Sunday, August 01, 2010


The past couple of weeks have brought as many as ten swallowtails at a  time to our butterfly bushes. The white one has been especially popular. I'm not sure if that is because of its color or its height. It is our tallest bush and the swallowtails concentrate on its top half.
Mostly we get the classic Eastern Swallowtail, although  we   have seen an occasional dark form female and a few Spicebush Swallowtails as well.
Sometimes a pair seem dance together in the air, spiraling upwards, trading places, almost touching.

Dahlias after all

I grew up with the impression, based on parental tastes, that one ought not to like dahlias, and indeed I find many types unpleasantly stiff and oddly colored, as if they were badly tinted plastic. But they have a sturdy reliability in this region which appeals to me. This year I tried a pack of Fresco Mix around the toes of the new crape myrtle, next to the rescued coreopsis. They are short, mostly shades of red with one or two yellows. Just now they are surging into a new round of bloom, in spite of the heat and  storms we've had. The yellow centers match the coreopsis. I mean to plant lots of them next year.The only disadvantage I can see is that, like begonias, they don't seem to attract our local pollinators. I can't recall ever seeing a bee, wasp, or butterfly visit them.