Sunday, July 29, 2018

Butterfly Season

How many times have I said that any given my month is my favorite in the garden? Well, now I'm going to say that July is my favorite, because it's butterfly season!

Monarch butterfly

Black swallowtail

Tiger swallowtail

Robin's Nest is a sunny, sunny spot, which has been ideal for butterfly gardening. Butterflies are ectotherms, which means they can't generate their own heat, but instead need to gather it from their environment. That's why they prefer sunny gardens. And that's good news for me.

Common wood nymph

Monarch butterfly

8 spotted forester moth

Viceroy butterfly-NOT monarch

Clearwing hummingbird moth

Blue azure butterfly

Celery looper moth

Hubby has begun to call me The Crazy Butterfly Lady. That's okay, it's a moniker that I wear with pride. I love them all, but it's the monarch butterflies that are my true favorites. Last month, I featured a monarch here on my blog that I had raised and later released. Since then, I've raised quite a few more. Suddenly, the monarch mamas have discovered my little milkweed patch, leaving me tiny egg presents regularly. I can't resist bringing them inside for raising. I don't have any illusions about saving the monarch population with my efforts, I simply find the whole process fascinating to watch.

However, butterflies aren't the only beauties to be seen here. Roses are not generally at their peak in July, but they do put out blooms now and then.

Abraham Darby rose

Fourth of July rose

Chinatown rose

Funny Face rose

Don Juan rose

At Last rose

Perennials are the backbone of most gardens, and give me some flash here and there.

Unknown lily

Girosa lily

Button bush

Karly Rose grass with coneflowers

Unknown bee balm

Front shade garden

Duchess of Albany clematis


Cherry Cheesecake hibiscus

Sunset hyssop

But annuals are the real stars here in mid summer.

Cut and Come Again zinnias

Bachelors buttons

Cut and Come Again zinnias

Unknown sedum

Verbena bonariensis

Tequila Lime zinnia



Alaska nasturtiums

Dazzling Magic dahlia

I could argue that sunflowers are the queen of annuals. As much as I love sunflowers, the goldfinches tear them up as they devour the seeds. I forgive them for that. How could you not? I just love how they match the petals. And when they hang upside down to reach the juiciest seeds, it really makes me smile.

I will give short shrift to the biggest problem in my garden for 2018, which was the dreaded Japanese beetle invasion. They were horrendous this year! So if you see any holes in the flowers in these photos, try to look the other way. Since I am a butterfly gardener, I choose not to use any pesticides in Robin's Nest. Instead, I knock the stinkers into a cup of soapy water. I was making two or three rounds daily, sending hundreds and hundreds to their doom eventually, and still barely made a dent in the damage they inflicted. For weeks they attacked, but I think they have finally moved on for the season.

In June, I posted that we had abundant rain. Of course that changed completely shortly afterward. The lawn has turned crunchy and brown, despite frequent storms that boil up. You see, storms tend to miss us here in our little corner of Central Ohio. One thing is for sure, that same stormy weather has given us some killer sunsets this summer. I'll end with a few of my favorites. And thanks as usual for stopping by Robin's Nest!