Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Spectacular August Day


The weather this August has been crazy, devastating floods in parts of the country and unbearable heat in others.  We have been lucky here at Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge; the weather has been spectacular as far as August weather in Virginia is concerned.  Summers here at Cedarmere are often very pleasant because there is a gentle breeze that comes down from the mountains.


Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge

What helps keep our climate temperate is the fact that we are at the foothills of the magnificent Blue Ridge mountains.


View from Moss Vineyard

Our flowers thrive in spite of the fact that I have left them to the care of Mother Nature.

Echinacea

Rudbeckia

Passiflora

Rudbeckia and gold finch

Verbena bonariensis and skipper

Celosia argentea

Clematis paniculata and skipper

Rosa, Coreopsis, Echinacea seedhead, Veronica








Here are three flower arrangements I designed a few summers ago. These flowers are a staple in my summer garden.  I find them cheery and refreshing. 



Zinnia, Centaurea, Lavandula

Every summer it seems, I also have a few lavender stragglers, which I love to use because they add a sense of fresh cool spring into my summer bouquets.





Zinnia, Cosmos, Centaurea, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Lobelia


Our butterflies love it here, too.  The most common butterfly that lives on our farm is a variety of Swallowtail. One day recently, for some reason, I saw a large number of the yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (both male and female) and one Spicebush Swallowtail.  


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


You can see why this Swallowtail is called Tiger Swallowtail.




Butterflies usually rest with their wings wide open only briefly as they bask in the bright sunshine.  This one seemed to really enjoy sunbathing.




Spicebush Swallowtail

I think this is the Spicebush Swallowtail and not the black Tiger Swallowtail, because it's missing one orange dot along its first row of orange dots. (Source: http://louisiananaturalist.blogspot.com/2009/06/four-dark-swallowtails.html)



Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

I was very happy to see this butterfly because it is very rare in Virginia.


Common Buckeye Butterfly

I've also noticed that the Common Buckeye butterfly has multiplied these past two years.  It makes me very happy to know that somehow I've made our environment more inviting to these beautiful butterflies!






Pearl Crescent Butterfly

I was excited to see this fancy looking butterfly as I haven't seen it before.  The poor thing looked quite weathered.  


A few days later, I saw this beautiful Pearl Crescent butterfly.





Skipper (Butterfly)

Although this little guy looks more like a moth than a butterfly, structurally it is much more closely related to the butterfly than the moth.  Skippers earned their name from their fast, erratic and skipping flight.  I have seen 4 different species in our garden.



(See my old post, Flutterby Visitors, 1/22/2014for other butterflies that visit my garden that are not shown in this post.)

But what keeps me hanging around in my gardens are tiny little pollinators, some no longer than an inch I need help in identifying the first two below.

???

???

Ailanthus Webworm moth
source: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/-moths-and-butterflies-page-2-.html

I particularly like to watch the little insects in my garden interact.






Please help me identify the green-headed bug & the orange and black stripe bug.  Thanks

Have a fabulous rest of August, 
                   Christa 



Monday, June 6, 2016

Privacy Please!


... looking left ...


... looking right ... 



humm ... there is that human again, 
with her black gadget ... she looks harmless ...


it's probably safe for me to preen myself ... 








she is still there with that black box ... 
no privacy around here!!!



no matter ... she still looks harmless ...



gotta preen the other side ...





... ahhh ... all spic and span!!!


... she is still there!!! ...


... oh well ...
... it's HER farm after all!!!  



This Eastern Bluebird wasn't afraid of me and didn't seem to mind sharing his space.  It was a real treat to watch him groom himself.  His movement was deliberate and fastidious.  He looked quite pleased with himself after he was done.  And so he should.  He was amazingly gorgeous!