Friday, August 2, 2013

Whites Continuing to Shimmer Throughout A Sweltering July

Bid farewell to July with a stroll through the gardens still shimmering in white . . . more mature blooms . . . some nearly fading . . . the buzz, broods, trills and furls relaxing into August along the fringe of summer. July passed with days of torrid, sultry heat. Amazingly I withstood it all and each day went about the gardens and fields, during the hottest hours, in search of butterflies, discovering new species to add to my list.

As the Bluebird couple's second brood continues to grow within the nestbox, hydrangeas swell into soft, full panicles attracting bees and butterflies alike. In the background the flowers of Japanese Tree Lilac are fading. Yucca filamentosa L. is beginning to ring its waxy bells with the other shimmering whites.

Gooseneck loosestrife Lysimachia clethroides, in the middle garden is a favorite white of many butterflies.

Aphrodite Fritillary . . .  a frequent visitor to the white patch of tapered starry panicles. 

Very unusual here to see a Little Wood Satyr sipping nectar in the gardens. They are mostly sighted skipping around low to the ground. 

Numerous sorts of Skippers are seen flying and nectaring within the gooseneck raceme. In the eight by ten feet, or so, swath of flowers, just in front of the Bluebird nestbox, there might be up to 40 or 50 tiny butterflies darting about. Comical interplay abounds.

Here a Pearl Crescent, also in some numbers, approaches a content Skipper . . . a chase follows. Butterflies can be very territorial or could this little butterfly be thinking the Skipper is one of her/his own.

Days become weeks with the stifling heat blowing open silky petals of snowy white. 

The Hydrangea paniculata 'Swan' graces the middle garden just behind the nestbox.

Large heavy snowballs fall within this old fashion favorite. 

A Cimicifuga 'Candelabra' catches the light in the upper garden.

Earlier July

End of July

'The Swan'

Among the globulous buds of Cimcifuga, a Summer Azure comes in for a landing.

Birds are going for the Viburnum berries which are spilling over into the white pom-pom-like blossoms of Hydrangea.

Tree Hydrangea inflorescence begins with a chartreuse hue. 

Looking down towards the lower garden another Hydrangea paniculata is still offering a show . . . now in full white display. 

A Greater Spangled Fritillary harvesting Hydrangea nectar.

Milkweed's bouncy, bountiful and beautifully fragrant orbs have come and gone with not one sighting of a Monarch butterfly.

A Common Whitetail dragonfly rests on the birdbath. 

Meadowsweet offers tall, white, flame-like plumes up nearer the farmhouse and studios. 

My first ever Baltimore Checkerspot! Gorgeous crescent moons and other patterns on its wings. After a champagne lunch, my dear friend and bubbly cohort, Eva, and I took a walk about the gardens and there it was, a good twenty feet away from us, just resting in an overgrown section of the north field! I will be writing about this butterfly and other unusual guests in a later piece.

For now, Happy August! The days cannot get any hotter (I hope!) but the garden colors can.

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