A garden is continually changing…

Plants grow, flourish, produce their fruit and then find their magical ways to create a new plant.

The spinach bid adieu long ago. Our lettuce also has finally gone to seed. This is, perhaps, one of the saddest passings in our garden, since a green salad is nearly always on the dinner menu. One of the great joys of a garden is going out and picking what is fresh and ripe, rinsing it off and eating it within minutes of the harvest.

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Lettuce going to seed

But to take its place, our cucumbers are thriving. Cucumber salad. Cucumbers in neufchatel cheese. Oriental cucumbers. Chopped cucumbers in veggie wraps. Homemade bread and butter pickles.

Yes, you can perhaps have too many cucumbers. And zucchini.

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Cucumber vines

A closer look at the flowers in the garden also reveals a bounty of bugs. Some good. Some bad.

A constant are the bees–at least so far. I do worry about the mass bee deaths that are occurring. So far, we still see bees, particularly the big fat bumblebees.

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Bumblebee

My favorites are the butterflies. I haven’t made a conscious effort to attract butterflies. It just happened. They love any and all flowers. But especially, they love the butterfly bush.

I wish I had the skills to capture what happens near the end of the day. Although all day long the butterfly bush is FILLED with butterflies, around 5 p.m., there seems to be some sort of butterfly meeting. They all converge in a frenzy of activity. Perhaps they are trying to get that last bit of nectar before it gets too late and everyone has to go to bed. Really, though, I don’t know why. But I wish that I had the ability to capture the mass and movement of butterflies. I’ll have to figure that out.

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Butterfly – Red Admiral (vanessa atalanta)

Until I do, though, there will be plenty for me to do cataloging and identifying the wide variety of butterflies that visit our garden.

bfly2.jpg Butterfly — Anise Swallowtail?

Can anyone tell I have a new camera? After seeing all the fabulous photography in some of the garden blogs I visit, I decided I need to be a better photographer.

Good grief. Another thing to do! Ben is already laughing at all my “pet projects!”

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7 Comments

  • Beautiful photos! Your butterflies are so pretty. When I see something like a butterfly or I get buzzed by a hummingbird, I always just stop and take it all in: aren’t they great reminders?!

  • RuthieJ says:

    Hey Robin,
    Did you fabricate that bamboo cucumber pole yourself? I think I need to make one of those for my cucumber plant. How tall is it? Did you just lash it together on top with some twine or something? Thanks!

  • Kathy says:

    At least you can make pickles out of cucumbers. Wait! I have a zucchini pickle recipe, too. Want it?

  • Kathy – Yes, send along that zucchini pickle recipe. I can use it!

    Ruthie – Yes, I made the bamboo plant support. My local garden center carries these six packs of 6′ bamboo. I bought a couple a few years ago, not really having anything in mind for them, but suspecting they might be useful. Then when I was trying to figure out how to support the cucumbers last year, it came to me.

    I have seen photos of Colonial gardens where they used branches and sticks. So I figured, why not bamboo?

    I just stick them into the ground vertically and then bend over the tops and tie them with twine. Then at regular distances down the support I tie twine to give the plants something extra to hang onto. I think it works pretty well and seems to fit into the garden theme. And it’s cheap too!

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  • RuthieJ says:

    Hi Robin,
    I’m pretty sure your beautiful butterfly is a Tiger Swallowtail and here’s 2 reasons: 1) the Anise Swallowtail is normally only found in the western U.S. and 2) according to "The Butterfly Book" by Don & Lillian Stokes, "the anise swallowtail has a broad yellow band through the center of the forewings." When you compare pictures of the two of them, the tiger swallowtail definitely has a lot more yellow in its wings with the more vertical black striping as your photo shows. I’ve never seen one like yours though with so much blue on the lower wings. That’s a wonderful picture.

  • Ruthie,

    I believe you are right! It is a Tiger Swallowtail. I did a Google search and it is quite the same. Only my OWN PERSONAL BUTTERFLY has much more blue!

    Clearly, we excel here in Southern Maryland.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

    P.S.
    What about all the other butterflies I am trying to identify. Can I send them to you?/ 🙂

  • RuthieJ says:

    Hi Robin,
    I would be delighted to see your other butterfly pictures and help you with the ID. Thanks so much for asking.

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