Early June: Who’s in the garden and what are the butterflies drinking?

I think we’ve got all the plants in that we are going to put in. I’m sitting under the dogwood tree, reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and watching for butterflies. We were thinking of sailing today, but there was no wind this morning — the flag in the Kroger parking lot lay limp against the pole, completely still — and since this is my only day off this week, we decided to stay home. I’ve been in the garden ever since.

Right now, many things are in bloom: yarrow, bee balm, blanket flower, Lantana, firecracker plant, Pentas, rue, echinacea, guara, Russian sage, roses, creeping thyme, lavender. The indigo salvia has already peaked, as has the regular thyme. The blazing star, milkweed, and zinnias are on the verge of blooming. The Black-eyed Susans and the hydrangea by the stairs are developing buds, and the Joe Pye weed, Shasta daisies, and hydrangea in the dogwood bed show no flowering signs yet.
Who’s around:

  • Bumblebees
  • Honeybees 
  • Wasps
  • Robins
  • Blue jays
  • White butterfly (species unknown)
  • Orange butterfly (species unknown; not a monarch)

As usual, the rue is covered in bees and wasps. We’ve got blue jays and robins hopping around the front yard stretching worms as they pull them from the ground, and today I’ve started seeing butterflies. 

Plants the pollinating insects are visiting:

  • Rue
  • Lantana
  • Yarrow
  • Catmint
  • Yellow milkweed

There’s a white butterfly that’s been fluttering around all day — I don’t know what kind it is — and I also saw an orange one stop for a long time to drink from the berrylicious Lantana (or whatever variety the pink and yellow Lantana is called) and then the yarrow. Out back, a white butterfly with a black spot on its wing stopped on the yellow milkweed within a couple of hours of me putting it in the ground.

I haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet this year — maybe it’s early yet. I know they liked the bee balm and the pink salvia last year. I’ve been surprised by the lack of interest in the guara, bee balm, and echinacea so far. The bee balm and echinacea are just starting to bloom, so maybe later in the summer they’ll be more popular.

I haven’t seen any birds or butterflies use the bird bath our daughter made me for Mother’s Day yet, and currently we don’t have any caterpillars that I’m aware of. The rue had a couple of swallowtail caterpillars a week or two ago, but I don’t see any now. I hope the wasps aren’t killing them.

Black moth(?) with white spots on rue

White butterfly with black spot on yellow milkweed

June 10: plant yellow milkweed out back

I weeded this morning, and while doing that, I moved some pink salvia volunteers from the front bed to the herb bed and to the meadow garden out back. I also moved some of the wildflower seedlings around by the mailbox to declump them and distribute them a little more evenly.

Both rounds of wildflower seeds are coming up out back. The only thing I was still missing back there was milkweed. I drove over to the Crow’s Nest nursery to see if they had any since they didn’t on any of my million trips prior to today.

They had $10.99 gallon pots (I think they’re a gallon) in yellow, orange, pink, and white. The only one blooming was the yellow one, and I really want something blooming back there while we wait for everything else to come in, so I got yellow though I had originally intended to get orange.

I put it in the ground on the hill today, and we’ve got one week to water it in before vacation.

Meadow hill: bee balm about to bloom, new milkweed
Butterfly already drinking from new milkweed

The garden is growing

Our grass-killing seems to have worked. After cutting the grass close to the ground, covering it with cardboard, then covering the cardboard with mulch to build up flower beds, we let them sit for a couple of weeks before planting.

On Mother’s Day weekend, we dug more than 150 holes, dropping perennials, annuals, and herbs into our newly formed beds. Now, the garden is growing. Most of the plants are still small, but echincea buds are┬áplumping up, milkweed is blooming, basil is flourishing, and butterflies are finding us.

dogwood and plants
Dogwood bed

Yellow flowers, foggy morning

Mailbox and yellow flowers in fog by Andrea Badgley on Butterfly Mind
Warm flowers on a cool morning
We spent the past week moving: we are homeowners again. We’ve gotten the unpacking to a point where we can lounge in the living room, find clothes in our closets, cook in the kitchen, and eat at the table.

We’ve also gotten to the point where I feel like I can take a breather from unpacking boxes, washing walls, lining cabinets with shelf paper, and organizing all our stuff: I can stop and enjoy our new home.

I opened the blinds as soon as I woke this morning and saw fog nestled between houses and trees. I am a sucker for fog. And when there are warm yellow flowers popping around our new mailbox against a cool foggy backdrop? It’s time to get the camera out and start shooting again. In our new home.

We moved locally, about five minutes from our previous home. After 12 moves in 20 years, this time we hope to stick around a while.