Thursday, September 15, 2016

Butterflies and (Tired) Blooms

My mid-September gardens look best when viewed from a distance where you can't see the plants' decline. The flowers that are still bravely blooming in spite of the unprecedented heat and lack of rain of the last several weeks, definitely show deterioration.  While the lawns need mowing less often, they are littered with leaves that fall before changing color, adding to the general sense of untidiness. The 'sadness' of autumn has arrived early before the trees have donned their fabulous, dramatic colors. 'Sad' because I hate to see summer go.  One end-of-August-early-September joy, however, was the unexpected arrival of monarchs. While I delight in numerous butterflies, especially fritillaries, in my summer garden, the monarchs unfortunately were absent until recently. I examined the milkweed daily for eggs and caterpillars and was finally rewarded. Let's take a look -- bearing in mind that while all these plants bloom today, not all photos were taken this week (as I've not been well.) The garden, therefore, is less vibrant than it appears in this posting.

Still have lots of zinnias. They are butterfly magnets.

Milkweed at the bottom of the kitchen garden.
Monarchs at last ... and caterpillars on the milkweed.

Declining cottage garden

 The goldfinches twitter through the stands of purple coneflower enjoying the seeds. I will not cut these perennials back but leave them through the winter for the goldfinches to enjoy.

Goldfinch on Echinacea Purple cone flower
This goldfinch is enjoying the sunflower seeds.

I have just a few fall-blooming flowers. My favorite has to be 'Blue Mist Shrub.' It is a favorite of the bees too.

Caryopteris Blue Mist Shrub 'Dark Knight'

I am happy to report the roses are not giving up. I'm loving their final bloom of the season, especially with no Japanese beetles around.

Rosa 'Peace' (yesterday)

Beyond 'Peace'- threadleaf coreopsis and pink phlox.

The zebra grass by the pond is probably eight or nine feet tall to the top of its pretty plumes. It works hard shielding the water from the scorching summer sun thus hampering the growth of algae. We've experienced a lot of winds lately, and I love the way this tall ornamental grass sways in the breeze.
Zebra Grass Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinius'

 Another late blooming plant is the sweet autumn clematis. This vine you either love or hate. It is despised for its invasive habit, but I have not experienced a problem, maybe because I cut it down almost to the ground when it finishes blooming. The gardener who gave it to me told me it was the native variety and less aggressive. I have since learned from the shape of the leaves that it is not native. However, it has not sown itself around and it makes a dramatic impact in my fall garden.

Sweet Autumn Clematis Clematis terniflora
Daylily Hermerocallis 'Happy Returns' is a rebloomer having its last fling.

The brown-eyed Susan, given to me by a visitor this summer, has five or six flower heads already. I hope this short-lived perennial stays a while in my garden.
Brown-eyed Susan Rudbechia triloba

 Finally, in the herb garden between the basil and the parsley ...

Nasturtium (forgotten the name)

I am linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for everyone's favorite meme 'Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.' I'm going over there now to see what is blooming in gardens around the world. Won't you join me?

Pamela x

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. I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling well, Pam. I hope you're better soon. I would never know your garden was stressed--it looks healthy and happy. And how wonderful to have Monarch caterpillars and butterflies in the garden. I've been happy about that, too. And all the other butterflies and pollinators! You've provided a wonderful habitat for them. :)

  2. Nice flowers! The Brown-Eyed Susan is such a beauty ♥

  3. You've still got so much going on in your garden. The monarch butterflies are so pretty, I haven't seen many butterflies around here this year. The sedum has just started blooming so I was expecting it to attract more to the garden but though it's like a magnet to the bees, I've only seen the odd butterfly flitting about. It must be an off year for them.

  4. my caryopteris is looking great, too, and i still have 'happy returns' rebloomers as well - my only rebloomers ever. your garden looks lovely, and i'm so glad i got into some late bloomers as well. toad lily and persicaria (mine is lance corporal) are putting on the best show, and agastache is hanging in there. the hummingbirds and butterflies were still busy here last week, but now that it's cooled off a lot, especially at night, i think they have "left the building." --suz in ohio

  5. at this time of year, I guess some of the blooms may well be declining, butterflies dont look tired of them though.

  6. You still have a lot going on in your garden for September Pam, and the Monarch butterflies are beautiful. We have had only a few this year, so it is nice to see that they are finally arriving. I also love your mosaics of the butterflies and caterpillars and your Zinnias are all so lovely!

  7. seems the butterflies are having a rough year - it is good to see them enjoying your milkweeds.

  8. Tired blooms or not, I enjoyed seeing your butterflies. For some reason, I have trouble taking pictures of them. Hope you had a happy GBBD!

  9. The garden definitely gets sad this time of year, but the many butterflies passing through don't seem to mind.

  10. I hope you feel better Pam, it’s not easy to watch the garden decline and not be well enough to do what’s necessary. That said, your photos showed your beautiful garden just as lovely as always and I would have loved to have the zebra grass in my garden if I had a space for it – absolutely gorgeous. It’s sad when summer ends but it’s good to get a bit cooler weather so we can get a bit done in the garden I guess :-)

  11. Sorry to hear you have not been feeling well. Your garden still looks beautiful. My coneflowers have declined too, very few in bloom. I am headed to PA in early October and believe with this weather, no fall foliage for a while.It has been so dry that stressed trees here will not show color likely. At least you have been getting more rain.

  12. I'm happy to see you have a few monarch caterpillars! They never found my milkweed and the butterflies we're seeing now are just passing through on their trip South.
    I don't think the garden looks bad at all but I'm hoping a little rain will come our way today to keep the fall foliage from failing this autumn.

  13. Beautiful Monarchs in your garden, I always admire all these for us so exotic butterflies. You even have caterpillars so it's going into the right direction. Your garden is still looking good,I hope you feel better now.
    Regards from Holland,

  14. Many prayers for a very quick recovery - I enjoyed perusing through your wonderful garden! God bless!

  15. Your first sentence describes my flowerbeds right now too--definitely better-looking from a distance! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your lovely place.
    Happy Bloom Day!

  16. Thank you, dear gardening friends, for your kind wishes about my health. I have a mild gastritis. I'm beginning to feel better. Thanks again. P. x