Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Painted Lady Irruption, etc.

I learned a new word this week, after seeing loads of painted lady butterflies in our yard.  There are some years painted lady butterflies have an irruption, where they produce lots more than usual.  (There is a more detailed description of it if you click on the link.)  The other day, I was pleased to count about 28 of them, but two days later, there were at least 48, and there were at least that many again yesterday!  My granddaughter and I saw quite a few here and at a local lake we went to today.  She was determined to catch one, but they eluded her.

I have been posting lots of photos on Facebook, but since I took more photos yesterday, I decided to do a blog post, and include some of the other critters making use of the plants.

Wild quinine continues to be one of my favorite native plants to grow.  It has a long bloom time, and draws insects all season.

The Canada goldenrod is looking great this time of year!  I am not sure how spring and summer have flown by so quickly, though, and here we are almost to the middle of September!

I don't show our yard from the west often, so thought I'd include this photo, since I took it for some reason.

Big leaf aster is one I just started growing a couple or so years ago.  It is one that likes part shade.  A tree across the street was cut down this spring, so there is not as much shade as there had been, but the plants I have around are doing well.  It has spread, but not aggressively.  I have been seeing pollinators of different kinds on the blooms.

I planted blue mistflower a couple or three years ago in both curb beds.  It has spread beyond where I had planned to allow it to, so I will have some of these to share with the local members of Gardening with Nature in Mind at our spring plant/seed share.  It sure is a nice looking plant and bloom, though! 

I am pretty sure this is tall tickseed.  It is on the east side of the house.

It was the sweet black eyed susans I first saw quite a few painted ladies on, and caused me to look around the yard more.  I hadn't yet heard this was a widespread occurrence yet.

Here is a closer view with another visitor, some kind of bee.

I think it is normally fall when I see this kind of bee.  It is larger than other bumblebees I see.  The pitcher sage plants are adding a nice blue to all of the yellow in the yard.  One of the plants has white blooms, though.  It is drawing pollinators as well as the blue ones.

Liatris aspera, one of my favorites, is looking good with the penstemon seeds.

This skipper was just on the purple bloom of verbena bonariensis, one of the non-natives I continue to grow because the pollinators are frequently on them.  Actually, it is a self sowing annual here, so they take care of themselves.

The stiff goldenrod blooms are drawing lots of visitors.  I usually see a number at a time on this clump.

I am finally starting to see some spiders the last few days. The other day, I was in awe as I watched an orb spider of some kind take its web down.  This is one of the sweet black eyed susan plants.

Kiss me over the garden gate is another non-native self sowing heirloom annual.  It gets six or more feet tall.  This one had lots of leaf damage from the June beetles late spring or early summer, but that hasn't stopped it from blooming and looking splendid now.

Here is another photo of the stiff, also called rigid goldenrod.  Some of the plants actually flop in my yard.  I've heard they do that in gardens.  I recently found out the rigid actually refers to the blooms and not the plants.

Riddell's goldenrod is not as tall as some of the other goldenrods, and is a bit more upright.  I have not been seeing as many monarchs as usual this fall.  I hope they show up soon, and haven't skipped me because I didn't get any Mexican sunflowers planted, and there are no Liatris ligulistylis blooming.  The plants I bought didn't grow much this season.  I hope they do, and bloom next year!

The Joe Pye plants are about finished blooming, but still have some insect visitors.

I believe this is Boltonia asteroides 'snowbank'.

I am glad to be seeing a few eastern tailed blue butterflies.

Oh, my goodness, if you can only grow one native plant, short toothed mountain mint draws numerous pollinators all summer and into fall!  Can you see all five painted ladies?  The foliage of the Amsonia hubrichtii, on the left will soon be turning gold.

Here is a painted lady on a verbena bonariensis, with the yellow of brown eyed susans in the background.

Here is another photo of big leaf aster blooms, this time with a bee visitor.  I love those pollen sacs!

Zig zag goldenrod is one that prefers part shade.   This is the east side of the house.  I love seeing bees and butterflies "sharing".

These last two photos did not appear the first time I uploaded photos, so I added them at the end.  Because of that, these words are showing up centered, and I don't remember how to fix that.  I am seeing a number of cabbage whites and sulphurs on different kinds of flowers.

I hope all is well with the people I have met through blogging over the years.  I have not kept up with blog visiting now that I seem to be addicted to Facebook.  I need to choose a day once in awhile where I visit blogs.


  1. Your gardens are just looking incredible, Sue. I know I keep saying that, but it seems like each time you post photos, they just look better and better.

    By the way, the large "bumblebee" you referenced above, with the shiny abdomen, is a carpenter bee.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful images, Sue! I think the irruption with the Painted Ladies is mainly west of the Mississippi River. I've seen a few, but not like the numbers folks in MN, IA, NE, and KS are seeing. We have, however, had an amazing year with Monarchs here in Wisconsin. I'm not seeing as many lately, but through most of the summer, I saw at least one or two per day. I rescued about 85 Monarch eggs and caterpillars from my garden, and that doesn't include all the ones I left in the garden. Several day trips to other Wisconsin regions revealed large populations throughout the state. I hope you'll see lots of them traveling through soon, and I hope they'll have a good winter in Mexico!

    1. I have been seeing one or two monarchs most days over the last few weeks, but in other years, there have been a lot getting ready to fly south.

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts and looking at the pic's of your flower garden with it's assorted insect visitors. Thanks for taking the time to share. It's appreciated.

  4. I always love seeing your flowers with all the different pollinators. The pictures are wonderful as always.

    Hard to believe fall is almost here!


I welcome comments and questions from anyone, including those who do it anonymously. Some people find my posts by doing searches, and I like hearing from them. I guess spammers won't even read this message, but I will delete spam as soon as I see it.