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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bring on the Butterflies and Planning for Next Year

 Ahhh, my favorite time of year.  I know I say that a lot, but it's true!  We get a little respite from the blistering heat of summer and it seems like the garden sighs with relief too.

Much of the zinnia that self-seeded throughout the islands beds is on its way out now, but this patch is still vibrant, and getting lots of attention from butterflies and bees.  I've been busy collecting seeds for next year :-)

It took me a while to get this photo of a gulf fritillary nectaring on the zinnia.  He seemed to be overwhelmed by choice and kept flitting from bloom to bloom before I could focus on him.  Finally he settled down and I was able to get some good shots.

This is the first Buckeye I have seen this year, so I was pleased to be able to watch him for a while and get some photos.  I don't know if it's just my imagination, but it seems like we've had more of them, and earlier in the year in previous years.

I had planted native milkweed roots earlier in the year and some of them came up quite quickly.  But for some reason, they didn't thrive.  Not sure if it was because of too much competition from the zinnias, not enough water, too much water, or what, but only one of them made it, and I wouldn't exactly say that one is thriving.  Luckily, we still have lots of tropical milkweed, as this Monarch butterfly discovered.

Sorry about the bad quality of this photo of what I think is a Pipevine Swallowtail, but the photo was taken through the blinds and a rather grubby bedroom window, zoomed in across the garden to the Vitex tree. This is the first of these I have seen this year.

I haven't seen a hummingbird here at the house since last weekend, but was thrilled to be able to capture this photo of a female ruby-throat at Kleb Woods before they all head south.   

I suppose it won't be too much longer before I will be cleaning up in the garden, pulling out the spent plants and prepping the beds for next year.

I've looked back on the successes (and failures) from this year and am making plans for next year.

Our garden always seems to be dominated by orange, red and yellow, so I definitely want to add some more variety next year - more whites, blues, purples and pinks to offset all the orange.

I made a start the other week by ordering some seeds from Park -- Achillea Summer Berries, Cleome Queen (mix) and Agastache. And just this morning I spent a pleasant hour browsing through the Native American Seed catalog and trying to narrow down my list!

What plans do you have for your garden next year?

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Dorothy Borders said...

Lovely pictures. Those zinnias really pop and they really are butterfly magnets, aren't they? Happy autumn! It's my favorite time for gardening.

Rock rose said...

What a wonderful variety of butterflies you have. The only time I saw a buckeye was when I planted a snapdragon vine. Do you have Greg's Mistflower. The Queens and Mpnarchs love that plant.

Jayne said...

Hi Dorothy -- I'm not working at the moment, so I'm taking full advantage to spend time in the garden. Much better than trying to do that in July or August!

Jayne said...

Hi Rock Rose, I don't have any Mistflower at the moment, although I've had it in the past. I will add it to my list for next year :-)

Diana said...

What great photos, Jayne. You must have been very patient to get them all. I love zinnias, too, and will be saving my seeds as well. The orange narrow leaf zinnias that I like aren’t available in nurseries here until well into the warm weather, so I think I will just take them into my own hands. And I’m not ready to stop with this year yet, so planning will have to wait until it’s a least not 85-90 degrees!

Jayne said...

Thank you Diana. I agree, most of the actual work of planning for next year will wait. For now, I'm "armchair gardening" and browsing through catalogs :-)