Bronze fennel and black swallowtails, Foeniculum vulgare purpureum and Papilio polyxenes, go together like wine and cheese. Both groups are most welcome additions to the garden. I added bronze fennel to both the long border and to a high, zinc container. The container holds scented geraniums, dichondra and bronze fennel which gives height and color to the planting. It was placed next to the narrow walkway to encourage tactile guests to reach out and 'play' with the plants thus releasing a bit of scent. I may be the only one who actually does this on purpose. I never have been able to keep my hands to my self. It has been a great season for butterflies in the garden. There are many this year of all shapes and sizes and one would think they would be easy to photograph as they just flit from flower to flower but they are surprisingly shy and wiley. Capturing them in flight is a challenge. Not so these beautiful larvae. I do worry about them since their markings are so distinctive it would seem to make them easy prey for some scavenging bird. There are many birds here this summer as well. Indigo buntings, cardinals, tufted titmouse to name a few. That is a subject that deserves its own post. For now, it is time to enjoy the butterflies in all their stages. Are you seeing more butterflies than usual this season?
Confession time....I have been traveling and the garden shows a bit of neglect. As I walked my garden this morning with Cooper and Tucker, camera in hand, I had a sense of failure. The weeds are growing at a fast pace, the browned bits of tattered old blooms litter the flower beds. Early morning in the garden, once a pleasant place, is now a challenging ordeal as swarms of mosquitoes are present this year. It has been hot, humid and moist. The perfect storm for mosquitoes. Still, there is beauty to be found along with disappointments. The heat hastens blooms but also stresses them. The Campanula takesimana are filled with flowers but they are drying fast. Deadheading them is a labor of love and not a top priority with the weed parade in full stride. Another source of dissatifaction is that I have been on two garden tours. The first to Sussex, England which involved touring fourteen very pristine gardens and the second to San Francisco for the Garden Bloggers Fling. There will be posts on these tours but a bit later, once I manage to gain a bit of control (an illusion) over this garden. Touring is a great source of information but tour gardens are usually perfect. There is nary a weed in sight, all perennials have been deadheaded, staked and thinned to perfection. That is much different than the jungle to which I have come home. The deer have become bold since I have been away. They have eaten the buds off many of the daylilies and some of the hosta which escaped the repellent spray look like celery stalks. The tomatoes, planted late, are growing amid the weeds and have yet to be staked. These are not the pictures I will show here. Gardening is divine and tragic at the same time but there is beauty to be found if one can overlook these problems and the myriad of tasks awaiting the gardener. It can be quite overwhelming. I remind myself, one bed at a time.