Sights of Summer

Another summer is winding down.
My awesome peach crop was eaten but not by us.  We were able to pick quite a few but something ate the rest (probably birds and squirrels) leaving us these reminders that we are not the only ones on the farm that like peaches.
peaches peach pit
Both pecan trees have pecans this year.
I’ve waited since 2001 (when I planted these trees) for this day.  Last year, I had a grand total of three pecans on one tree and something got those when I wasn’t looking.  I’m sure these will ripen while we are on vacation in a few weeks, but I am open to any and all suggestions on how I can keep animals away.
Every year, certain flowers never fail to disappoint while others just surprise the heck out of me.  The old standby for me is Asclepias tuberosa or milkweed which I rave about all the time.
asclepias tuberosa milkweedMilkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly and I started seeing caterpillars the end of July which is about 2 weeks earlier than I usually see them.
asclepias milkweed asclepias milkweed monarch caterpillar
monarch caterpillar monarch caterpillar
This year, I let my granddaughter take a monarch chrysalis to her house.  She had to wait a whole week before it hatched, but when it did she was super excited.
hallie and butterfly hallie and butterfly3 hallie and butterfly2Nature is so amazing and I hope she learns to love it as much as I do.
Another of our favorite caterpillars to find is the swallowtail. Last year, the rue was covered with them.  This year, I haven’t seen one on the rue but the spicebush trees are full of them.
A sure sign of a spicebush caterpillar is this spicebush caterpillar
The caterpillar secretes a sticky substance
spicebush caterpillarin order to turn the leaf over on itself to hide from predators.  You can see the eaten part of the leaf just above the white stickiness.  The same leaf provides food as well as protection.  Sometimes you open a leaf to find nothing, but other times you find this
spicebush caterpillarThis one is a good size and will probably make its chrysalis very soon.
This guy was out in the open when I saw it
spicebush caterpillarand probably on its way to finding a place to pupate.  Most caterpillars don’t make their chrysalis on their host plant.  I found an empty swallowtail chrysalis last week on the window of my back porch.  To get to this location, the caterpillar had to scale a six-foot brick wall, round the corner, and climb another four feet to the window.  Looks to me like it would be easier to stay close to home, but I’m not in charge of nature.
One flower that has surprised me this year is a volunteer, old-fashioned petunia that popped up in my little greenhouse.  It is Huge.  The greenhouse leaks a little so it’s gotten some rain, but for the most part it’s been left to fend for itself.  I definitely need to collect some seed from this tough plant.
old fashioned petunia in greenhouse
Other bloomers that are doing well are the zinnias.  It took a while for them to get their groove, but once they did, they did big time.
zinnia zinnia zinnia zinnia
Here are some more of my favorites

purple coneflower
Echinacea purpura or purple coneflower
coleus and begonias
Another coleus
hosta flower
Hosta flowers
Sunflower forming
caladium and geranium
Caladium and geraniums. Not usually two that go together but seem to be working. Caladiums are a shade plant and geraniums a sun plant.
allium cernum ?
Allium cernum
Mexican sunflower is a great late summer plant and is loved by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Mexican sunflower is a great late summer plant and loved by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
I recently found some fans of my garden.  They were really cool.  Ha.
marigolds and fans
And last, but not least, my favorite sight (for any season) when I come home from my job in the busy city.
house backyard view
Home, Sweet Home
sunflower emoji