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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Butterflies of Autumn

In Central Florida butterflies can be seen year-round. The population of them decreases as winter arrives. If it gets very cold, as in freezing, they may disappear until it warms up, but they are hiding somewhere safe until the temperatures rise.
Monarch on Agastache 'Black Adder'
The autumn garden is filled with an abundance of pollinator activity, including many varieties of butterflies. Agastache 'Black Adder' is a popular stop for all the nectar-sipping critters in my garden.
Gulf Fritillary on 'Black Adder'

Long-tailed Skipper on 'Black Adder'

Queen butterfly on milkweed flowers
The Queen butterfly is not as commonly seen in my garden as the other species discussed here. However, this year there seemed to be more than normal. The Queen butterfly is very similar in size and pattern to the Monarch.
Queen butterfly on milkweed flowers

Queen butterfly on milkweed flowers

Queen butterfly on milkweed flowers

Swallowtail plant (Christia Obcordata) is definitely not a butterfly even though it appears to have a gazillion wings of butterflies dancing around on graceful stems. This is not a plant that last more than a season in my garden. I buy them when I find them in late summer, pot them up in containers and place them in partially shaded spots. The leaves fade and drop off as the days grow shorter. You can read more about this unique plant in a previously featured post here.

Tiger Swallowtail on Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Pentas  (Pentas lanceolata) are an all-time favorite of mine and the pollinators in my garden. These are the old-fashioned, tall red variety that survive through most winters or return after being frosted back. The value of red pentas in my garden cannot be overstated. I love them and recommend them highly for year-round bright color in the dense clusters of red. Loads of pollinator activity, including hummingbirds depend on them for nectar.

Gulf Fritillary on Pentas (Pentas lanceolata

Tiger Swallowtail on red Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Tiger Swallowtail on red Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Chrysalis of Black Swallowtail butterfly
This summer and early autumn we had the privilege of seeing dozens of black swallowtail caterpillars transform from tiny eggs to each instar stage and molt into butterflies. It was a wonderful learning experience for our young grandchildren and just as thrilling for us to witness each metamorphosis.
New Black Swallowtail butterfly just out of chrysalis
We have pondered how a single Rue herb plant could have hosted so many caterpillars. All the leaves would be sheared off by hungry cats and as soon as they matured new growth would push out rapidly. It's a wonder of nature.

I hope you are relishing autumn days wherever you are. Happy gardening, Meems

If you liked these photos you may enjoy these previous posts also:
Butterflies Galore
Benefits and Beneficials: A Garden Teeming with Life
Autumn Makes A Grand Arrival
To Capture the Sunlight
Hello December

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  1. What a magical post! I love the swallowtail plant. I've never heard of it before. And your butterfly pictures are fabulous.

  2. What another delightful post about your gardens and the 'flying flowers' that visit it. Wonderful photos.


  3. It's always a delight to see butterflies in the garden and in photos. You got some great shots of your fluttering beauties. I've got to find a rue plant...haven't been lucky enough to find any up my way. Enjoy the wonderful breezy weather this weekend.

  4. I need to get some parsley and pentas to attract some other types of caterpillars. Lovely shots, Meems!

  5. Very striking, Meems, and beautiful. You had me going with that Swallowtail Plant. I had never seen "that butterfly" before! You seem to have more kinds than I do. Such gorgeous perfection.

  6. Oh so very beautiful!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  7. What a treat to see all your lovely butterflies, Meems, especially since ours have long since left for warmer places. The Queen is a new one to me--such a beauty! The Swallowtail plant is also something I've never heard of before; it's certainly an interesting one.

  8. I think that those swallowtails have got to be my favorite. I miss seeing my mom light up at the sheer quantity of swallowtails, zebra longwings, frits and monarchs in her garden. They sure did love the butterfly weed and passionflowers! I would love to plant a butterfly garden for the apartment someday...

  9. What lens do you use? I love the pictures of the caterpillers and butterflies!


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway