Sights of Summer

Another summer is winding down.

peaches

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.

pecans

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

coleus and begonias

coleus

Another coleus

hosta flower

Hosta flowers

sunflower

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

Brenda

sunflower emoji

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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6 Responses to Sights of Summer

  1. oh wow Brenda… everything looks great! I would think of netting over the pecans, but that would be a lot of netting. Love the fans and that cute little granddaughter!!

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  2. Dawn says:

    Isn’t nature amazing? What fun to peek into your beautiful garden today, Brenda! I’ve never seen pecans growing before. It’s so great to see all of the Monarch caterpillars on your milkweed plants. Your granddaughter will always remember her butterfly experience! It’s so wonderful that you are growing beautiful flowers and nurturing new nature lovers. What a green thumb you have, Brenda! Happy weekend in your gorgeous part of the country! ♡

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  3. I am a fellow lover of milkweed. Great seeing all your caterpillars. I don’t see any, but I think there must be some Monarch cats. These days there are always 2-3 Monarchs flying around the garden, and I think I must have the biggest concentration of milkweed to be found for some distance. As for swallowtails, I continue to be highly frustrated. No cats on the parsley, fennel, or dill. No cats on the spicebush, though maybe I’ll make another inspection. And now I have a Dutchman’s Pipe Vine so it can be ignored by another species of swallowtail.

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    • If you have that many monarchs, you must have some cats somewhere. You probably already know this but the eggs will be on the underside of the leaves. As far as the swallowtails, I can’t imagine no cats yet. One thing I thought about in my garden, was I encourage lots of beneficial insects and birds in my garden and cats are yummy for both. I may not be right but I saw a bird and praying mantis eating a butterfly the other day. Nature at work. Anyway, I hope you get a chance to experience a monarch cat in your garden. It’s pretty cool!

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  4. I was hoping you’d get some comments on what to do about fruit-raiding wildlife. Enjoyed all your photos. Are the fans permanent installations?

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