A Look At The Bees, Butterflies & More…Friends In The Garden

photo (3)This post is all about relaxing in your garden. Yes, I said relaxing…it’s late summer and the garden is buzzing with life – or should be. Hopefully we’ve helped you create the perfect  habitat for beneficial and beautiful insects and other critters. Take a stroll every so often and really see all that’s happening in their home.

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The other day I spotted a praying mantis on a dahlia in my garden. I put a picture of it on the shop’s Facebook page and, in the comments, a sweet lady said,  “Eek!” .  It was the perfect time to remind everyone that this is a “good guy” in the garden; they only look menacing. I watched it slowly make its way up the tall dahlia stem and then snatch an ant that made the critical mistake of getting too close.

photo (5)I’ve also seen a few swallowtail butterflies – graceful beacons of midsummer, moving from pentas to zinnia to dahlia and back -.and one that had somehow torn its wing and that I found the next day in tatters in one of my beds. The circle of life continues…

There will be one last generation  of swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, and I’ve been waiting for them to appear and munch through my copper fennel. I have a love/hate relationship with the fennel, planted expressly for these pretty swallowtail butterfly caterpillars;  by late summer  the plants  look very much worse for wear…finally the caterpillars arrive to take their fill.  So, soon the fennel will be eaten, more butterflies will appear,  and I’ll cut back the tall stalky stems that are left and wait for the new, fresh foliage to emerge for fall. Being patient is considered the mark of a good gardener…I think I have a ways to go.

this anole jumped from the house onto the rudbeckia...

this anole jumped from the house onto the rudbeckia…

I’m sitting out front, watching the anole lizards, early in the morning.The heat is building and, I know I’ll be moving around back soon to stroll in the relative cool of the shade.  The sun-drenched southern exposure of this front bed and the western side garden provide the  perfect home for them. High summer is their time, and green anoles and blue skinks have the run of the front porch – I want to think they might almost be used to me this late in the summer.

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Frogs are heard, not seen. Following a summer’s  afternoon thundershower and as dusk falls is their time. I imagine they’re happy, calling and answering each other across my lower back yard, wet and misty.

Every so often I frighten one  as I walk through. It’s been sitting on a rock above water that comes from far below the outcropping. Plunk! I almost, but not quite, see it as it disappears into the water. I feel good knowing I have frogs.

photo (7)I somehow captured  the most perfect shot of a honeybee going in for a landing on a poppy this past spring. We need to be mindful of the bees…I’m thankful when I see them happily moving from one bloom to another on the vitex in June or the salvias in August.

I’m trying to be more mindful; not spraying indiscriminately is a very important start to helping these smallest of creatures. I’ve consciously decided that it’s okay  to live with an imperfect garden, since living with all of these inhabitants is the ultimate and perfect tradeoff.

You can go a step further and get your yard certified as a wildlife habitat. Look HERE for more information.





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