A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monarchs and Flowers

I spotted our first Monarch Butterfly of the season yesterday and was able to snap this photo before it flew off (it's middle bottom of the picture).  It was briefly resting on the Summer Sun Heliopsis (heliopsis scabra) before it took off for parts unknown.  Like many other gardeners across the country, it's taken a long time to spot the first Monarch of the season, and sadly it may be the only one we see all year.
Next to the Summer Sun Heliopsis and underneath the currants (now relieved of their fruit) are the coneflowers, which are just starting to bloom in numbers.  These purple beauties are the PowWow Wild Berry Coneflower (echinacea) and they attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.  Both of these photos are from the same mounded area in the front yard.
The last picture below is the vegetable garden.  The pink and purple petunias line the front, just behind the landscaping blocks.  Since it's in the front yard, this helps give the illusion to a passerby that the whole area is flowers and fun plants, not a working vegetable garden. The area between the landscaping blocks and apple trees was turf last year.  We used the lasagna mulching technique to cover over the grass earlier this year, and the quality of soil will continue to improve as we add mulch, manure, and compost. 

Behind the petunias are apple trees, watermelon, potatoes, and beets (between the apple trees).  In the last week the watermelon have finally gotten the consecutive days of heat that they need and they've taken off.
This is just a snapshot of what's blooming and growing on the homestead in this first week of August.  Berry season and intensive jamming are almost behind us. After my blueberry currant jam making tomorrow or Wednesday, we should be chock full of jam for the year and also have plenty to give away as Holiday presents.  As jamming season ends, tomato season begins!!


Anonymous said...

I saw the first Monarch here very early. Then I saw a number of them. As the summer went on they disappeared and all the milkweed I checked had no eggs or caterpillars. They must have moved northward and we will see them on the way back.

El Gaucho said...

I sure hope you see lots of them on their return trip. Their absence was particularly noticeable this year.