June Notes from the Butterfly and Rain Gardens


I hope many of you have had a chance to visit our Neighborhood Butterfly and Rain Gardens at the Whenona Drive bike/pedestrian ramp.  There has been lots to see as more and more native plants come into bloom. Spiderwort has put on a show of bright blue, contrasting now with yellow-gold Coreopsis.  There will be a sea of Coreopsis blossoms before long. The Ninebark shrub was covered with fragrant white blooms which then turned a dark red as seed heads began to form.  An exciting discovery was made of two clumps of Canada Milk Vetch, which were almost mistaken for weedy locust shoots.  We put in a few very small Milk Vetch plants last year from Plant Dane, but thought they had not survived.  They are 2 to 3 ft tall already, and will have large spikes of creamy yellow flowers. They have long compound leaves with many small leaflets, looking a little like a pea plant.

Meanwhile, in the Rain Garden, Prairie Phlox plants bloomed briefly before the rabbits made a meal of them (darn!). White Beardtongue(Penstemon digitalis) has been blooming profusely for a few weeks now.  Almost every species we planted last summer and fall has come back up.  The evening after two inches of rain on June 24, the rain garden was a small pond, but only little trickles of water were entering the storm drain.

We have seen Bumble bees, a couple Monarch butterflies, and many dragonflies at both the Butterfly and Rain Gardens.  Stephen Glass shared photos of a Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly, female Widow Skimmer and female Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonflies. Other photos are from Susan Rutter and myself.

We are working on weeding and other tasks as individuals and in small groups.  There is plenty of space to work at a distance from each other, and masks are strongly recommended.   Please email me, Carol Buelow, if you’d like to help: area6@cmnna.org