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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Late Summer Blooms

 Late summer can be tough on the garden, especially if it's been a hot dry summer like it has in my region. One thing you learn when going through a dry spell is which plants can take it and which ones can't. Fortunately we've had some rain recently and the grass is starting to turn green again and the flower blooms have resumed.

One thing my garden hasn't been short of this summer is butterflies.  My goal the last couple years has been to plant more flowers that attract butterflies, and it's starting to pay off as you will see in some of the photos below. In my opinion a true butterfly garden should contain both nectar plants for butterflies to feed on, and host plants for butterfly larva.

Here's is a monarch butterfly feeding on a tropical milkweed plant, also known as 'bloodflower' (Asclepias curassavica). If you look closely (click photo to enlarge) you can see a monarch caterpillar feeding on the plant foliage just below the butterfly (where the arrow is pointing). Milkweed is a great plant for pollinators and is the main host plant for monarch butterflies.

Monarch w-Caterpillar

Here's another...

Monarch on milkweed

Below is  a native milkweed called 'swamp milkweed' (Asclepias incarnata).IMG_7034

Here's a new butterfly bush (buddleia) I purchased this summer. It's a dwarf variety called 'Blue Chip'. So far I've been very pleased with it. It's a smaller compact version that continues to bloom just like the larger cultivars. I purchased this later in the summer which is not the ideal time to plant. For that reason I planted this in a pot where it sits nicely on my back deck. I plan to transplant it in the garden early this fall when things cool off a bit. IMG_6743

And just like all buddleias, the butterflies flock to it.

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Black and blue salvia (Salvia guaranitica) is also new to my garden this summer. Beware, it likes to spread but if you have the room it's a neat plant and the butterflies and hummingbirds dig it to.

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Russian sage is a great drought tolerant plant that continues to bloom and looks great with most plant combinations. Here a buckeye butterfly enjoys feeding from its nectar.

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Blanket flower (gaillardia) is another drought tolerant plant that continues blooming throughout the summer. Keep it deadheaded for more blooms.

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Zinnias...

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This is a mixture of 'New Gold' lantana mixed with 'Citus' lantana.

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Here's a stand of melampodium. Truly a "plant it and forget it" plant. It begins to bloom the moment it comes up and last until frost.

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'Miss Huff' lantana with a volunteer sunflower in the background.

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Not sure of the name to this lantana. It's a low growing ground cover variety. Can you tell I like lantana?

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Verbena is another one of those easy to grow, bang for your buck plant.

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Thanks for stopping by and taking this tour with me. Remember, just because we're in the dog days of summer doesn't mean that the garden has to look like it. There're lots of plants that can stand up to the heat and drought that this time of season is known for.

For more ideas and other August blooms be sure to check out Mays Dreams Gardens for this months Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Thanks for hosting Carol!

7 comments:

Arija said...

You had a stunning array of flowers last summer. Love the butterflies as well.

Les said...

It looks like we are sharing some of the same plants for bloom day. A few weeks ago I wasn't sure there would be anything to show what with the drought and heat.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Beautiful images. I especially like the ones of the butterflies. I plan to take a peak at your other posts as well.

April Lorier said...

Beautiful photos, as always! I notice your house is on stilts. Why? Have you ever had floods there?

I love butterflies, but even more, I love the sound of crickets at night. The sound is an immediate tranquilizer to this sometimes uptight woman! :-D

LC said...

You certainly do attract the butterflies to your gardens... very nice! L

catmint said...

Hi Alan, I found this post incredibly helpful. Brilliant photography. i have monarch butterflies but so far haven't been able to capture such a great view. As for the flowers, they are all flowers I am familiar with and I know they'd grow well in my garden. But I only have a couple of them. The rest will form a shopping list. cheers, catmint

Alan said...

Arija, thank you! Yes, the butterflies seem to make the garden come alive with movement.

Les, I agree! My garden was really struggling until the recent rains. Thank God we've been getting more of it lately!

Gardenwalkgardentalk - thank you! Also thanks for stopping by. I hope you come back!

Hey April, thank you! Actually the house is not on stilts. What your looking at in that photo is the deck in my back yard. It's raised up because it surrounds our above ground pool.

LC, thanks! I do enjoy the butterflies.

Hi Catmint, I'm so glad you found this helpful. I learn so much from other bloggers so it's nice to here when others learn from mine. Also, thanks for following!!