Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Critters in the garden

 As you know, I have a large garden in my backyard.

 The cottage garden has a lot of variety, yet I have more of one particular type of flower than any other.

 That one flower would be ECHINACEA - CONEFLOWERS.

I absolutely adore my coneflowers. Most of mine are from seed; I collected seed and planted it years ago, and it just keeps going on and on.

 We have had a lot of goldfinch activity on the coneflower seedheads recently.
I have heard that it is good to leave the coneflowers standing over the winter, both for winter interest and for the birds to eat. However, I don't see much bird activity on these over the winter; it's NOW that they are coming to my garden to partake.

A favorite photo I took in the garden last summer

 Also in the garden - the hunter
Unfortunately, I think the two hawks I've been seeing in my gardens with some regularity are here for the small birds.  :(

 We normally see red-tailed hawks here; this bird's tail is not red. I don't know if this is a juvenile or perhaps another kind of hawk.

 Also seen in the garden

It gives me a lot of joy to see the monarchs and the monarch caterpillars in my garden. I counted fourteen caterpillars on my butterfly weed recently. I have four full-sized butterfly weeds in my gardens, plus several tiny ones (it self-sows prolifically). I also have common milkweed and swamp milkweed. This year most of the cats are on the butterfly weed.

 Speaking of butterflies, here's an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on what I find to be a butterfly magnet: Verbena bonariensis.

 There aren't too many Black Swallowtails in the garden this year - I captured this image last year.

Another photo from last summer - photo I took at the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fairgrounds
Although I have seen quite a bit of monarch activity in the gardens this year, I haven't gotten many photos at all. It takes a lot of patience to capture butterflies with a camera. :)

After almost six years of blogging, I'm losing the joy in the process. This may or may not be my last post. I don't want to be one of those bloggers who doesn't say they are stopping blogging and leave people to wonder what happened to that person...If this is it, let it be said that I stopped with a post filled with beauty. Thanks for reading.


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