04 August 2010

The Dog Days of Summer...

It's still 101 degrees at 7:00 at night, so it's pretty much too hot to do anything more than sip ice tea and keep in the shade.

But the flowers have been pretty this summer, and despite the heat we're getting a fair number of visitors to the garden out front.

The bees love the coneflowers....

So do the goldfinches (they like the seeds on the faded flowers); you can just see one in the top right of this photo. They are pretty shy so I could only get so close (there was a second one that flew away as I was trying to get this shot).

The butterflies, not surprisingly, prefer the butterfly bushes. In the mornings and late afternoons we can often see a dozen or more, of all different varieties feasting on nectar.

This spectacular fellow is a Zebra Swallowtail in addition to his gorgeous stripes and long "tails" he has wonderfully intense spots of red and blue, right on the center of his back:

And this one is (I think) a Red Spotted Purple (it almost looks like a Spicebush Swallowtail, but minus the tail, and it has hints of orange spots on its upper wings):

It's always fun to go out the front door and have all kinds of butterflies swirling around you as you step along the front walk. Very much a story-book feeling.

We do, have some less welcome (but no less impressive) visitors to our garden. Things like black widow spiders and cow killer ants (see below) make for some cautious weeding.

But the beauty of the flowers and the swirl of butterflies are more than ample compensation from the more venomous visitors. On these hot, hot days, the colors and life in the garden are very welcome reminders that the discomfort of the temperature is well repaid in beauty.


  1. wow...what amazing pictures, Janet! A "cow killer"??? Must be one mighty ferocious ant!! I was just commenting to Christopher that I haven't seen many butterflies this year...just a couple of big yellow ones and a few really tiny white ones (which may very well have been moths). Nice to know that you are greeted by some very beautiful ones in your garden. Miss you! Love to your family--Maggie

  2. Thanks Maggie! and I really miss you, too.
    (oh, and cow killer ants are really wingless wasps- might be a fun research project of Christopher ever needs an unusual topic for science class :-) )