It's been a hot and muggy August (who am I kidding this has been going on since June) here in Florida. Even so, I managed to spend lots of hours in the garden this week.
- My empty vegetable beds got a good dose of bone meal and dried blood mixture worked into the soil. We'll let that rest for a few weeks before we plant some seed for a fall harvest.
- I planted some tomato seeds in small containers too.
- There was some attention needed at the back of the property.
Even though the skies have looked like this many times this week we haven't had any significant rain. That's the way the weather pattern goes in the summer. The afternoon thunderstorms roll in and rumblings of thunder and lightning can be heard all around but the showers can miss specific areas and neighborhoods all together.
It wasn't our turn this week, I guess. Hopefully, next week we'll get a good drenching or two.
Butterflies Were Abundant This Week in all the Sunshine
Our summer sunshine is giving the butterflies lots of flight energy and they are plentiful. Of course they have to fly to search for food and escape from predators so they are dependent on good weather.
Their wings are their muscles, so to speak, and their bodies have to be heated up to around 82 degrees in order to fly. You might have noticed you don't see too many butterflies flitting about on a cloudy cooler day. Even on cloudy warmer days we don't see them in great numbers.
Giant Swallowtail slurping penta flowers with its exacting proboscis.
Fat and full of milkweed are these fellows ...
... which turn into these dancing wonders of beauty.
During sunny daytime hours, you may see butterflies basking with their wings open to catch the warmth from the sun. When it gets too warm a butterfly may fold its wings and situate its body so the rays of the sun land on the edge of its wings rather than its fully extended wings.
It's a good idea to place some rocks (especially flatter ones) in your garden. When the sun isn't shining butterflies can use the stored up heat in them to raise the temperature in their bodies.
In Florida non-migratory populations of monarch butterflies can be seen all months of the year.
The prize of the week for me was capturing a Cassius Blue which happens to be among the teeniest of butterflies we have in our garden. They are especially attracted to the Leadwort; blue plumbago shrub on which they lay their eggs. Each kind of butterfly has its own unique way of flying. These little fellows are quick and rapidly flit about sometimes in two's and three's and if one didn't know better one would easily mistake them for a moth.
At one point just as I was about to redirect my camera this most amazing fly-in just 'happened'. First the female and then the male with wings spread widely (adult wingspan is 1.4 to 2.5 cm) open. Right there next to each other and my camera already pointing in that very spot. Okay... that was thrilling enough but then to actually capture a clear photo before they flew away in all of about 5 seconds... definitely makes for some wild excitement in the garden. Yeah... I know... I'm getting old.
My Camera Was Noticing all Kinds of Critters This Week, Too
Some of them we are familiar with like the happy red male cardinals that sing their cheery songs and daily visit the feeders.
Then there are strange beings like this grey insect I've never before seen. Stirring around in some bromeliads I startled it out of its roost I suppose. Anyone have a clue what it might be?
Blogger's note: Thanks to a Boyd Hill Nature Preserve commenter the mantis has been identified as a Grizzled mantis.
Who knew? The voracious foliage/flower eating nemesis of my garden get started reproducing already! And I thought this only went on in the spring. Just after this photo these two love-hoppers met their demise. That's one less litter I'll have to track down later.
Have no idea the name or the intent of the green insect with the antennae practically as long as its body. Any one know what this guy is or what he's up to?
And ... the ever present Argiope aurantia (thanks again to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve commenter for ID) just hanging out between the salvia and the coleus. Don't mind me... I'm just trying to get some deadheading done.
This little flourescent green variety of spider is all over the garden this summer.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend and fitting in all your own gardening fun! Happy day.