The Grand Central Station Wildflower

Large Clump of Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Official? Not yet, but Butterflyweed certainly ought to be the official Grand Central Station wildflower. For those 37 or so years that I lived in my native New York City, Grand Central Station, in the heart of New York, New York (Manhattan) was a building, whose cavernous main hall was, well, breathtaking! Huge beyond the meaning of the term, you knew it was heavily ornate, but by the time I moved from Long Island, much of its beauty was either covered over, or covered with decades of grime. People by the thousands hustled and bustled and ran to catch trains. It’s been rejuvenated since I left, cleaned and restored.

Butterflyweed is the wildflower parallel. Gorgeous when it’s in bloom, as it is here in Doak field last year, late June, at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s the kind of plant that flourishes one year, and is nearly absent the next.

Here in western Pennsylvania, or in Angela’s Adams County, Ohio, or in Barbara Ann’s far western New York or in Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, they light up meadow or a garden. My own experience with them, irregardless of where I’ve seen them, is that they. like Grand Central Station, remain unvisited, until sometime around 9:45 A.M.-ish, butterflies and bees appear, without apparent signal, and the butterflyweed is mobbed by flying animals: butterflies, bees, wasps & flies. Twenty five minutes later, all visitors have left, and the flowerheads are quiet again.

This is the very best place to find Coral Hairstreak butterflies, those tiny winged beauties that like young starlets or young models or aspiring Amherst grads, arrive at Grand Central Station shortly before 9:00 A.M., and. within minutes are all gone, off to wherever.

Butterflyweed is an Asclepias (Milkweed) and Monarch caterpillar thrive on it!

Consider it for that sunny, slightly moist spot in your natives beds.

Jeff

Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson And . . . The Garden I Said Goodbye To In ’12

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .

Success

To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because…

View original post 66 more words

Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .

Success

To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because you have lived –
. . . That is to succeed . . .

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This perennial garden that I loved brought butterflies from great distances, nurtured scores of butterflies, bees, moths and ruby-throateds, the latter coming every hour on the hour. It brought joy to family, though concealed from the world, as it grew behind the house, and remained unknown to most.

Jeff

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red admiral butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Ah Vanessa! Dorsal (above) photographs are elusive because Vanessa atalanta is difficult to approach. Ventral (below) photographs are even tougher to obtain. And when you are fortunate enough to get a couple, they usually disappoint.

Why? Because the underside of Vanessa’s wings are especially beautiful and truth be told, difficult to score a really fine image.

Our Red Admiral here is nectaring on milkweed flowers (Asclepias) and those of you who did not settle, can enjoy the rich canvas here with its reds, blues, browns, tans, white, black and washes, swirls, circles, etc.

Captured on June 27th at Raccoon Creek State Park in Southwestern Pennsylvania, milkweed is the Giant Eagle/ Kroger’s/Giant/Piggly Wiggly/Lions/Albertson’s/Big Y of wildflowers. It feeds legions of butterflies, bees, flies, beetles, and on and on.

Our 3rd post of Red Admirals reminds us of how much we enjoy this species. When you’re out there seeking butterflies and getting skunked suddenly like Troy Polamalu there’s a blurrrr and it’s a Red Admiral. Fresh, proud and impatient.

Jeffrey

Orange Sulphur Butterfly

Orange sulfur Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow a Raccoon Creek State Park, PA. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

One of the most difficult of the Eastern U.S. butterflies to photograph (macro-) this Colias eurytheme. Most of the time we cannot tippy-toe up to them–they speed away once you are 10 feet away from them. Their escape flight is usually just 2 feet above the ground and generally to a landing 40 feet away!

This one though is at the juice bar, sipping at Red Clover (Trifolium pratense). Red Clover must be especially tasty. It’s visited by such a variety of butterflies and bees. While this Orange Sulphur butterfly was feeding at Raccoon Creek State Park in September, our very careful approach was tolerated.

Funny about things . . . Orange sulphurs migrated eastward from western states in the 1920’s and red clover was an alien wildflower, introduced from Europe. Neither were found east of the Mississippi when George Washington became our first President.

During this past winter, which carried this species through to Spring? Adult, Larva or Pupa or Egg?

Jeffrey