Sep 10: flowers and caterpillars in the garden

Lots of stuff isn’t looking so great in the garden right now, but lots of stuff is. The zinnias are taking over, the sedums are pinking, and the goldenrod and monarch caterpillars are peaking. I counted more than a dozen caterpillars in the milkweed, and found a few swallowtail caterpillars on the rue as well.

Monarch caterpillar in nepeta
Autumn joy sedum
Lantana and goldenrod
Cleome
Swallowtail caterpillar on rue
Goldenrod and red mums
Sedum by the mailbox

May 23: first caterpillar of the season

I’ve been checking the rue for swallowtail caterpillars, and I saw my first one of 2022 this morning.

Swallowtail caterpillar on rue

I’ve been checking the swamp milkweeds to see if they’d come back. I was getting nervous because they seemed to take longer this year than in previous years. Three of the five have finally re-emerged; I’ll need to replace the other two so the monarch caterpillars don’t run out of food.

The fescue and scabiosa are blooming, and as is the norm these days, I saw a bunny in the bed, nibbling away at the goldenrod.

Fescue in bloom
Hello bunny

May 15: new bed is planted! And scabiosa and verbena are blooming

I killed grass back in February to create a new flower bed. I wanted to fill it with lots of nectar and host plants for butterflies, plus some herbs and peppers for eating. I mulched the bed in the end of March, and in May, I’ve planted it:

  • 5 Mexican sunflowers (nectar)
  • 8-10 dill (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
  • 4 orange milkweed (host plant for monarchs)
  • A big patch of zinnia seeds (nectar)
  • Red salvia annuals (nectar)
  • Parsley (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
  • Cilantro (herb for us)
  • JalapeƱo (pepper for us)
  • Basil (herb for us)

It doesn’t look like much for now, which is why I wanted to photograph it, as a before picture. The wire cages are to keep the rabbits away from the milkweed seedlings. The’ve eaten fresh milkweed in the past, and I don’t want them eating these seeds I’ve carefully cultivated for 10 weeks.

Newly planted butterfly bed
Plan, which I roughly stuck to
New butterfly bed with the rest of the back garden
The purple salvia is at its peak. The new bed is in the background.
I don’t have a telephoto lens yet, so this isn’t a great shot, but I do love watching the birds at the feeder.
Lollipop vervain is one of the first things to bloom
Scabiosa blooms along with the salvia and vervain

Apr 19: bunnies in the garden

I saw motion outside my office window this morning, and when I walked over to look out, I saw bunnies dart every which way across the grass, chase each other up the flower bed hill, across the gravel right outside my floor level window, through the fence slats to the neighbor’s yard, and back down the grassy hill again. There were four or five of them, and they chased each other for at least an hour. I used my phone to take photos through my office window. I apparently also took this 1 second video, which was a total accident when I touched the wrong button on my phone, but the rabbits were so active, I happened to capture one on video during my fumble.

Bunny! Dashing downhill!
Bunny alert
Bunnies in the grass
Bunnies chasing each other through the flower bed

Apr 18: redbuds and dogwoods in bloom

I went for a walk around the neighborhood today. Pink and magenta redbuds contrast with the chartreuses of fresh leaves. The earth is lush and coming back to life.

Redbud blossoms on our tree
Creeping phlox on my walk
Dogwood flower on our tree
Maple seeds on my walk
Garden at the UU church around the corner
My outdoor office
The back bed; it will flower in summer.
Redbud blossoms at the site of a missing branch
This is the greenest the grass will be all year