It’s been too long since I posted here. My apologies, but life has been unusually busy of late. I’ve got several posts planned, but today I want to share a few of the photos I’ve taken recently. I’ve learned not to walk out of my house during daylight hours without my camera in hand.
I discovered the mushrooms in the top shot growing in my boulder garden next to a milkweed. As the autumnal equinox nears, mushrooms of all colors and shapes begin to appear in my yard, especially after our all-too-rare rains. That’s when these popped up — after our last good rain.
Every year in about the middle of August, I notice that the leaves on my trellis full of native coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’) begin to disappear. That’s when I start looking for this caterpillar, which practices excellent camouflage techniques. Its adult form is one of the clear-winged sphinx moths that you’ll see hovering over flowers like hummingbirds as they drink nectar. The caterpillars produce no lasting damage to my very healthy honeysuckle vine. In fact, they help prevent it from growing too large for its trellis.
This is the time of year praying mantises, especially the Chinese mantises like this one, become more apparent in the landscape. They have grown large devouring the insects that abound in my gardens, and now they’re on the move seeking mates. During last week’s cool spell, this one parked itself on the west-facing side of my house, where it could catch afternoon sun while snagging a few pollinators visiting my lantana.
The house mantis didn’t appreciate being the subject of my photo session and relocated itself to a nearby pineapple sage plant. Here it is actively climbing the plant as it attempts to avoid my camera.
I was delighted when my late-blooming stand of Daylily ‘Autumn Daffodil’ pushed out a few more scapes about a month after its main bloom period had ended, as was this carpenter bee.
Right on schedule, the hurricane lilies began blooming just before Wonder Spouse’s birthday. I love the way their bloom stalks seemingly pop out of nowhere.
Around my front water feature, my Sweet Kates are once again blooming enthusiastically. They always take a break during the heat of July and August, but return with more glorious purple flowers as summer fades into autumn. The pollinators love the flowers as much as I do.
I’ll close this post with another purple beauty. This one is a true late summer-early fall bloomer — Aster ‘October Skies.’ Individual flowers are not gigantic, but the bushy plants are literally covered in blooms, so their visual impact is stunning. Their appearance always signals autumn’s imminent arrival.
That’s all the photos for today, folks. I promise a more information-rich post soon. Meanwhile, I suggest you enjoy our cooler days by going outside and appreciating all the beauty that abounds this time of year. That’s what I’ll be doing.