Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 2012 Blooms

I'm a week late for Bloom Day, but I still have blooms to show off.  Early-mid September is always a busy time for me, and this year was no exception.  I knew I'd be out of town last weekend, and had ideas of snapping photos and posting early, but that never happens.  So, a week later, here we are.  But it's given the early fall flowers an extra week to refine the show, and I think it's a pretty good show.

Starting with the side garden, the tall sedum are at their pinky peak.

The peak of pink
Across the path, the variegated sedum flowers are just starting to open.  They will pink up some, but not as much as the other.

Midway down the path, Aster laevis 'Bluebird' is blooming.  This plant was confused and flowered in early summer.  But it seems to have consulted a calendar since then.

At the other end are the willow-leaf heianthus.  The tall plants (I forgot to pinch them back this spring) look rather weedy, but who can resist those sunny flowers?

Across from the helianthus, mistflower, which has taken a beating from recent storms.

The garage garden blooms include hibiscus, variegated liriope, and several tall phlox.

At the entrance to the upper garden,volunteer rudbeckia keep watch, while New england aster 'Alma Potschke' form a wall behind the tomato cages.

Also in the upper garden, Boltonia asteroides and a reblooming Stella D'Oro daylily.

The 'Fireworks' goldenrod is looking rather thin this year.

Finally, stealing the show in the front yard: Mexican bush clover (Lespedeza 'Gibraltar')

One of my favorite things about Bloom Day is that it forces me to slow down and look at the good things going on in the yard.  Now, back to my much neglected weeding.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Swallowtail (for real)

When my first swallowtail caterpillar sighting turned out to be a monarch, Samantha at Polliator Plates reminded me to go check my rue.  I've grown rue in my herb garden for six years, because I love the gray fluffy foliage, but I'd not noticed carpillars feasing there.  Sunday I took a closer look, and found one!

This one's definitely a swallowtail
Caterpillar closeup
When I returned with my camera to photograph my findings, I also found another one:

Number two
Whay does this make me so happy?  I have no idea.

In other caterpillar news,  Samantha has raised monarch butterflies from found eggs, and posted their progess here.  Fascinating stuff!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Garden (and Nature) Bloggers Saved a Butterfly

I don't know much about bugs.  Some are beneficial; some are pests.  Some can be bright and colorful; some are downright ugly; others are truly frightening.  I don't want any of them crawling on me.

I'm not very good at identifying bugs.  The one big caterpillar I know by sight is the tomato hornworm, which thankfully I haven't spotted in several years.  I did learn just recently, from a garden blog (I wish I remembered which one!), that it is the larval form of the sphinx moth.  Nifty, but I'm still going to squash the next one I find.

The other day I saw this on an onion stalk:

 A similar size and shape to a hornworm (slightly smaller), but brightly colored and rather pretty.  I might have squashed it anyway, but I remembered some Casa Mariposa posts on eastern swallowtail caterpillars, and thought this might be one.  Of course, if it were a swallowtail, shouldn't it be feasting on my parsley or carrot leaves?  What was it doing on an onion?

I came in and looked up the post I thought I remembered.  Nope, not my caterpillar.  Mine looks like this:

The caterpillar that looked like mine I'd actually seen at The Natural Capital, here.  It is a monarch caterpillar.  Ok, that's good, too.  Now I know why it wasn't on the parsley, but I don't know why it was so far from the milkweed!