Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seasonally Thinking



In a few weeks, autumn will officially arrive, and I cannot wait. Summer has had its ups and downs, and I am more than ready to enjoy the morning breezes and the rusty and golden hues.

Donna from Gardens Eye View hosts Seasonal Celebrations this month for autumn. And I have listed a few of the treasures of my autumn.



One of the things I love about autumn is the re-blooming of yarrow. After it blooms in the spring, and I cut away the spent blooms, the foliage spreads and new blooms form for fall.

Achillea millefolium, Yarrow 'Paprika'


In my area, the leaves are not in full autumn color quite yet, but a few leaves here and there have burst forth with some color.



More recently, we have had regular rain for a couple of weeks that has finally soaked through the top layer of the soil. Plants look healthier and sated.


This summer was a very dry summer, and the challenges were many. Beth at PlantPostings hosts Lessons Learned to review the lessons of the past season. And I have listed a few of the lessons I have learned from this challenging summer.

Some Plants Not Only Survive, They Thrive

When there is a dry summer, there are some plants that not only survive but seem to thrive.

Yarrow seems to nonchalantly exist without any help from me. It flows with the fluctuations of weather and conditions as if they were only something happening outside of its needs.

Achillea millefolium, Yarrow 'Moonshine'

With the dry weather and hot/humid conditions, my tomatoes suffered from some fungal problems. I treated them with sulphur powder, and pulled off the yellowing leaves. I was not sure they would make it through the summer, but within a few weeks they snapped back and continued producing tasty tomatoes.

Tomatoes, various varieties

Many of my hydrangeas suffer during dry conditions, and I must be sure to give them water to help them through. Limelight hydrangeas never seem to complain no matter what the conditions are. They survive and thrive through any and all conditions.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

Feed the Butterflies, and They Will Come

This year I have seen more butterflies than in previous years. My perennial bed has matured and the plants have grown to be food sources for lots of pollinators, including butterflies. On any given day, I see from eight to 12 butterflies in the garden.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies on Buddleia 'Black Knight'


Life Miracles

I placed some Black Swallowtail larvae in a butterfly net to keep them from the birds and watched the transformation from larvae to butterfly. It is an absolutely amazing experience.

Black Swallowtail Larva in Late Pupa Stage

Recently Emerged Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Whatever lessons were learned, I find, in looking back, I can appreciate the experience of it all. The seasons can be unpredictable and difficult sometimes, but I do enjoy having the change of the seasons. It not only makes gardening interesting, it makes life interesting.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

33 comments:

  1. Next time try a time lapse of larva to butterfly stage. I would be awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a very fine idea, Mukundh. I would enjoy those photos for all time...to remember.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this stunning view of seasonal celebrations and lessons learned, Michelle! I've noticed more butterflies this year, too--starting way back in March when we had very warm temperatures. Simply a lovely post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth. The butterflies really have defined this summer. I am hoping that this trend continues. Thank you for hosting this wonderful meme.

      Delete
  3. More black swallowtail here but less monarchs and others due to drought. Wonderful post Michelle. What sulphur powder did you use? Your garden is gorgeous especially with rain...I have given up as we are now getting no rain for September so the season will be done very soon. Fall is coming too soon in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, I am so sorry you are not getting rain. We went weeks with barely a drop, and then when it did rain it was very, very little. In the past few weeks, we have had some heavy rains for which I am very grateful. The sulphur powder I use is available at most garden centers, nurseries, and hardware stores. It is a natural fungicide. The one I often find in stores is the Bonide brand. Here is a link for more info:
      http://www.garden.com/item/bonide-sulfur-fungicide-4-lb/G23145/?srccode=MRGDSHPP&mr:referralID=56813b51-fd01-11e1-8751-001b2166c2c0

      Delete
  4. I had record numbers of butterflies this summer but then again, it seemed we had more rain in August than normal and yet we are still in drought conditions. Your garden seems to have survived the summer well. The tomatoes look delicious...mine seemed to crack before they were totally ripe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had very little rain throughout the summer until a couple of weeks ago, and the butterflies did not seem to mind. I am glad the rain finally came, and I hope we don't have another dry spell.

      Delete
  5. Thoroughly enjoyed your pictures and post. We had more butterflies early in the summer than in the past, but in our area, we haven't had measurable rain since June. Very unusual for our neck of the woods. It's taken a toll not only on the flora, but the fauna, also. Sprinkles predicted here tomorrow. Whoo hoo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get some rain...lots of it, Ann. Our summer has been very similar to yours except we finally got some good and long rain showers these past couple of weeks. It made such a difference.

      Delete
  6. The garden is beautiful in different ways at different times of the year, we just have to "see" it. Your photos are gorgeous and full of colour. I especially love the soft tones of your hydrangea, almost a mint green with a pearl-dot center.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those Limelight hydrangeas change color as the season progresses. They start out bright white, slowly turn to a pale green, and then begin to show hues of purple. They are wonderful.

      Delete
  7. Such beautiful photos. I wish we had such beautiful and many butterflies. This summer was so rainy that many plants have suffered and there are not many butterflies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry to hear that, Sadun. I hope your next season is better. And I hope the butterflies return.

      Delete
  8. Our summer has been the total opposite of yours - hardly any bees, butterflies or hoverflies - hopefully next year will be better. Lucky you still having a garden full of colour

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elaine. I have heard that lament from many across the pond. I hope it is all different next year.

      Delete
  9. Lovely reflections on the past season, Michelle; I am ready for fall, too. I learned many of the same lessons as you--yarrow is such a dependable plant, and 'Limelight' has to be my favorite hydrangea. While the other hydrangeas were wilting and crying out for water every day, the 'Limelight' sailed on without complaining of the heat and lack of rain. I've also noticed more butterflies this year, especially in the last few weeks. Now that the weather is turning cooler, it's a joy to go out into the garden once again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rose. Limelight continues to impress me year after year. It is one the most amazing plants. I do love the cooler weather and am looking forward to fall.

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Gracias, thank you! And hugs to you as well.

      Delete
  11. It's wonderful that your garden supplies a food source for the butterflies - I know they must be very relieved to find it during your harsh summer this year. Sometimes it's hard to remember to embrace the changes in our gardens - but like you say, it really does make life more interesting (and challenging!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Holley. The changes are also surprising at times. I cannot say I am always embracing the changes when they occur, but later I embrace the lessons.

      Delete
  12. Your garden is obviously a haven for butterflies, they make such a difference to a border, fluttering everywhere. We had a very wet, cold summer unfortunately, but once the warmer weather arrived about 2 weeks ago, so did all the butterflies and bees and they are now making up for lost time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds wonderful, Pauline, to have a flurry of activity all at once. I am glad the summer did not pass without any at all.

      Delete
  13. Very pretty photos. I didn't know yarrow would rebloom. I need to try deadheading it more regularly. I also have had both a reddish yarrow (mine is Cerise Queen) and Moonshine and they are very different. The reddish-flowered one spread like a sun-of-a-gun and I relegated it to a difficult spot that I can't get anything else to grow in (and am considering banning it entirely because it is probably bad for the environment) but Moonshine was the opposite - I actually had trouble finding a spot where it was happy. Do you see much difference in yours?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sharon. My yarrow varieties seem to behave in much the same way. I do find seedlings now and then, but not in an invasive way. They seem to be scattered here and there, not near the plant. Perhaps Cerise Queen has some special properties, I am not sure.

      Delete
  14. It is a miracle to see that there really are some things that thrive in the heat and drought of a cruel summer. I am loving all my red and yellow flowers at the moment, they seem to be the ones doing the best. Must be the relation to the sun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad that there are some real survivors in the garden. I like when there is less work for me.

      Delete
  15. The changing of the seasons does make us take some time to analyze our life, doesn't it. Taking the time to really notice the changes in the seasons helps me gain a greater appreciation for the area in which I live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are times when I dream of living in a tropical place like Hawaii or enjoying longer winters in a place like Canada, but I think I would miss having a true four season year. I do appreciate the changes coming and the changes passed.

      Delete
  16. Oh my! Such heavenly photos. Your hydrangea is enchanting. I am anxious for our autumn rains to finally come and sprinkle the garden. I'm so glad you had some rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy. The rains that we have had over the last couple of weeks have been so very welcome. I hope you get lots and lots of rain.

      Delete
  17. My yarrow is doing really well, too. I really like the idea of using butterfly netting. I think I'm going to give that a try. :o) I like how reflective this post is.

    ReplyDelete

'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!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
ondragstart="return false" onselectstart="return false"