Friday, October 19, 2012

Monarch Butterflies Wild About The Gardens

Throughout the summer and fall 
Monarchs and other butterflies readily flutter to native plants in the garden 
and seem to prefer them over most all others . . . 
with exception to our taller than usual butterfly bush.

Joe-pye weed, Eupatorium purpureum L. is a favorite plant of mine for its large sculptural quality. Butterflies, moths and bees love the sweets hidden within numerous tiny florets. 

Liatris is another favored native and great pollinator attractor. 

Ironweed, Veronia gigantea (perhaps) is also a prized native . . .  
offering beauty in its grand height and plenty of nectar for a multitude of butterflies and bees. 

A Monarch and Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly share a cluster of Ironweed blooms.

A Monarch and Painted Lady quietly feeding. 

The florets of Ironweed keep attracting butterflies into early fall. 

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' . . . though not a native . . . adds a bit of variety to the nectar palate. 

The last two of the Monarch butterflies finally decide it is time to emerge after four weeks in their chrysalises and I am able to release them out into the gardens. 
There are no other butterflies around on the chilly October day . . .  just last week  . . . as I usher them out on bracts of a native aster.

One is off! The other Monarch does later fly out into the lower field and I hope they were able to fly away further south that day for it got very cold overnight. 
And so . . . my Monarch butterfly series comes to a close . . . until another year. 
Millions are flying towards Mexico and perhaps some of the precious ones I was lucky to know will make it to the boreal forests high in the mountains beyond Mexico City. 
It was a wonderful butterfly season . . . I have a few more species to share.

Speaking of sharing . . . let me put in a plug for my latest Bestiary installment . . . you can see it at

  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.
All about the Wild Turkeys I have spied here at Flower Hill Farm. 

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