Midsummer in the garden!
I know it's only actually just begun,
by the calendar...
but it *seems* like Midsummer, doesn't it?
All my flowers are past ready for the "Chelsea Chop",
as my English friend calls that cutting back that
all annuals need about now.
I keep saying, "tomorrow".
Look at this fellow, though!
Who has time to trim flowers when creatures like
this are "ready for their close-ups"?
Last fall I bought a native Spice Bush for the express
reason of attracting the Spice Bush Swallowtail to my garden ~
Not just for the butterfly ~ which looks a lot like the Eastern
Black Swallowtail (and we have lots of those already) ~
but for this amazing, faux-snakey-looking caterpillar...
I called him George.
I took a bazillion pictures.
I was very careful with him, but I shamelessly posed him.
(The Spice Bush itself is kind of boring ~
he's on my hydrangea here.)
Of course, I kept him inside, feeding him leaves
from the Spice Bush, which is his "host plant".
(How sad would it have been for a bird to have made
a snack of George??)
So far George has been the only Spice Bush Swallowtail
caterpillar that I've seen, but even if he's the only one,
it was worth getting the Spice Bush!
I even took him to my daughter's with me, when I went
to kitty-sit, and on the way, took him (in his jar) in Macy's
with me, so he wouldn't get too hot in the car.
(I would wager that he's the only Spice Bush caterpillar
whose been in the mall ~ around these parts, anyway.)
After a few days, George made his chrysalis.
Eighteen days later, he emerged!
A handsome boy.
(And I didn't have to change his name!)
Next, Absalom ~ an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar ~
his host plant (here, anyway) is dill, but of course
I had to pose him on one of my Fairy Ballgown flowers
(Rose of Sharon/Hibiscus).
And finally, what spurred my whole "native plant
/butterfly garden" obsession, the Monarchs.
They've really just begun egg-laying on the milkweed
here in Southeast Missouri (but they'll continue through
October). I don't have to relocate these fellows ~
the milkweed is a pretty enough setting in itself.
This is the first one to emerge!
A pretty Pink-Spotted Hawk Moth.
(I won't tell my husband that this one's caterpillar
probably eats the tomato plants...)
And this cute little fellow!
(We don't see nearly as many toads now, which
And for the times when I don't have any new "wild"
critters to photograph, I enlist family members ~
sometimes scaly ones, like Ravioli the Bearded Dragon,
here. Ravioli actually belongs to my son, but because
of a silly rule about not having reptiles in his apartment
complex, Ravioli is living with us, for now.
This is what happens when creatures live here ~
they wear flower hats and attend tea parties.
Ravioli is the Flower Wizard.
And finally, some new little paintings, ACEOs ~
my favorite thing to paint!
(Just 2 1/2" x 3 1/2".)
I used to paint BIG ~ full-sized sheets of watercolor paper,
usually. ~ I belonged to a group of artists when I first began
painting in watercolor who all painted LARGE ~ it was, "Go big or go home!" ~ Now, even painting a 5"x 7" seems like painting a
billboard, after these miniatures!
"Leo's General Store"
My one exception ~ "Cherry on Top" is 6"x 6"!
I've also been setting up some still-lifes for some
slightly larger watercolors!
Have a wonderful week, everyone!