June lull

It’s a strange time in the garden: even though it’s summer, not many native plants are blooming. The spring ephemerals and even the stretch-season wild geraniums are done, but most of the summer flowers haven’t opened yet. Right now it’s just Golden Alexanders…

small black bee facing down on Golden Alexanders

…and Philadelphia fleabane, which volunteered in the lawn.

dozens of small white flowers with yellow centers, green grass in the background

But there’s still a lot going on in the garden. After a lot of May rain and now early June hot temperatures, the plants are looking good, getting bigger by the day. Lots of shades of green, and lots of different textures.

green plants: pearly everlasting, bee balm, iris, blue vervain, butterfly weed, cup plant, black-eyed susan, stiff goldenrod

pearly everlasting, culver's root, bee balm, small pine tree, Golden Alexanders

And the wildlife is buzzing along. Last Sunday, I spotted…

American Lady butterflies and monarch butterflies have laid eggs, which are now American Lady caterpillars

two small black caterpillars crawling on pearly everlasting leaves

and monarch caterpillars.

a just-hatched monarch caterpillar curved on a big common milkweed leaf

And more monarchs showed up to lay more eggs.

female butterfly holding onto a common milkweed in an egg-laying pose

Every time I walked through the garden, I kicked up clouds of damselflies. Dragonflies were busy, too, but I haven’t gotten close enough to get a picture yet.

damselfly resting on black-eyed susan

Aphids and other similar insects were everywhere, so it’s about time for ladybugs to show up to keep them under control.

dozens of red aphids on yellow coneflower

I keep checking for swallowtail caterpillars on the Golden Alexanders, especially since I saw a butterfly last month, but so far I haven’t found any.

Golden Alexanders leaves

Ants were busy managing their colony under stepping stones.

vertical stone on the far left with some small brown ants, a cluster of white eggs, and many ants crawling on top of a structure of woodchips and holes

And a skipper butterfly stopped by.

small brown-and-yellow butterfly looking away on a hyssop leaf

So while the first glance is a lull in the garden, the reality is anything but boring.

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