Mist Flower

This is the bees’ and butterflies’ favorite plant right now. Mist Flower or Wild Ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum) is in full bloom. Many of the summer flowers have faded while the fall asters and goldenrods haven’t yet blossomed. Mist Flower is drought tolerant – a welcome characteristic during our current Kentucky hot and dry spell. I also enjoy bringing it inside as part of a garden bouquet.

In addition to various bees, I’ve seen skippers, silvery checkerspots and monarch butterflies enjoying its nectar. The visitor above is an Ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva aurea). It is an occasional visitor in the garden and I like its unique design.

Caterpillar giveaway

Would you like a black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillar? I have an abundance and would be glad to share some with anyone in the Lexington, Kentucky area.

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars

They are easy to care for and fun to watch. They eat parsley, dill, or fennel. If you are new at this, my tips for raising butterflies may be helpful.

I can’t be sure when these caterpillars will emerge as butterflies. Some of them may overwinter as chrysalises and emerge next spring. I put some in my garage last winter and they did fine. I plan to try some outside this winter.

If you are not interested now but would like to try raising caterpillars later, I’d be glad to put your name on a waiting list.

Please contact me for more information or to request a caterpillar.

Lexington Herald-Leader article

The butterflies and I have made the news. Susan Smith-Durisek, who writes a weekly garden column for our local newspaper, recently asked for information about raising butterflies. Her well-written article was published this past weekend along with photos by Charles Bertram.

Betty Hall and buttefly cage
Photo by Charles Bertram

I appreciate Susan’s article and I hope it encourages more people to explore and learn about butterflies and native plants.

Trumpet honeysuckle vine

I like this native Kentucky vine and so do hummingbirds. Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) blooms profusely in early May and continues to have flowers through October. It’s a favorite hangout for various birds throughout the year.

I enjoy the booms and am happy to share them with the hummingbirds. Last weekend I was attempting to get this image with my small point-and-shoot digital camera. While focusing on the bloom, a hummingbird came within inches of my face. It was a fleeting moment and a memorable one.

Cardinal flower

I’m currently enjoying the bright red blooms of the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). It’s a different shade of red than the royal catchfly. And while the catchfly likes sunshine and tolerates dry conditions, the cardinal flower prefers shade and appreciates some moisture.

I first saw the cardinal flower years ago along river banks in the Missouri Ozarks. I’m glad it’s versatile enough to bloom in our backyard as well.