Clematis Flowers Greeting You at Phipps Conservatory’s Outdoor Gardens

Clematis Flowers photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, PA Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, PA

How many of us shop in giant mega-supermarkets, with aisle after aisle of choices to select from? The natural world can be seen to resemble those super-supermarkets.

These Clematis flowers greet you at the entrance to the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory. I have spent considerable time posted there, awaiting the arrival of nectar-hungry butterflies. I have never seen a butterfly go to a Clematis flower. Colors that nearly defy description yes, but has their vividness summoned butterflies? No.

With the multitude of different flowers in bloom in the Outdoor Gardens, some, such as the Zinnias and Cone Flower, regularly host hungry fliers. Others, as our Clematis, do not receive a visitor. How does this work? What is the plan? Does Clematis bring butterflies in their native habitat? Is this yet another instance of flowers whose guests arrive at night? Have the attractive qualities of Clematis been bred into oblivion?

So it is that in the mega-stores I look down aisles that I never, never go down, with food offerings that I never shop for. We are not then that much different from a Monarch or a Red Admiral butterfly, are we?

If you are expert in this area, you are welcome to weigh in.


Did You Know that Teasel Serves as a Solitary Sentry During Winter?

Teasel Wildflowers at Raccoon Creek State Park

Correct. You don’t see any butterflies in this photograph. What you do see is a wildflower that nurtures butterflies across most of the continental United States.

This ‘weedy’ plant is now in bloom here in Pennsylvania and its siren scent draws many, many species of butterflies to its tiny pinkish flowers.

I’ve always been fascinated by why some perfectly attractive species of wildflowers draw few if any butterflies, bees and flies. By comparison other gnarly-looking wildflowers are packed with hungry fliers!

Dipsacus fullonum is not that easy on the eye, I think. It’s nectar must be hard to resist, though. From 8:30 in the morning and for the next 2 hours, teasel is heavily visited.

It’s not native to this continent, but it sure has made itself at home here, growing along roadsides and in fields.

Teasel serves as a solitary sentry during winter, prickly stem with dried flowerhead enduring the severest of frozen winter wind.

So teasel nourishes our winged beauties across there U.S….and is here to stay. Teasel.