Thursday, August 16, 2012

Butterfly Garden

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed
My garden and I are in the summer doldrums as the beautiful cottage-garden perennials die back, droop, and fade. I really thought I had little to show for Bloom Day, until I attempted to gather a bouquet for the tea table, and found more blooms than I expected: obedient plant, purple cone flower, shasta daisy, zinnia and black-eyed-Susan -- enough to make a cheerful centerpiece. My daughter arrived to pick up my grandson who stayed with us for a few days. He is my baking buddy and he insisted we make a 'tea party for Mommy'.

Flowers for the Tea Table

As my daughter and I stroll around the shade garden, we notice the heuchera are still in bloom.

Heuchera 'Coral Bells'
There are several signs of the changing season. The Chinese lanterns are turning orange and there are buds on sedum 'Autumn Joy'.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and Physalis alkekengi, Chinese lantern
In the cottage garden, Cleome is going to seed but there are a few lovely blooms still.

Cleome hassleriana
My climbing rose, 'Iceberg,' hasn't quite given up yet.

The pond is still pretty with waterlilies. And on the bank of the pond a succulent of unknown (to me) species has pretty white flowers.

One of the stonecrops?
Sunflowers tower over the kitchen garden, where the tomatoes have finally started to ripen.

And everywhere there are butterflies; I don't know all their names.

Swallowtail butterfly on budlehia
Common Buckeye

Pearl Crescent?

Painted Lady
Tiger Swallowtail
While budlehia is certainly a butterfly magnet, the most important butterfly plant in the garden has to be milkweed. I have five or six milkweed plants constantly covered with monarchs and other pollinators. As well as the monarch in my lead picture, I am showing some bees on milkweed also ...

I look forward to seeing the next generation of monarch butterflies feeding on my milkweed, as it is the host plant for the monarch caterpillar. Milkweed is a signature plant for me. Diana at Elephants Eye challenges us to choose a 'must have' plant each month; milkweed is my choice for August. I am also linking to Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens, for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

I look forward to visiting those two wonderful blogs to see what is blooming in other parts of the world. I hope to see you there.

Finally, I must show you a picture of a less-welcomed visitor to my garden. Black bears are common in the Poconos, but this is the first time I saw one so close to my house. He climbed the catalapa tree in the shade garden. The picture is a bit blurry because I took it through the screen in the den window.

Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (a bit late)!

Pamela x

Victoria Sandwich - a tea-time treat.

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Your tea party looked perfect with the dainty sandwiches, a Victoria sponge and such beautiful china! I always enjoy seeing what's happening in your garden... I wasn't expecting the bear!

  2. I love how you've captured your grandson liking his lips in anticipation of enjoying his baking! The bear, is a little too close for comfort, even in a 'virtual garden'. I am drawn to the milkweed flowers - both for their elaborate architecture and the interesting off-key colours.

  3. What a sweet ending for your grandson and a wonderful treat for his mother, a tea party.

    Your flowers and butterflies are wonderful. I love the color of your milkweed.

    Yikes, a bear in your space. Hope he didn't do any real damage.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

  4. Hi Pam,

    Wow, a bear in your garden??!! Now, that IS a far cry from England - how does one get used to seeing Bears as a daily part of life, coming from the UK?? Eeeek.

    Glad to see you have so many Butterflies around, oh and yes I would like some victoria sponge ;)

  5. We've had bears up here in Wayne County this year, too. Three different ones traipsed right across our backyard on three separate occasions back in June. And I live not too awfully far from town, and very near the schools! My neighbor religiously takes her bird feeders inside every night, but now that these bears have been spotted during the bright light of mid-morning, she has just stopped feeding them until winter.

    Love the milkweed blossoms and butterflies. My zinnias are just starting to attract the monarchs now.

  6. My garden is going through the doldrums too. Yours looks lovely though. I'd love some tea and cake please :- ) (know what I'm going to be doing this weekend!)

  7. Yikes, I'm not quite sure that I would welcome such a visitor either. A bear? Wow. But all the butterflies are welcome, of course.

  8. Your garden is beautiful! WOW a bear! That is something you don't see everyday!

  9. I've just read your last three posts and enjoyed the virtual tour through your garden. Everything looks full and gorgeous - it's late winter here and my garden is wet and sparse, so looking at your summer beauties makes me happy! Hope you're enjoying the change of season... I sure am!

  10. A tea party for Mommy - so sweet! Your plants are lovely, no wonder even the bears come calling!

  11. Your garden is beautiful as ever. Love that Cleome, will have to plant some next year. Looks like a lovely tea party. Did you have cucumber sandwiches?

  12. I love your photo of the water lily. Wow, a black bear in your garden. Kind of cool but I don't think I would like one as a regular visitor.

  13. Pam my husband would love your bear and I would love your blooms...many of the blooms you mention are long gone here with the drought. I cannot get over how much you have blooming but I recall you have had lots of rain right? My pink milkweed is my favorite but the monarchs have been few this year.

  14. I'll take a slice of cake, please! Your garden looks beautiful. My milkweed has been growing weird this year. It's very shallow rooted and sending roots horizontally out the bottom of the stems. Weird. I'd much rather have butterflies than bears!

  15. Wow, I can't believe you get bears in your garden, that isn't a typical English Cottage Garden, Pam. The tea party is typically English though, you've obviously taught your grandson well. I love all the different butterflies, I don't get anything out of the ordinary in my garden.

  16. Precious tea party, with such good company!

    We call that American Swallowtail, a Tiger Swallowtail. Aren't they gorgeous?

  17. Wow! Those butterflies are really lovely. Thanks a lot for sharing such wonderful photos. Great blog!

  18. Pam,
    How startling to have a bear in your backyard! So many pretty butterflies! We have very few butterflies, which makes me puzzled.

    My favorite thing though is your grandson's licking his lips for the yummy tea he helped to prepare. How nice to get to enjoy some last summer moments before school. Happy August!

  19. Omigosh I had not recovered from the exquisite tea table when what did I come across but a BEAR in your garden. Such extremes-- You would have made a good pioneer woman Pam. Then somewhere between the tea and the bear I loved the Chinese lanterns and sunflowers. (I like to cut the lanterns and dry them for Halloween bouquets too.)

  20. Beautiful flowers and butterfies BUT that bear! Oh my!!

  21. Just lovely butterflies. And that milkweed is so pretty! I've never grown this plant, but what a pretty bloom! I need some of these in my garden. I'll put it on my list! And the bear - oh, my! I can't imagine what he was looking for!

  22. I love the way youngsters enjoy baking with grandma. Still many great looking plants in your garden Pam. A bear in your garden! and to think we get excited when we see a hedgehog.

  23. Hi Pam, I was already here and left a comment which must not have gone through. I have been having trouble leaving comments with my WP account. Well anyway, I really like all the butterflies that visit your garden. Beautiful images too.

  24. Yikes....that bear so close is a little alarming...and I though having racoons in our back yard was scary! Your garden is still looking great...and I love your Waterlilies!

  25. Beautiful butterflies Pam, and exciting to see the cheeky bear!

  26. Hey, Certainly i am the one including with bear and butterfly to love your garden.

  27. I have zero butterflies (and bears) in my garden. I hope milkweed grows in the UK.

  28. We finally got rain after a very dry summer. I can empathize with your struggle. Despite that, you have found some beautiful areas of your garden that have somehow survived with verve and health. I hope things improve.

  29. Such a variety of photographs, from grandsons to butterflies to bears!
    What?! I did a double take. Beautiful butterfly photos. Jeannine

  30. Beautiful photos. Love the bear!
    PS. A very late thanks for my birthday wishes. Did not visit Blotanical for a long time!

  31. I too love comments, makes the blogging worthwhile! Your pictures are lovely. The bear is very interesting. We have none (that we know of!) in our area. What lovely gardens!

  32. i don't mean to criticize, but these do not appear to be bees. some types of insects(e.g. flies)have evolved to camouflage themselves as bees so as to not be victims of predators. read it in Birds and Blooms magazine :)