Endless Summer

I was sitting in my home office the other day, and I spotted a giant Monarch butterfly floating over my front yard native plant garden, which is neglected and completely out of control. But it has several milkweed plants that are undaunted by all the weeds. I grabbed my camera, and hoped to catch that glorious creature laying eggs on one of my milkweed plants. 

I guess it saw me, and fluttered up and away from the plant. To my horror, it flew right into a giant spider’s web. I couldn’t believe it. The irony! I threw down my camera, and tried to extract the panicked butterfly as gently as possible. Freed from the sticky web, it tried to fly away, but some webbing bound its wings and it fluttered helplessly to the ground. OMG OMG!! 

I tried to catch it again, without hurting its delicate wings, and extract the webbing. Finally, it flew away, unfettered. Phew!! So, needless to say, I didn’t get any shots of that beautiful Monarch. However, when I checked the plants yesterday, I found three caterpillars munching on the leaves. (I know. These guys were there long before the Monarch incident.) 

I have two types of milkweed. (Sorry, I don’t know their names.) These are the tiny flowers from my larger milkweed plant, which did not have any caterpillars.

But it did have tons of large pods. 

And they were kicking out these seed flotillas.

Almost as lovely as the butterflies!

The three caterpillars were all on the other type of milkweed, which had orangy-red flowers, as opposed to the larger milkweed with yellow flowers. (You probably know this already, but if you plant these milkweeds, even just one plant, you, too, will have caterpillars and Monarchs in your garden. Promise!)
Then I checked out the rest of my overgrown garden. Sure enough, even this late in summer, some Blue-Eyed Grass was still blooming.

A lot of the sage flowers had turned to husks, but they were still beautiful–if you looked closely.
Some of the stems still held their purple blooms.

I looked in my large strawberry bush. It was filled with bell-shaped blossoms, and one happy bumblebee. 

It had also kicked out some of the “strawberries.” The birds love these.

Even my giant, overgrown hedge of Melaleuca was still bursting with pink blossoms. 

Up close, they look like they have mini lights on the ends of the petals.

Even the prickly, foreboding Australian Tea Tree shrubs were pretty and delicate upon closer inspection.

Finally, I caught this drunken bee dusted with nectar on my blooming white verbena.
So maybe summer is at a close. But if you look closely, some of us are still clinging to every last moment of these warm, sunny days.

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