Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Garden Facts Of Life

You take the good, you take the bad...it's the garden facts of life!

Checkered Silverspot....see the white 'circles' outlined in black ...that's what makes this a Silverspot and not a Pearl Crescent

Butterflies are still noticeably absent from the garden. ... Last year the first swallowtail showed up around July 14. I was incredibly excited to see her flitting about the garden, stopping here and there and finally alighting on the summer phloxes. Go here to see the full story! I can't wait for them to arrive!

Even though the garden is light on butterflies, there is plenty of good in the garden...Little critters that pollinate as they go about their daily life are abundant!

The solitary bees are wonderful and often can be found sleeping on flowers in the early mornings.

It's so amazing that another universe exists were dramas play out day after day~~

Take this beautiful Pandorus Sphinx Moth. I was so pleased to have him pose prettily until I realized he was dead....I've never seen them before, but it is a handsome moth. It's preferred food is Vitus/grape vines and Parthenocissus/Virginia Creeper. Clay and Limestone has plenty of both vines and surely I can find a caterpillar hiding among the leaves. Sphinx moths are critters that are seen at dusk; that's when they call out/release pheromones to find a mate.

Bless the bees. Don't they make you smile! Just look at the shimmering orange of the Butterfly Weed through the wings. Non gardeners wonder how we can spend hours weeding and working in the heat and buggy mess! Would you want to miss out on what we see when we get up close and personal with the bees and other critters? I didn't think so!

ou take the bad, too!
The Sawflies were eating the Kopper King hibiscus leaves, turning them into lace...You're gone for a few days and the bad guys take over! But they are easily dispatched with a gloved hand! ...

Is this a good bug or a bad bug?
Either way, he is certainly interesting looking!

You take the good, you take the bad...it's a fact of gardening life.

Unfortunately injury, is, too.
A tattered beauty

What started out as a slightly uncomfortable feeling in my wrist and thumb has erupted into a more uncomfortable tendonitis that makes typing and gardening tough to do! So, I've come home from a splendid trip and need to rest my wrist!

But, I'll be back!

There are so many things to show you...flowers in the garden
Peachies' Pick stokesia with a friend

The trip to providence, RI!

Jacob Cline through the window at Ledge and Garden

After all, you can't keep a gardenblogger down when

The Susans begin to bloom!

I can't wait to visit with you all again and hear about what you've been doing!



  1. What a great post. You captured the critters very nicely. Sorry about your wrist. I recenty had to have a shot in my elbow for the same thing...

  2. Glad to hear you made it home safe if not so sound. Hope your wrist feels better soon so we can see and read all about your RI trip.

  3. Welcome back! Sorry to hear about your wrist. The sphinx moth is very cool looking even if it has passed away. I suspect that your unidentified bug is an assassin bug. One of the older stages but not quite adult. It's good and bad. Good because it eats other bugs, bad because it's bite can hurt you! My best advice is to let them be!

  4. How did that injury happen? You should have been resting on vacation! I so enjoyed your visit. Will post as soon as I can conquer the computer issues. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. Oh, Gail, the bad and the good for sure. So sorry to hear of your wrist problems. The captures of the critters today are warming my heart. I have come to absolutely LOVE the slightest sound of buzzing and flying and tweeting and I'm getting lots of it this week from another perspective... the front lawn. Not a place I usually spend too much time.

    That moth is stunning... and the fuzz on the bees spectacular.

    And ... the Susans are blooming... Yay.

    On a sad note... the ones I planted in March are STILL not blooming here. Maybe too wet with all the rain? Or possibly not enough sun? I was surely hoping I'd get a few blooms.

    Oh well, the bad with the good...as a wise gardener just reminded me.

  6. Welcome back dear friend, we missed you. So sorry about your wrist, such an injury certainly affects computer work, even those who hunt and peck. Just Don speaking after his hackles were pricked by the checkerspot not pearl crescent remark! HA We too await the butterflies, and more delightful photos from your garden and your travels.

  7. Hi Gail, nice to have you back. Your garden is looking lovely.

    The other day a lady asked me what to plant in her garden that would not attract bees. Seems she hates them. I had to admit I don't know;)

    When I find a dead moth or butterfly I bring it inside and put under a glass cloche with dried flowers. I love stuff like that.

  8. That's the right attitude, what more can you do? Hopefully there is more good than bad though! Have a great time in Providence, by the ocean!!

  9. Don, I ought to have known better! Gail

  10. The good and the bad, how true! I hope your wrist recovers soon, and I look forward to seeing more Susans!

  11. Oh no, I am sorry to hear about your wrist! I hope you feel better soon.

    Lovely, lovely pictures. One of my favorites is the skipper with the Stoke's Aster.

  12. Hi Gail, Hope your wrist mends quickly. We miss you when you're gone (and doesn't the Garden miss you, too???) ;-) Have a great weekend.

  13. Sorry about your hand injury. Try to give it a bit of a rest. (I know how hard that is.) Your late Sphinx Moth is lovely, if a little creepy. I love all your bee photos. I haven't been able to get any good shots of them this year so far, but then the Coneflowers haven't come into bloom yet. That's their favorite place to spend the night when they're away from home.

  14. I'm so glad you're back - I was beginning to worry. Lucky you to visit Ledge and Gardens. I can't wait to hear about it. We'll be visiting Maine soon, and I'm wondering what kinds of gardens we'll see there. I hope your hand is better - I know that is no fun if it keeps you out of the garden.

  15. Welcome back! That moth is really something. I wouldn't have realized it was dead it's so beautiful. I just got back from Jackson Summer Celebration. And guess what I got in your honor? Yup, Tennessee cone flower. Now hopefully I can make it live. If not it's headed your way:) Take it easy, unpack and relax now!

  16. Gail,welcome home!
    It looks like your garden had many sweet blooms for you to come home to. Loved your words today, "It's so amazing that another universe exists were dramas play out day after day~~", they made me stop and smile.
    I hope your wrists will soon be feeling better (so you can get back out to your garden)...I have the same issues when I garden too much or do too much in the ceramic room.
    That moth is really interesting looking...I never would have guessed it were dead.

  17. Welcome home! Yeah the Susans are blooming, Ive been waiting. :) Where are the butterflies? It seems bloggers from all over are complaining about the lack of them this year.

    You are right about non gardeners. I suspect they think we're a little soft in the head to be out there in the heat and bugs. Oh and the dirt.

    Hope you get better soon, so we can hear about your trip.

  18. Welcome back, Gail! Did you get to visit Layanee while you were in RI? Can't wait to hear all about your trip! It's so true about the good and the bad in the garden. I had just been thinking that the Japanese beetles weren't that bad this year when I looked on my roses today, and they were thick as thieves:( Apparently, the whole family hadn't arrived yet.
    I've certainly noticed the lack of butterflies this year; I just hope they're late in arriving, too. But do I have the bees!

    I hope your wrist feels better soon so you can get back into the garden.

  19. I just love your Coal. My Jack is inside most of the day but on the really nice days I let him play in the garden with the rest of the kitties.

    Your bug entry is super creative. I still need to work on my photography skills when it comes to bugs. I always seem to have the wrong lens on!

    Happy Summer Dear friend in the garden.

  20. Sorry to hear about your wrists... I may be having similar issues. The edge of the desk 'cuts' into my wrists. Sure love the Sphinx Moth--great shot!!
    Rest up and come back strong!

  21. I wondered where you were ~ I was just thinking I should go back and read your last post because maybe I missed something. Then here you are. Sorry to hear about your wrist but can't wait to see pics and hear about your trip. So many good things in your garden we can overlook the bad, right? We are short on butterflies here too. I have one swallowtail that circles my garden all by his lonesome and I wish someone would come join him. Did you know I bought some of the stokesia because of you?? It's beautiful and I'm so glad to have it. A speedy recovery to you.

  22. Supergreat post!!!!
    Love your photos of al the bugs!!!

  23. It has to be you, Gail, who can right so pleasantly about critters! You're absolutely right, they are part of it all. So many lovely flowers and pics – a real treat, thanks!

  24. Gail girl ... I suffer from that tendonitus (spell check is remarkably ABSENT on hubby's computer here) .. in any case you need to rest that hand and put your wrist support on !
    You have so many interesting creatures in your garden : )
    I love the bee balm you have it looks gorgeous and I know the smell is wonderful .. powdery mildew is a problem in my garden so I had to cute back to Petite Delight .. We both have the butterfly weed in bloom at the same time .. now that is remarkable since your cone flowers are way ahead of mine still .. oh well, lots to look forward to !
    Great post girl ; )

  25. Gail, we got our first butterflies this week. A couple of skippers showed up and one other butterfly that was gone to quickly for me to identify.--Randy

  26. Hi Gail - sorry it's been a while but am at home feeling a bit off colour today so a chance to catch up on my fav blogs! Do hope your wrist is improving - anything which stops us gardening is not good news - I know as I suffered with herniated discs for a while :-( . Some truly gorgeous photos of your garden and I'd agree on your comment on butterflies - we've not had quite as many as usual and not sure why that is either.. take care Miranda

  27. Ouch, hope you heal soon. I was going to identify your assassin bug, but Dave beat me to it. And I'd love to be able to identify the little Skipper on the Stokesia, but I still despair of ever learning the Skippers. Maybe a Sachem?

    Butterflies seem scarce here too so far this year, but I hope they'll turn up when/if the sun comes out.

  28. Really enjoyed these photos - especially the sphinx moth. I've never seen one of those before! What a specimen. Also love the caterpillar 'in action' on the munched-on leaf!

  29. Sorry to hear about your wrist. But great photos. Anyone who can capture bugs and buds on film has my admiration.

  30. Gail Thanks for posting on my blog about Ticks. really it is meant to be a gardening blog but I felt I needed to get that off my chest.
    I would so like a journalist in UK to do a sensible article on Lyme Disease but they never do.

    I loved your photography of flowers so will be back to see more.

  31. A beautiful post full of all the wonderful creatures that share your space....
    I always feel slightly sad when I see a tattered butterfly....don't ask me why....I just do....

    I do hope rest will make your injury heal more quickly and that you really enjoyed your trip......

  32. Beautiful photos! Sorry about your wrist. I get that too and it's a pain.

    Just today I noticed a lot of butterflies in the garden. Seems like they took a little vacation for a few weeks. I hope they are back for good. Love to watch them.

  33. You're quite right Gail, critters are important too! But I wish the bad ones, who eat my plants, would go to the nearby forest or something - but bees and butterflies and the nice ones are more than welcome to stay!
    I hope your wrist will get better real soon!

  34. Hey Gail, I haven't been seeing many butterflies in my garden either. Of course, that could be because of little or no blooms!

    That moth is a beauty. Too bad he was a goner.

  35. Aw, Gail, I'm sorry to hear about your wrist problems. :-(

    Loved this post! Lots of critters in our gardens, too. Those solitary bees sleeping always crack me up. Mine aren't so solitary - they sleep in clusters on the Miscanthus leaves every night!

    I have 'Peachie's Pick' Stokesia, too, and it's just now getting ready to bloom. It's not nearly as strong of a grower as my other Stokesia. Of course it gets a lot of shade. Could that be why?

    Sorry to hear you can't make a trip north, but know that our home is always open to you, if you find you can come sometime! :-)

  36. Hi Gail! This post is very therapeutic and I mean not only the garden. Thank you so much! I hope you feel better! Maybe, this time is given to you for thinking, reading,... you know.

  37. Hi Gail - glad you got to go away but sorry you came back to not-so-nice weather!

    Have you seen today's Garden Rant post on the National Flower? They're talking about your Susans!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  38. Viewing your lovely garden and interesting insect life has been delightful, Gail (makes me lonesome for my garden that will be crying for attention when I return). Sorry to hear of your tendonitis ... I know how painful it can be ... rest and read :)

  39. i have that same little critter that is so odd looking i haven't looked him up yet...so i don't know whether is is good or bad. lovely pictures of what life you have going on in your garden. i love seeing all the bugs but like you am waiting for some more butterflies. i will love it when they are flitting all around.
    i hope you get over your tedonitious soon...that is just no fun.
    happy summer weekend.

  40. Beautiful images there!!

    I hope you're on the mend!!

    Ryan (http://ryans-garden.blogspot.com/)

  41. We have a shortage of butterflies also. The critters are a good sign and nice to see. Sorry but that Pandorus Sphinx Moth freaks me out.

  42. Definitely the wrist is the bad. But the flowers are the good. Lovely shots, of beautiful flowers.

    Glad that you enjoyed the post. I had such a good time, I only wish that Rose could have known what was going on. But at least she got some sunshine.


  43. Loved you post Gail. The flowers are superb.
    I'm glad you're back. I hope you enjoyed your travels.
    That nasty visitor you have sure is annoying & he seems to hang around till he outstays his annoyance. I had it in my elbows, thumbs & now in my shoulder {if it can be there}. I think being thrown out of wheel chair hasn't helped.
    Do take care, this thing can't be rushed. I learned the hard way.

  44. So sorry about the tendonitis in your wrist Gail. I can sure empathize with dealing with that particular challenge. Ouch.

  45. Sorry to hear about your wrists Gail. My husband suffers from that in both of his & it really makes his job a challenge at times. Nature really has it's good & bad aspects. It takes both to create true harmony I guess. :)

  46. Where are th monarchs!!?? We saw our first one this week, and I think he lives nearby and stops by aroudn dinnertime each day. No action at all. And I hope the swallowtails get here soon, too--it's just all bumblebess all the time... even the spring honeybees are absent, likely killed by nearby corn spraying. Your trip to RI looked wonderful! Lucky to evade the blood suckers and visit Layanee!

  47. I thought I'd left a comment already, about the tendonitis, but when I reread this, I wanted to say it's so true about taking the good with the bad in gardening. It's such an adventure! Now, my husband is off the phone, and is ready to watch a movie, so I'll have to come back to comment on the current posts!

  48. There's a time you gotta grow and show you know about the facts of life, the facts of life... crap, I used to love that show! In other news, I love the Pandorus Sphinx Moth; it looks so unreal, if you know what I mean.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson