Saturday, September 15, 2018

Butterflies Are Free

For years we have cultivated plants that attract butterflies.  This year we have been rewarded with Monarch sightings on a daily basis.  Now though, when the milkweed has gone to seed, it is the late nectar-producing flowers that lure butterflies into the garden.

Clara Curtis Chrysanthemums, Pink New England Asters and Brown-eyed Susans all provide food for butterflies.  I wanted to snap a picture a Milbert's Tortise Shell on the mums, but it was too fast for me. Yes there is orange in the upper left of this picture and it is some kind of butterfly, but it is not the shot I was hoping to get!!

Persistence pays!  I chased this butterfly from flower to flower and finally got a half-winged picture of that speedy Milbert's Tortoise Shell.  With the dry weather we have had, the leaves on the sunflowers make kind of an ugly background.  They are left there so that the soon-to-leave goldfinches and the newly arrived Black-capped Chickadees have sunflower seeds to eat.

With just a little cropping, I got my picture.  This butterfly is a real jewel!  It is the patch of stinging nettles relished by the caterpillars of this beauty that attract it to the garden.  Like us, this butterfly stays put when cold weather comes and may be seen in the garden on warm days long after the Monarchs have gone!  Butterflies in our garden are free  to come and go as they please.


Beth at PlantPostings said...

That is a beautiful butterfly! You mentioned that the goldfinches leave and the chickadees arrive. Don't you have them both year-round? We do. The bird that I don't want to see for a while is the one that only winters here--the junco. ;-)

Becky said...

The goldfinches leave but the chickadees stay. We have Juncos here in the winter, but they have not yet arrived. There are Bald eagles here all winter and lots of hawks will stop by on their way South.