Thursday, July 10, 2014
Monarch Butterfly Seen
While securing tomatoes to their poles today, a flash of large orange and black caught my eye. A tattered and tired looking female butterfly was in the garden very close to me. Not being new to this, I decided to enjoy seeing the first monarch of the year and did not even try for a photo. She was in front of me long enough to make a positive identification possible but was gone in the time needed to get the camera. She had flown over our sizable milkweed patch before dropping down into the garden. Milkweed is needed only when eggs are being deposited while she can feed on any flower. A male monarch must be found before she needs the milkweed.
Day lily, Spiritual Corridor opened its first flower today. The combination of contrasting colors and wrinkled petal edges makes it hard to believe that this is a living flower. Add in a subtle but sweet scent and the total package is impressively complete. This one has been with us long enough to be a candidate for division next spring.
Becky Lynn has a tough time getting started here this year. Nearly all of its early growth yellowed possibly in response to our bitter weather. We removed all of the dead foliage with scant hopes for its survival. Survive it did and even produced flowers. This one has no scent but sharing a name with the lady of the garden made it a must have variety. Less hardy than our other day lilies, we should move this one out of our frost river and plant it in a more protected location.
Organdy Eve was a free gift to us that brought along with it a horrid weed. Diligent deep weeding over three years appears to have eliminated the sedge. Resetting the day lilies was required following each weeding session. A sweet smell and complicated petal structure makes this variety a keeper well worth the effort needed to save it.
This was another great day in the garden. Seeing the first monarch was a genuine thrill. There is no question about the danger of imminent extinction for this butterfly. We allow acres of milkweed to grow here. One plot has been kept mowed until now so that fresh leaves will be available for later eggs and caterpillars. For now we will continue to watch and to hope.