February 14th, 2013
I’m sitting here with seed and plant catalogs scattered around—Plant Delights, Botanical Interests, Baker Creek, Cook’s Garden, John Scheepers…My Lee Valley 10-Year Garden Journal is open to February. My Excel spread sheet plant inventory is open on my computer screen. The collection I affectionately refer to as my Seed Vault is on the floor under my desk, threatening to overflow into Seed Vault Two.
I’m bundled in a bulky sweater, fingerless gloves and my warmest Ugg shoes. I hardly remember what summer looked like last year.
I know it was green. I’m pretty sure it was green. I remember picking tomatoes, cucumbers, tiny mar des bois strawberries, Bright Lights Swiss chard. My husband and I spent many evenings under the stars finishing dinner and drinking wine, listening to the crickets and watching the bats dart across the night sky. I can remember the smell of freshly mown grass and basil pinched between my fingernails.
Gosh, my feet are cold. I should to make some hot tea.
Oh yes, we had lots of butterflies last year. Monarchs, zebra swallowtails, eastern tiger swallowtails, red admirals. I didn’t know the name of some of the butterflies and moths but loved them just the same. I remember wondering why the monarchs seemed so skittish and the eastern tiger swallowtails would almost let me touch them.
Oh, that’s right. All those celeste figs! So many I hardly knew what to do with them all. I stood next to the tree and popped them right into my mouth.
Maybe another pair of socks would help warm my feet.
Oh, the birds! That’s right. Our hummingbird feeder had a lot of business last summer.
I should bundle up and go top off the bird feeders now. That birdbath could use some hot water to melt the ice too.
So much lemon grass! I remember I was glad I only planted one since it nearly crowded out the cone flowers.
And the asparagus was filling in nicely. I think we can pick some more this year.
Ah yes. There was color too. Purples and blues and oranges and yellows.
It’s awfully cold in here. Maybe I should just turn up the heat for a little while.
Oh, that’s right. It’ll be better soon.
(Click on the photos to embiggen.)
Posted In: Gardening
Tags: asparagus, butterflies, figs, lemon grass, potager, summer, swallowtail
August 22nd, 2012
Some of nature’s wonders require that you stop, pause and look closely. This isn’t one of them. There’s a reason the Buddleia is called a butterfly bush. It’s covered in swallowtail butterflies!
This butterfly bush is the Buddleia davidii ‘White Splendour’ (I think). It is approximately 8′ in diameter and nearly 10′ tall. It was relocated a couple of years ago to a more roomy location because I didn’t believe it could possibly grow this big.
All summer long the butterflies are numerous and industrious in our garden. It’s one of the reasons I grow dill but hardly ever get to eat any. The caterpillars eat it all. Gluttons. Glorious gluttons.
By far the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails outnumber the other butterflies. But we also have Painted Admirals, Black Swallowtails and—the glorious Zebra Swallowtail. (You can see those in the video below.)
A while back a friend of mine was envying our prolific Pawpaw patch because it is host to the larval Zebra Swallowtail. If you don’t know Pawpaws, they are a fruit tree native to North America. The fruit of the Pawpaw is rather sweet and mushy. For some it’s an acquired taste. But Zebra Swallowtails just love Pawpaws. In fact, it is also called the Pawpaw butterfly.
I wish I were a better photographer and videographer to share how the bush comes alive. This is definitely one of nature’s bigger shows in my garden.
Posted In: Nature and Wildlife
Tags: buddleia davidii, butterflies, butterfly bush, caterpillar, garden, swallowtail, zebra swallowtail