Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's like planning a party and all of your guests are late.

My regular readers will know that we have butterfly gardens out back.  Our out back is part of our 40' x 120' plot of dirt. 

It's not so big.

Still, I have planted, tended, watered in the drought (not crazy, but reasonable enough) to the point that our water bill greatly reflects that.  We've traded for plants, bought them, raised them, lost them, thought we'd love them, then had to rip some out when they were found to be invasive.  We've weeded, despite being a bit wild and woolly.  A perfectly manicured bed isn't really how I roll.  I like to have the butterflies flutter about on our little city plot in a way that might mimic what they find elsewhere.

The last few years have been tough on butterfly numbers here.  It isn't anything we've done wrong.  We still have their lovely plants and bushes, garden organically and so forth.  Weather has not been our friend.  Last year, we had flooding and I only used municipal water twice. This year, we've been in a drought.

Those are not conditions that butterflies truly love.

Last year, monarchs were so low in number that we were having difficulty finding the number we needed for the tags that were purchased.  In the end, it worked out fine and me in a cast, but we used them all.

This year, we've had little action.  Truly, we have had years when monarchs were hanging by 30 at a time on the bushes.  I saw my first monarch here just a few days ago.


But now, our guests are finally arriving.  We've had some monarchs.  We've had more tiger swallowtails.  We've had black swallowtails.  There have been silver spotted skippers and some red admirals.  The Peck's skippers have finally returned, along with our hummingbird moths.  Early in the season, we had commas and question marks-- butterflies we aren't used to seeing here.  Just a few days ago, I got photos of a spice bush swallowtail.  That is the first one we ever saw.  We also had the never-seen-here fiery skipper and Zebulon skippers.  (They were a pair that I took photos of and Hubs very tactfully said that they were "courting.")  That was certainly my guess.  He said that he has never seen that before.  Score one for me.  :)

Finally, they are starting to visit.  My camera batteries are all charged.  When I have time, I'll even be able to download all of them!

Smiles in my day:
-  Checking on K- (as I always do each night) and finding that she is actually sleeping with the pair of clearance marked (hooray) Twinkle Toes light up Skechers that I bought her for school this year.  She has wanted them for years, and finally their price was what I was willing to pay.  I did take a photo and know that will be a part of some photo collage when she graduates or gets married.  ;)

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Rach said...

Yay! I'm SO glad they're coming! I can't wait to see the photos!! :o)