Monarch Butterfly and Bellflowers

moon phase Week of 08/08/2004 Best days to harvest for storage.

Monarch Butterfly and Bellflowers

The summer season has peaked, and the landscape is a sea of green grass, trees, and lovely wildflowers. Now is the time to take in all these summer colors.

The color yellow is most prevalent in August, when the goldenrod and sunflowers are in bloom. There may be areas of an acre or more that are completely covered with the tall yellow flowering heads of rough goldenrod. These areas are a good place to see a variety of insects and butterflies.

Along the river there are large patches of Jewelweed (touch-me-nots). Their many pea-like yellow flowers make nectar for bumblebees, honeybees, and hummingbirds.

Along the fence rows grow tall green stalks of cup plants, their large sunflower blooms reaching for the sky. There are many varieties of tall sunflowers in bloom now, and their flowers will provide seed for wild birds and animals throughout the winter months.

Many coneflowers and yellow daisies are also blooming. I am pleased to see that they have appeared more thickly in a grassy field that I burned off last March. The fire has made them spread their rich yellow flowers over an area a hundred feet wide. There is always room for more Black-eyed susans and yellow coneflowers at my place.

Here and there along the edges grow small patches of wild primrose, with tall green stems toped with bright lemon-yellow flowers. A Monarch butterfly stopped to taste the nectar of the pretty primrose blooms.

The Monarch has not been a common sight here this summer, for reasons I'm not sure of. In fact, all species of butterfly and many other insects have been noticeably scarce here all season. Perhaps it's because it's been one of the coolest spring and summer seasons in recent memory.

In normal years, the windshields of cars and trucks are covered with the remains of dead insects. This year I've been checking the grills and radiators of area cars and trucks and I haven't seen nearly as many road-killed grasshoppers, dragonflies and butterflies as usual. No doubt many birds and animals that depend on insects for food will feel the impact of their scarcity this year.

Besides lush green and yellow, there are patches of white and strips of blue to be seen in the landscape. The show snow white discs of Queen Anne's Lace dot the roadsides wherever I go, as do the bright sky blue flowers of chicory. Both plants are invaders. Neither plant is native to North America, but I still enjoy their beauty.

Along the partially-shaded edges of the woods and creek grow spikes of Blueweed, also known as tall bellflower. Their lovely blue flowers accent the green foliage of their surroundings. The beautiful flowers of late summer are the last hurrah for the warm weather. Enjoy them while they last, for soon they will be gone until next year.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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