Butterflies!

Red Admiral Butterfly on Boltonia against blue sky

This gorgeous red admiral butterfly couldn’t get enough of the boltonia flowers that have taken over my sunlight garden bed. Between the drought, and a plague of voles, I’m happy I’ve got anything left. If it’s something that attracts butterflies, so much the better. I’ve seen several of the red admirals this last week, as well as lots of smaller butterflies that flit about too much for me to get good photos.

Over the years I’ve tried growing many types of flowers that are supposed to attract butterflies, but it’s the boltonia that they love. Butterfly bushes bring in the butterflies by the dozens as well, but I’ve only ever had one butterfly bush survive our winters, even after mulching each with a foot of leaves. I know some people grow those as annuals, but the summers here are usually too short to do that successfully either.

So here’s to boltonias–and butterflies!

Recipe: Take One Part Nature, and One Part Technology

 Monarch on Gallardia.

As promised, I have lots of photos to poke through and then share. This one is a bit of me experimenting, as the monarch butterfly and flower were dangling over a really ratty looking chunk of concrete. I couldn’t get my camera to blur the background so that it didn’t look icky.

So … I took several versions of the shot anyways, and then played around a bit with my graphics package to delete the skuzzy concrete background.

And … Voila! Now I can share a shot of one lovely monarch butterfly visiting a Gallardia flower.

Technology. Gotta love it.

Butterfly Bonanza

Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

This gorgeous monarch was one of a parade of butterflies that visited our butterfly bushes throughout Tuesday. Every time I looked, the blooms had a new set of butterflies on them!

Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

The monarchs never seem to sit with their wings fanned out the way the swallowtails do. But they are much more apt to hop onto my hands and say ‘howdy,’ which of course I love to bits.

Butterfly Bush bloom

Here’s a view of a butterfly bush bloom taken from a butterfly’s perspective… yummy, no? If you’ve never seen a butterfly bush (scientific name: Buddleja davidii) they’re rather scraggly looking plants – except for the blooms, which remind me of lilacs. They are scented, to my nose, with a delicate honeyed fragrance that is delightful. We’re at the very edge of the zones where they can grow. Our winters are too cold for butterfly bushes to thrive, according to all the plant books. The bushes, however, apparently didn’t get that memo (thank goodness), and are going great guns.

Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

*sigh!*

Gorgeous.

Got ‘Im!

Yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly fanning wings

Ha! Finally got a photo of one of the yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies!

I’m loving all the butterflies we’re seeing this year, thanks to the new butterfly bushes.

We have some new residents in the yard, too. They’re half-pint sized baby chipmunks. They’re living with Momma Chippie in a burrow she’s created underneath my raised garden that has irises and three big cherry tomato plants.

They are incredibly cute! I’ve alway thought chipmunks were cute, but BABY chipmunks – OMG! They’re adorable!

However.

As I was watching the baby chippies last weekend, one of them hopped up and sat on the side of the raised bed to munch on something. Adorable! Cute! What a show! Awwww! And what is that its eating? It’s a little big for a berry and its bright red and…

YOU LITTLE STRIPED RAT! YOU’RE EATING MY RIPE CHERRY TOMATOES!

Obviously, Momma Chipmunk picked the spot for her burrow because of its prime location – right next to the tomato grocery store.

Since the weekend, the baby chippies have eaten every single tomato the moment it’s ripened. For the rest of the summer, I’m obviously going to have to pick my tomatoes a trifle on the green side, and let them ripen inside if we want to eat any of MY tomatoes.

Humpfh!

Butterflies!

Black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly fanning wings

Whoa! As of this week I totally have to quit complaining that my butterfly bushes aren’t attracting many butterflies! Today alone, this beauty, and two more like her, were on the bushes when I went out this morning. She’s a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Side view of Black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

I’ve never seen the black variant like this one before and to have three at once! All black Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are female, which as a horse color genetics ‘hobbyist’ I find fascinating. (Yes, I study equine color genetics as a hobby. No, I don’t think that’s unusual. So… what are your hobbies?)

Black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail getting ready for flight

*Sigh!*

Isn’t she gorgeous?