Don’t we occasionally need to be reminded how fortunate we are? I had one of those epiphanies that morning when I entered that meadow in the Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.
Look and see what I saw. A trio of totally fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, enjoying the rich nectar of just as fresh Butterflyweed blooms. Three gorgeous hairstreaks, they only yards away from the forest border and their hostplants there, Bear Oaks.
I shot away, copping this image, me the entire time thinking: How happy I was at that time, counting myself among the fortunate. There are perhaps 193,509,227 people living east of the Mississippi River. How many of them have ever seen this, as I did, in that meadow, just a handful of miles form the Kentucky border?
I imagine that you have yours, for I know that I have some myself. These decades of searching for butterflies in North America and the Middle East (Israel) have produced a very short list of butterflies that I especially love.
Here at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coast, my imagination was caught by this native Sumac bush. It grew within. a foot or two of Woody Pond. That pond is the home of herons, storks, ibises, rails, egrets and alligators. Ellen Honeycutt has written of the Sumacs native to Georgia, and this Brooklyn boy was fascinated, Fascinated because 1/2 of my adult life, spent in and around New York City, I’d always heard that Sumacs (alien) didn’t belong, despite that there were 10’s of millions of alien Sumacs thriving thereabouts.
As I was examining this Woody Pond Sumac, it just beginning to bloom, who flies in? One of my butterfly favs, this Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus). The Sumac kept it in partial shade, but the deep, rich color of this Viceroy was compelling, and there I was admiring a handsome specimen of one of my favorites, most beloved butterflies.
Decades of Love triggered, at Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
You too? So many of us have warm, fond memories of gardens we established . . . and later moved away from. Memories of trillions of hearty blooms, eye pleasing designs, butterflies, bees, Ruby throated hummingbirds and more. A rose garden that my wife Frieda A”H ( OBM ) loved, for we chose herirloom roses that really were old-fashioned aromatic. Moments spent on the Victorian granite bench, oblivious to the world about, just together.
Beebalm, Shasta daisy, irises, many different salvia, oak leaf hydrangea, and so much more. A crazy beautiful back garden, much hidden from the rest of the neighborhood’s view, or from the world.
This garden, done before I became enamored of Doug Tallamy’s plant natives thinking, was in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (northeastern USA). Those butterflies must have come to us, daily, from quite a distance, drawn by the sweet aroma of our nectar pumping flower beds.
I sort of like sharing this post with you, for the memories of a real, successful garden warm you, much.
We’re in Georgia now, gardening from the first week in February 2019 all the way to the last week in November? Gardening on my Jeffrey’s Birthday, November 28th?? This year, 2019, my Birthday falls on . . . Thanksgiving Day.
The prospect of gardening on Thanksgiving Day boggles my mind. It does. In Brooklyn, Queens, New York (Manhattan), Long Island and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the last week of gardening (I love to garden!) was usually the first week in September. Living in Middle Georgia has added +/- some 5 months of gardening to my life. Five months. That’s 5 months of seeing butterflies. I love that prospect, and Georgia so brings a smile to my face, Virginia, Ellen, Debi, Katy, Laura, Rabbi Aaron, Laura I., Rose, Kelly, Pandra, Sylbie, Brian, Stephen and Barbara Ann.
These memories, as this Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Pickerelweed in Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, do necessitate a modicum of maturity, for once Pickerelweed finishes producing its gorgeous pond-side blooms, we’ve got to wait a full year to again enjoy such eye-soothing sights as this one here. (Yes we were in ankle deep pond, and yes we urged G-d to keep any Gators away from us, while we shot away!).
We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?
By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.
Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?