fenton Glass Vase – USA

In A Vase On Monday – Oakleaf And Verbena

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

Butterflies and Glad Tidings

Throughout the day yesterday I glimpsed this male swallowtail nectaring at this large stand of Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The day before the garden had been filled with colorful American Goldfinch (Carduelis trusts) also enjoying this plant. The verbena has scattered itself all around the borders, so this year I have been able to share some with friends.

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

About a month ago I noticed a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) fluttering around, just for a day, but I could never get a picture. Then again on Saturday another passed through. Still no picture of the butterfly, so I will share its host plant, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant).

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

This spectacular gladiolus below is from a package of blue shades mix planted last spring. The bulbs performed poorly last year, so seeing this royal spire each day thrills me. Although the tip of the stem is out of view, at this stage the gladiolus is half blooms and half buds.

After Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) finished blooming here in the western border, I cut it back leaving this section looking particularly bare. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, everything should fill in quickly: Buddleia davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Butterfly Bush), Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox). I am still deciding how to replace the gardenia hedge that once lined this fence along the back.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

This is the same flower after a rain a few days earlier, with the northwest corner in the background: ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress), Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox), Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood). In front of the planter Allium atropurpureum are preparing to  bloom.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

In A Vase On Monday—A Sweet Fragrance

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Once again I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

With a large pass-along gardenia starting to flower last week, what to use in my vase this week was an easy decision. Gardenias are quick to brown and I find them difficult to photograph, but these minor flaws are easily overlooked with one whiff of their sweet perfume.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

The entire experience of gathering, arranging and photographing these gardenias was accentuated by the remarkable fragrance of the flowers.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

Three stems of Verbena bonariensis inserted into a small, one inch floral pin holder doubled as  an armature around which the gardenias were added.

In A Vase On Monday - View From Above

In A Vase On Monday – View From Above

Today’s container is a traditionally-shaped pressed glass dish that had belonged to my aunt. Rarely used, it is the perfect size for the number of flowers I collected. The arrangement adds an graceful detail to the dining room buffet.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Flowers
Gardenia jasminoides
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

A big thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this addictive Monday diversion. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Traditional Marble

In A Vase On Monday-Marble and Red

Each Monday brings an opportunity to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials collected from the garden.

The temperature dropped more than 25 degrees F. Saturday night delivering a fresh, autumnal crispness to the air. In response the Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ (that turned out to be red) is finally blooming with more intensity. I was able to cut three fully open specimens this morning to include in today’s vase.

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

One Iceberg rose was in prime condition this morning and I brought it inside to serve as a focal point for today’s arrangement and to add contrast in texture and color.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Freshly formed palmate leaves of lupine radiate outward and provide an interesting background for the white rose. (Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for the suggestion to use lupine foliage in a vase.)

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa 'Iceberg'

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa ‘Iceberg’

For a container I selected a marble, urn-shaped mortar that is substantial enough to offset the mass of the heavy, richly-colored dahlia flowers.  The shape of the mortar together with the old-fashioned quality of the dahlias inspired this week’s rather traditional design.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Silvery sprigs of lavender echo the gray marble in the base while adding lightness to the design. Hovering above the dahlias a few Verbena bonariensis flowers complete the arrangement.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’- 3 stems
Rosa ‘Iceberg’- 1 stem
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)- 7 stems
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)- 3 stems
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)- 5 stems
1 Florist’s Frog
1 Marble Mortar

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.