Category Archives: Butterflies

Monarch butterfly

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Photo credit: Rick L. Hansen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wikimedia

Monarch butterflies have been in decline for years. As a result, backyard gardeners, butterfly lovers and environmentalists have been encouraging homeowners (and renters) to provide plants for Monarchs. I found the following graphic on Facebook and thought I would share it here:

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  1. Plant milkweed. It is important to locate seeds and plants that are native to your area. Very, very important.
  2. Encourage your locals schools and businesses to allow a Monarch-friendly patch of milkweed and other butterfly-friendly plants to thrive. Important: do not mow down plants until and unless they have gone to seed or died back naturally.
  3. No pesticides: my property is a pesticide-free zone. During the warm months, there are hundreds of insect species that stop by or live here including butterflies, bees, wasps (not all are bad), dragonflies, flies, and more.
  4. Share this information with others. If I had my way, pesticides would be banned from use by the general public and government entities.

More information: Journey North Monarch Butterfly project.

Connecticut woods in June

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Early morning sunlight reveals interesting veining on these Sassafras leaves

My Sassafras patch is thriving after removing a few saplings that were blocking sunlight. I located another Sassafras near my driveway that would benefit from clearing more saplings and a few of the larches that the previous property owners planted (that are not doing well in that location anyway).

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Poison ivy casts leaf-shaped shadows

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Beautiful birch bark that seems to have some kind of black mold

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Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata is a volunteer that was most likely the result of a migrating bird. I initially thought this was in the Gentian family.

The Clustered Bellflower is a food source to butterflies and other pollinators so I will let it stay.

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The only characteristic of this Clustered Bellflower that is different from images I found online is the flower stem on my plant is green while those in other photos are red.

The book New England Wildflower Society’s flora Novae Angliae : a manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England by Arthur Haines (2011) indicates that Campanula glomerata has been found in many New England states except Connecticut. I’m guessing a migrating bird dropped the seeds and they are now naturalizing.

Mysterious Garden Visitor

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I found a beautiful surprise in my backyard garden. This is my first video project where I recorded a separate audio track and added text.

Summer flowers

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Click on each photo to see a larger version and click again to zoom in to see close-up. The nasturtium has details that I had never noticed with the naked eye. And remember, please do not take these photos or share them without express permission from me. Thank you.

Purple coneflower waiting for the sun to come up

Purple coneflower waiting for the sun to come up. This is a cultivar that I purchased three years ago at a warehouse club before I knew that nursery plants are often sprayed with neonicotinoid pesticides which kill pollinators.

Bee balm seeds forming, last petals falling off

Bee balm seeds forming, last petals falling off. This reseeds every year.

Giant nasturtium is an edible plant, flowers and leaves. So fragrant, too!

Giant nasturtium is an edible plant: you can eat both flowers and leaves. So fragrant, too!

The 5th of July in Connecticut after Hurricane Arthur

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Head’s up: There is a video treat at the end of this post thanks to one of my sons.

Lemon squash (center) with French radishes growing on either side

Lemon squash (center) with French radishes growing on either side


It poured all day yesterday. My 18-year-old son learned the term, “gully washer” from me. By the time Hurricane Arthur hit Connecticut is was a tropical storm.

I am not complaining. I didn’t have plans (except to watch a movie, which I didn’t watch). I didn’t lose power, though I learned that many residents in my small town did. We didn’t lose any trees or power lines. I was primarily oblivious to the storm as I just stayed on the computer watching Netflix and fiddling around. I did spend most of the morning reading and researching Lyme disease and some current events (such as the Hobby Lobby decision and the child immigrant crisis in Texas). It was a good day for such things.

Sadly, Hurricane Arthur was not so nice to those in North Carolina and other states as it made landfall and headed north.

But this morning, the sun is shining bright. I expected to step outside on the deck and be assaulted by hot, humid air as has been the case the last week.

Brown-eyed Susan, Evening Primrose and Bee Balm

Brown-eyed Susan, Evening Primrose and Bee Balm


Oh no, today is one of the days that we all live for here in New England: crisp, warm but not the least hint of hot, low humidity, the wind is blowing, the birds are celebrating their independence, and the butterflies have arrived.

There is no way to be grumpy on a day like today.

Mug of coffee in hand, I meandered through my garden spaces looking for newly emerging seedlings. A few spinach seeds are popping up, but the rest are waiting for a few hours of intense sunlight to signal that it is safe to emerge. Blueberries are turning red — time for the nets. Promises of wild and cultivated blueberries in muffins, yogurt, ice cream and, if there are enough, maybe syrups and preserves.

Amish deer tongue heirloom Romaine lettuce

Amish deer tongue heirloom Romaine lettuce


While most parts of the country usher in summer in June, I think Connecticut should consider the 4th of July, or in this case, the 5th of July, as the true beginning of summer. I still marvel that the summers don’t get warmer as they move through July and August; the temperatures become cooler. We can get a heat wave or two during those months, but the days are getting shorter, and we are moving toward fall with every day that passes.

Moskovich heirloom tomato plant

Moskovich heirloom tomato plant

And for your viewing pleasure, my 21-year-old son went out and recorded butterflies enjoying the milkweed patch. Enjoy!

Common milkweed attracting butterflies and other insects

Common milkweed attracting butterflies and other insects