Thursday, August 10, 2006

NY Ironweed and other wild things

NY Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is another native that I planted because of its attractiveness to pollinators. It grows quietly in the back of the moist border with joe-pye and swamp milkweed and then blooms in late July or early August. This aster family relative is said to get its common name from the rusty color of the seedheads. The misty look to this pic is not an artistic touch; my camera fogged up last week when I brought it from the air-conditioned house out into the 100 degree heat to take this pic. I didn't have the wherewithal to stay out long enough in that heat, so decided I liked the effect.

All of the flowers in my garden have bloomed, save the goldenrods. The joe-pye is tattered and the milkweeds are ripening seedpods.

I've been watching these milkweed bugs for a few weeks, waiting for them to get big enough to take a pic. When I first noticed them I thought they were aphids, but with each day they are coming to look more like their adult form. These bugs feed on the tissues and seeds of the milkweed plant, and it's thought that they congregate in numbers like this to increase the benefit of their warning coloration to possible predators.

I inadvertantly soaked this little baby a few times before I learned to check beneath the geraniums before watering them. He was convinced that he was so small and so brown that I wouldn't be able to see him under there. Mother Nature's camouflage at work!

Monarchs are the most numerous butterflies in the garden this year, I've only spotted a few swallowtails and not even very many skippers. I spend a little time each day searching for eggs or caterpillars, but still have found none.

Today's attempt at a decent hummingbird pic. I envy those of you who can manage it. I'm glad to finally be seeing them in the garden, and love to watch them chase one another around! They've been visiting the sugar-water feeders, but also the salvias and the little flowering maple trees.


Susan Gets Native said...

I think any picture of a hummingbird that is recognizable as a hummingbird is a good shot.
The milkweed bugs are cute.
*Did I just say that a bug is cute???

Endment said...

The wonder of August in your photos
--- Perfection

madcapmum said...

That bunny under the greenery is pretty adorable. You have a lovely garden.

bev said...

Beautiful group of photos and a very sweet little bunny.

LauraHinNJ said...

Susan the milkweed bugs ARE kind of cute, but then I've been watching them grow up for a few weeks!

And the little wild bunny was exceedingly cute; he's probably learning to raid the garden as I write this. I haven't found any babies this spring/summer until this one - maybe the adults are finally learning to nest away from where the dog is likely to find them.

KGMom said...

Thanks for the wonderful pics of the great outdoors. All creatures great and small. I, too, found the bunny irresistible. We have small bunnies in our yard, and I am constantly scolding our dog (half border collie) for even thinking of chasing one!