butterfly bonanza

My butterfly garden may look like it is lacking plants and color, but the butterflies don't think so. Activity has increased dramatically, ever since we have been blessed with rain. The garden has become a butterfly bonanza! Many species float in and dip, dive and duck. Landing and feeding together. I love watching them all fluttering about together!

There is SO much activity and variety that I cannot count them fast enough. 
I've tried to capture the flying frenzy several times on video, but it doesn't come close to doing the experience justice. So still shots it is. Inspiration to use my big girl camera. It has been collecting dust for around three weeks.

Great Spangled Fritillary stole the show! I knew it was a fritillary that was capturing my attention, but had to look up which one. Coppery metallic orange flashes and glimmers off/on in the sunlight. SO pretty! They sure are fast fliers.

Left side
Note the tongue, 'er proboscis.

Right Side

Closed up


I changed my focus to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

A second swallowtail showed up and they took off. Not sure what the dance was all about, but it was fun to watch. 

The butterflies are enjoying all the garden blooms, not just the tall verbena.

feeding on Hoary Vervian

I have noticed the Monarchs seem to be boss. They scare other species away. They eventually settle and can be spotted sharing.

there are three winged wonders in this frame
(Monarch, Fritillary and a Spotted Skipper)

We got a little more rain last night (YAY!). I am heading down soon to see what is blooming and fluttering about. I think I'll bring my camera :)

I added a couple captures from today:

Black Swallowtail

Monarch & Black Swallowtail in flight


nature of things ~ butterfly garden edition

This has been a different gardening year. Without rain, only the hardiest plants grow in our sandy soil. Mostly weeds. Tall Verbena is the only plant that reseeded itself in the butterfly garden, regardless of rain. I saved a lot of different seeds in 2022 and purchased several packets that never sprouted. Even with hand watering. 

The good news is, 95% of the purchased perennials plants returned! The ones I grew from seed and transplanted did not return. Except for some Milkweeds. I have yet to see a native milkweed take in the garden bed. Odd. They grow willy nilly all over our land. I've tried planting saved seeds (chilled and not) and transplanting with roots intact. They can be enjoyed growing elsewhere.


Looking back at where the butterfly garden was when we started...

"My mind wanders with endless possibilities...a path to ride through? a place for my old horse bench, after refinishing? a solar water feature? a stone walking path? a butterfly house or three, made out of wood and/or my really really (really) dried gourds? rock features? or just a big beautiful patch of wild flowers, flutterby's and future foto fun?!!”

It is easy to see where those dreams are (not) today. The only thing from that list that exists is the dirt-n-weeds walking path. I am back to not riding, unless you count a four wheeler. I think it's safe to say I am more of a dreamer than a do-er *^* 

My Butterfly Garden was planted last May, 2022. There was SO much hope the first year, for colorful blooms & flutterbys. I enjoyed seeing my hopes come to fruition. Every single time a butterfly floated to and fro, or landed on the blooms. Spreading it's beautiful delicate wings.


Our parched land finally got much needed rain late July. It was amazing what the rain water did for the butterfly garden! Much to my surprise struggling plants started flourishing. Blooming ~ and ~ my saved annual flower seeds sprouted!! Zinnias & Marigolds popped up everywhere, and even a few (originally from Val) Four O'Clocks! YAY! It is late in the growing season. Many are now in bud and should bloom IF we continue to get some rain.

I tried seeding Cosmos and Cleome this year. Annuals I easily grew at our previous home. The Cosmo's I grew indoors from seed are trying to bloom. Nada from the sown seeds.

I might cave and plant Monarda. Perhaps it will behave here, and not mold. I yanked it at our last home. No Yarrow for me. Never (ever, ever) planting that again. Extremely invasive. Nothing kills it. We tried everything. Pretty sure it is still growing where it didn't belong, in the yard. Too bad, both can be pretty.

Perennial seeds from last/this year stayed dormant. Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, Milkweed, Delphinium, Penstemon and more. It appears planting plants are a much better bet here. I am waiting for the native plant sale to add a few more. Hehee.

Tall Verbena (self reseeded) 7/16/23

Hoary Vervian (returning plant)

Cleopatra, Coneflower 7/25/23
(returning plant)

White Swan, Coneflower 7/16/23
(returning plant)

Cheyenne Spirit, Coneflower 7/16/23
(returning plant)

Tall Verbena with snapdragons, alyssum and marigolds.

Yellow Coneflower 7/19/23
(returning plant)

Pale Coneflower  7/19/23
(returning plant)

NONE of my Black Eyed Susans returned. I know they are short lived perennials, but... Last year I had a nice patch of blooming plants, started indoors from seed. This year I reseeded, and eventually bought another sale plant (and split into two). Both are on the struggle bus. Black Eyed Susans will likely be included as plants I cannot grow.

I am a firm believer of grow what grows for you.

More Purple Coneflowers (grown from seed) were transplanted and seeded this year. There is one plant left. Sigh. Last years similar efforts vanished. 

Black picky Eyed picky picky Susan
(New plant)

My orange Butterfly Weed plant also came back and bloomed. I started orange & yellow versions indoors from seed last year. They are currently re-blooming!

I started this post early July. The garden still doesn't look like much, but it is trying. Surviving parched among the weeds is not easy. Even for plants dubbed as drought tolerant.


yes, I am back to weeding

Patience. Not one of my better virtuous. As you know, it takes a good three years for perennials to establish. Longer for wild flowers. I am really looking forward to plants filling in, like the Verbena. It has become a large vibrant purple thick patch. A butterfly magnet.

My whole self smiles when I watch butterflies fluttering about.