Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - September 2012

Two Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies on Buddleia 'Black Knight'

I accomplished quite a lot and even had some time to take a break and enjoy the company of visiting friends during my one month blogcation. With a break now and then, I find I return more refreshed and more creative. I am anxious to resume blogging and sharing my garden.


It was quite dry in August with very little rain. Some of my plants have suffered, but overall I am pleasantly surprised how well the garden is doing. We are in a moderate drought compared to the Midwest's severe drought. I am hoping that September and fall will bring more rain.

Stats

Gardening Zone: 7a
August High Temperature: 99 degrees F
August Low Temperature: 69 degrees F
Precipitation: 3.06 inches


Wildlife

This has been the summer of butterflies. My perennial bed has filled in and grown into a butterfly's paradise. On some days, I can count between seven and 12 butterflies. It is so rewarding to see the butterflies enjoy the garden.


Five Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies on Buddleia 'Black Knight'


Painted Lady Butterfly on Buddleia 'Black Knight'


Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly on Cypress Vine


Pearl Crescent Butterfly

My third sighting of a Luna moth this summer...




Each year, I find lots of Black Swallowtail larvae on my parsley and dill plants. I plant extra of these herbs specifically for the butterflies. I noticed that the birds were discovering them and eating them. So, I bought a butterfly mesh enclosure to raise some in a protected area. Watching this process was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. When the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis, it brought tears to my eyes. The miracle of life is such a joy to behold.


Black Swallowtail Larva on Parsley

Black Swallowtail Larva in Pre-Pupa Stage

Black Swallowtail Larva in Early Pupa Stage

Black Swallowtail Larva in Late Pupa Stage

Emerged Black Swallowtail Butterfly with Nearby Chrysalis Shell

The hummingbirds are migrating south, and there are lots around at this time of year. Besides the hummingbird feeders, they find nectar in the agastache, monarda, and calibrachoa. One flower from which I just recently noticed them finding nectar is the small lavender flower of rosemary.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Pollinators abound all over the garden.

Carpenter Bee on Agastache


Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

And this little fellow inhabits the vegetable garden helping me keep it as insect pest-free as possible.


Five-lined Skink

In the Garden

I have begun planning and planting for the fall vegetable garden.


Bush Bean - Burpee's Stringless Green Pod


Snowpeas - Avalanche

I planted Swiss chard and lettuce among the tomatoes, peppers, squash, and okra. In a few weeks, I have brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, and mustard greens that I will add to the beds.

The squash is faring well, but I will need to pull it out very soon to make room for some of the fall vegetables. This year I have not had a major problem with squash bugs. I have seen a few, but not the numbers I have seen in the past. Perhaps the birds and the lizards are helping out.


Crookneck Squash

The raspberries are bearing.




This spider web is near the roses.


Some blooms that remain despite the hot and dry weather...


Common Mallow

Cypress Vine




Calabrachoa 'Can-can'


completed chores

sowed next round of bean seeds
sowed fall crop seeds
continued edging planting beds with empire edging
cleaned out bird nests
pruned back English ivy
planted additional perennials, echinacea, gaillardia
planted dill for fall


chores for September

clear out some summer vegetables to make room for fall vegetables
prune Carolina jessamine vines
sow lettuce
plant containers with chrysanthemums, sweet potato vine, and pansies
add some compost to vegetable garden beds
prune back remaining tomatoes
plant fall vegetables in garden beds
harvest herbs

inspirations

When I go outside in the mornings, there is a cool and crisp breeze that reminds me that fall will be arriving soon. Although I have enjoyed the summer, it has been very hot and dry. I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures. 




Helen of The Patient Gardener hosts End of Month View. This monthly meme is where garden bloggers share their garden views for the end of the month.


Also, Town Mouse Country Mouse hosts First Views. This monthly meme offers an opportunity for garden bloggers to share their garden first views for the month.

The Gardening Blog hosts Garden Bloggers Harvest Day on the 5th of every month. See what others are harvesting all over the world.


© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

70 comments:

  1. I am sharing your experience with a record number of butterflies in my garden this August. This morning I saw my first ever Giant Swallowtail and was so excited! "My" butterflies seem to prefer the white Buddleia. I rarely see them on the dark knight. We took a few black swallowtail caterpillars and put them in a butterfly enclosure so that we could watch them. It is such a fascinating process and so amazing to watch as they emerge! Your photos are spectacular!

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    1. I have not seen the Giant Swallowtail. They are lovely, and I will keep an eye out. It would be a joy indeed to catch sight of one. I only have the Black Knight and the Pink Delight, so they seem to prefer the Black Knight. However, my Pink Delight has not done as well this year...so that may be why they prefer the Black Knight. I have been thinking of getting more buddleia. Perhaps I will try a white one.

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  2. Wonderful pictures of your butterflies and moths. Fascinating to see the progress of your Black Swallowtail through the chrysalis stage to beautiful butterfly, thanks for sharing your photos with us.

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    1. Thank you, Pauline. It is my pleasure to share these photos. I had so much fun keeping the butterflies that I will do it again.

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  3. Sage, I'm glad to read your new post after a long time! I love Cyprus Vine, is very tall and still blooming.

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    1. Thank you, Nadezda. I am glad to be back. Cypress vine is one of my favorites because the hummingbirds and butterflies love it.

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  4. Gosh, where do I start with my comments? I guess to say--wow, that month went fast! It seems like just a few days ago that you mentioned you were taking a break! Wonderful moth/butterfly photos! And good luck with the crops!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. It feels good to be back. This summer does seem to have passed so quickly. I am looking forward to fall, however.

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  5. Wonderful photos of the butterflies and of course that gorgeous moth! We receive so many gifts when we garden, butterflies are little bits of flying magic :)

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    1. I agree, Rosemary. They are like little garden fairies. :)

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  6. Sage,
    That cypress vine is really something! Your Northern Crescent is not correct, it is found in the northern US only in the spring, it is single brooded so after May or early June it would not be found. It is a Pearl Crescent, I had one on my finger just yesterday.

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  7. Thank you, Randy. I believe you are right. We do have Northern Crescent butterflies in our area, but I was reminded that this particular butterfly was very small--and therefore, fits the description of a Pearl Crescent. Thank you for looking closely.

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  8. Lovely photos of the butterflies. We've only just started seeing them in large numbers in the garden this year. After the wettest UK summer in 100 years, we are finally getting a bit of nice weather.

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    1. Thank you, Crystal. I am glad you are getting some good weather. After a very hot and dry summer, we have had some rain. So nice! I hope we all have better weather.

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  9. What gorgeous photos! The Luna Moth is just stunning.

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    1. The Luna moth is something that seems to have dropped out of a children's book. I have seen three this summer...a real treat.

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  10. Michelle, Welcome back from your blogcation. Your butterflies (and luna moth!) are beautiful -- and those raspberries made my mouth water. I'm hoping fall raspberries will show up soon in farmers markets here. -Jean

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    1. Thanks, Jean. The raspberries have done very well this year. I pick some every morning. I hope you find some.

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  11. I love all your photos of the butterflies and other wildlife in your garden--just beautiful! I have never seen a Luna moth in my garden before; what a great capture of this beautiful moth. I usually plant dill and fennel for the caterpillars, but this year they didn't germinate for some reason. I missed seeing all those caterpillars this year.

    The squash bugs must have stayed in my garden instead of yours this year:) Your squash plants look great!

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    1. Thanks, Rose. I was very surprised that I did not have many squash bugs this year. And I always thought squash bugs were distasteful to birds, but something must have kept them at bay. Perhaps I should not analyze it too much or I'll jinx it. :)

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  12. Michelle: Hi, again. This also would be a great post to link in to the "Lessons Learned" meme. Let me know if you'd like to link in. Thanks! Beth

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    1. I will do another post for your meme, Beth. Thank you very much for the invitation.

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  13. welcome back Michelle, glad you had a nice break with enjoyable company, what a wonderful experience to see the butterfly emerge, your garden is doing very well despite the heat you have had, that luna moth is so beautiful and I like the last photo with the first autumn leaves, Frances

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    1. Thank you, Frances. I had another butterfly emerge recently, but it must have emerged very early in the morning. When I came out in the morning, it had already emerged and was ready to fly. I immediately let it out and it flew away.

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  14. Glad to have you back Michelle...so much going on in your garden especially the critters...such lovely photos and I may have to get something for the caterpillars since I think the birds have been at them too...our veg gardens are so different as I planted a fall garden weeks ago in the heat and drought that continues....I long for the cool mornings...we had a few but it is hot and humid again...maybe soon!

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    1. I have the plants ready for the fall garden, but I am too afraid to plant them in the garden beds because it is too hot. I am hoping the temperature will cool off a bit very soon. We had a few cool mornings, but the last week has been hot again. I am hoping it comes soon.

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  15. Beautiful images! I have seen a number of hummingbirds on my Lantana and Verbena bonariensis. The other day two hummingbirds were in full battle over the Lantana. I wish I had your photographic abilities...i am still learning.

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    1. Thank you, Reed Pugh. I have hummingbirds battling here as well. It seems it does not take much for them to spread that tail and fluff up. So cute!

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  16. I would have cried too seeing that amazing transformation. I did watch one checkerspot pupate and come out - but when he unfurled his wings - he was damaged. I felt devastated. But that's nature. I don't know how the damage occurred as I wasn't watching 100 percent of the time, of course. I'm sure a bird was happy to get an easy meal there. Your photos are gorgeous - I may get into veg gardening next year - I'm excited to try! Been many years...

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    1. That is so sad, but, as you say, that is nature. I try to remember that when something like that happens. Sometimes I am good at it, sometimes not. I hope you do get back into veggie gardening....so rewarding and yummy!

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  17. Replies
    1. Thank you, Michael Marie. I am so glad you came by.

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  18. The butterfly shots are excellent.

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    1. Thank you, Stuart. They are an obsession. I can't seem to get enough photos of them.

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  19. I enjoyed this post, especially your butterfly photos! I saw a Black Swallowtail in my garden today. I ran for my camera, but as soon as I was close enough to get a shot, he flew off! These are perhaps my favorite butterfly. My son once raised one from the larva stage. It was amazing to watch! The tale has a shocking ending, however. As soon as we released the butterfly, a bird swooped down and ate him!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. I suppose that is the way of nature. I would have been shocked. The birds seem to be more interested in the feeders than in the butterflies, but I have seen them pick at the larvae on the parsley plants.

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  20. I too have had few sightings of black swallowtail butterfly larve and I think it is the birds also. Usually I have a few hundred munching larvae on my fennel and parsley. Nice photo indeed!

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    1. Thanks, Greggo. They seem to love the larvae more than the butterflies.

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  21. You had quite a bit in your notebook this month. I agree, butterflies were extremely plentiful this year. I have seen each one you photographed, but not a Luna moth. That really is a beauty. Lovely photos as always. Welcome back.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. It is good to be back. The Luna moth has been one I have seen three times this summer. They only live about a week or so. I am glad to have seen them.

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  22. Your photos are SO beautiful... I especially admire your butterfly photos as I appreciate how difficult they can be to capture (after I have spent most of the Summer and only have two semi decent shots!).

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    1. Thanks. They are not easy to photograph. I must be very slow and deliberate. Sometimes they leave the flower and seem to come by my head to investigate. :)

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  23. What a fabulous post,with so much stuff going on and pictures to die for. I have been waiting for ages to see one of my blogging friends add a picture of the Hummingbird moth, fascinating. And what's this, another first for me, a lazy Hummingbird.

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    1. Thanks, Alistair. I was once told that buying hummingbird feeders with perches was a waste of money because they won't perch. That has not been my experience. They perch on every single one of them. Another blogger friend of mine has some great photos of a Hawkmoth (very similar to a hummingbird moth) here: http://chateaumoorhen.blogspot.com/2012/08/hawkmoths.html

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  24. Your photos are wonderful. I love the butterflies and, like you, have seen multiple varieties and increased numbers this year.

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    1. Thanks, Joene. It has been a joy to watch all of the butterflies. I am glad to hear others have been enjoying them as well.

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  25. Beautiful post. I think this is the year of the butterfly everywhere. I counted 20 painted ladies on a Joe pye weed in Maine and the next day there were 15 monarchs on the same plant. Wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. That must have been beautiful...all of those Painted Ladies..gasp! To see all of those Monarchs would be a very pleasurable experience.

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  26. We seemed to have far fewer butterflies this season. I'm not sure why, but perhaps our very dry winter last year contributed. You clearly have a butterfly oasis in your garden though! Gorgeous photographs of them too!

    We have a blue-tailed skink that's endemic to the farm, a Skilton Skink. I always love catching a flash of that brilliant blue as they scurry around the garden. I'm terrible at photographing them though, they're fast!

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    1. I also hear that England has seen fewer butterflies this year. I wonder if it is weather-related. This skink was sunning himself on the edge of a garden bed, and I crept up very slowly to get the shot using a 300mm lens. If I had gotten any closer, he would have been gone in a flash.

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  27. It seems many people are seeing a lot of butterflies this year but oddly our garden was missing them. I usually get swallowtail larvae on the dill but not this year. Hummingbirds have been frequent visitors though which makes me think I need to plant more for them. Glad to see your list of what they were visiting in your garden.

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    1. I hope you see more butterflies. I have heard that those in England have not seen as many this year either. I hope things are better for everyone next year.

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  28. Stunning photos of the butterflies - and other critters. I haven't watched a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis since I was a child, what a wonderful thing to be able to observe close to with camera in hand. I am envious of your vege garden, it looks lush and productive - mine is still on the drawing board!

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    1. I never actually saw the transformation before, so it was a real joy to witness it firsthand. The vegetable garden is so rewarding. I hope you are able to move forward with yours very soon.

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  29. Welcome back to blogging. I agree that it is good to take a break every once and a while. I think I will definitely take an extended break this year in December. You certainly have an abundance of butterflies. I always have some as well, but not as many as I would like. Your notes on fall planting have reminded me that I want to try to plant some garlic this year.

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    1. I would like to plant some garlic as well. You reminded me that I need to do that very soon.

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  30. Beautiful photos as ever! Yes, it seems like Britain has missed the butterflies this year and you got plentiful instead. I haven’t seen one single butterfly in my London garden this summer despite having lots of plants they usually like. I admire your photo skills, butterflies are difficult to get decent photos of, just when you think you are ready to press the button they usually are off!

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    1. Yes, butterflies are difficult to photograph. I usually end up sneaking up on them very, very slowly and quietly. Thank you for your kind words!

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  31. Isn't amazing what you can find and see in the garden when we slow down and look. I think that's the main reason I love to garden. Thank you for a beautiful peek into your garden!

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    1. I try to slow down and look as often as I can, but I do get busy and forget to take the time. Thank you for stopping by.

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  32. Wow - those photos are stunning of the Swallowtail butterfly. Just beautiful!!

    The squash and snowpea look so very healthy!! Going to have a bumper crop, it looks like! I love the mallow flower - what is it? Is it edible? I've heard the name before!

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    1. Thank you, Barbie. Some parts of mallow are edible, although I have never eaten them. It is an annual, sometimes spreads.

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  33. Lovely photos. I really missed the butterflies last year due to all the fires here in Texas. It is wonderful to see them here again.

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    1. I remember those fires last year. I am glad things are different this year. Thank you for your kind words.

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  34. I adore your garden and your blog. I am glad you are back. I especially like your butterfly garden.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I am glad to be back. The butterflies are a joy to watch and savor.

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  35. I'm not sure if it was the mild winter, but I've had tons of butterflies, too. I've seen butterflies in my garden I've never seen before, which has been wonderful. I may have to buy some of that butterfly netting. I think birds have eaten some of my caterpillars, too.

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    1. I am glad to hear that others have enjoyed the butterflies as well. I am hoping I see some other butterflies. It is always so nice to discover ones that one has never seen.

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  36. Enjoyed reading your post. Great photos of the butterflies and I would love to see a Luna moth.

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    1. Thank you, Pat. I believe the Luna moth's range is North America. However, I remember hearing of a story where one surprisingly showed up in Devon one year.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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