An Exciting Time in the Butterfly Garden

Where did the time go??  It seems such a short while ago (early May), that Prairie Smoke began blooming, and then went to seed. The seed stage is when whisps of upright pale pinkishtufts appear, looking like a haze of smoke.  Most of the plants were greening up, and only about knee high.  Now most of them are four feet tall!  The flowering progression went from the low-growing Prairie Smoke and Jacob’s Ladder, to a sea of yellow Coreopsis, then an orange-yellow sea of Black-eyed Susans.  Now the blues and purples are coming into the mix, as wild Monarda (“Bee Balm”) and Blue Vervain are blooming.  Purple Prairie Clover is forming flower buds. But yellow will soon dominate again when the Yellow Coneflower, now a foot taller than everything else, comes into bloom.

A large number of volunteers turned out for our first gardening session on Saturday, May 4, to get a head start on the weeds, mainly Black Medic and various clovers.  We continued for three more sessions in June, both weeding and planting some donated Jacob’s Ladder and Common Milkweed.  Some of our volunteers have also come on their own for an hour or two.  Thank You, volunteers! As June progressed, we frequently saw Monarch Butterflies flitting about, and then on two or three occasions, some Monarch caterpillars. Moths, dragonflies and bees have also been flying about. To cap it off, on our July 11 session, Shelley spotted a newly emerged Monarch Butterfly, drying its wings as it hung from the shell of its chrysalis!!It is so exciting to see that the Monarchs have not only found our Garden, but are finding and using the milkweed to reproduce and continue their life cycle.

Another big Thank You to Mary Mullen, who bicycles over the bridge to help us weed, and has shared the photographs she takes for our Garden posts.