When I lived in England, I was always accustomed to seeing butterflies floating about the garden in June, July and August.
In fact I remember earlier this year, being rather despondent at the lack of butterflies in the garden.
I should have remembered that our prime butterfly month is October, and often in to November and beyond.
The garden was ready for them too -- the Vitex, which has bloomed only sporadically all summer, now has quite a few lovely sprays of booms on it. Just in time to feed this hungry visitor.
We still have some blooms on the tropical milkweed too, but in most cases, the leaves have been eaten by voracious caterpillars.
This photo was actually taken several days ago. When I went back out to see how he was doing, there was no sign of him. Then later in the day, I sat down on the patio and noticed this underneath the small table on the patio.
Is it him? I'll never know, but I'm looking forward to keeping a close eye on it while it goes through its transformation.
And elsewhere around the garden, the milkweed is making preparations for next year.
The brush pile in the utility corner was getting out of hand, so I knew I first needed to tackle the compost bin, which has been more or less ignored most of the year, with the exception of the occasional "stir".
I wasn't sure how much, if any, good compost we would have but was very pleasantly surprised to find the bottom half of the bin filled with dark, moist, rich compost.
I dug out several inches worth and added it to the vegetable beds, in readiness for next year. Then I got out the "Yard Butler" and mixed up what remained in there and encouraged it to move down ground level to replace what I had just removed.
This provided a few inches of space at the top, so I was able to spend a happy afternoon using our chipper/shredder to shred spent annuals, shrub and tree trimmings and leaves.
There is still some work to be done on the brush pile (while still leaving some to shelter the local wildlife) but it's been steadily raining all day today, so I won't be shredding anything until it dries out.
Maybe next week....
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.