Boy, it’s been a busy week in the garden…
American Robin sunbathing (July 7, 2022)
We wondered what was wrong with this Robin. I finally realized that it is leaning over and sitting still to sun bathe.
Monarch laying eggs (July 7, 2022)
This isn’t the first Monarch I’ve seen this summer, but it is the first one I’ve captured in a photo. It was laying eggs on Swamp Milkweed by the pond while I was watching birds, so it was hard to miss.
I’m glad this Monarch laid eggs in my garden, despite the fact that I have less milkweed this year (due to Milkweed Yellows Phytoplasma) that is scattered around the yard. I recently read about a study of Monarch success in different densities of milkweed plantings — “Mixed-Species Gardens Increase Monarch Oviposition without Increasing Top-Down Predation” — and gardens with many plant species, instead of large stands of only milkweed, increases egg-laying and decreases predation from other insects.
Since I don’t have much milkweed, I’m not sure if I’ll collect eggs to protect caterpillars this year.
Started moths (July 3, 2022)
We didn’t end up getting much rain this week, so I had to water the seedlings I planted and the larger plants that I moved recently. The water startled several moths out of their daytime hiding spots under leaves.
They aren’t as exciting-looking as butterflies, but I enjoy seeing them in the garden just the same. iNaturalist thinks that the white one is in the genus Scopula, and the brown one is an Underwing of some sort.
Adventurous Dogbane Beetle (July 3, 2022)
This jewel-like Dogbane Beetle wandered away from the Spreading Dogbane to hang out on a Prairie Onion leaf.
Short Wild Bergamot (July 2, 2022)
In the terraced garden, I have a short, early form of Wild Bergamot. It is blooming now and only gets about 2 feet tall. It isn’t Monarda Bradburiana, which is a Prairie variety that is also short, blooms early, but has spotted, pale flowers. This spring, I grew Bradburiana from seed, as well as this short form. I’ll see how they compare next year.
My regular Wild Bergamot plants are still forming flower buds, and grow about 3 feet tall or more.
The last photo is thyme that’s growing between the flagstones in the terraced garden path. It happens to be the same colour as the Monarda flowers and is blooming at the same time.
Cardinal parents feeding fledgelings (July 8, 2022)
These Cardinal parents have been very busy feeding their young. I spotted Mom with a juicy green caterpillar, and Dad feeding junior in one of the Chokecherry trees. There must be lots of food in the hedgerow because that’s where I hear most of the begging/squawking.
Yellow, orange, and blue combo (July 8, 2022)
Yellow, orange and ‘blue’ (really bluish purple) is the main colour scheme that I use in the front pollinator garden. It is certainly eye-catching. At times, there’s also a bit of white, purple and red.
The first picture shows yellow Lanceleaf Coreopsis, with long-blooming, blue Narrow-leaf Verbena (plants from onplants.ca), orange Butterfly Milkweed (right), and short Cosmic Orange cosmos (seed from William Dam Seeds). The second photo includes Butterfly Milkweed again and self-seeded Verbena Stricta (aka Hoary Vervain).
Leaves are starting to wilt and petals are shriveling, especially on newly planted seedlings, so I will have to break down and water the front garden.
More orange annuals (July 8, 2022)
Once the Butterfly Milkweed is finished, there aren’t any orange flowers in the front pollinator garden. Each year, I grow some long-blooming, pollinator-friendly annuals to keep orange in the colour scheme.
The 1st photo is Calendula, the 2nd is California Poppy, the 3rd is Zahara Zinnia (from William Dam Seeds), and the last photo features Mexican Tithonia.
Pileated Woodpecker (July 9, 2022)
When I stepped outside this morning, I immediately heard loud woodpecker drumming. I spotted a flash of red on one of the dead Ash trunks along the back fence. It was big Pileated Woodpecker looking for insects along a branch.
More Monarchs (July 9, 2022)
We had 2 Monarchs floating around the backyard today. In the first photo, the butterfly is drinking nectar from Swamp Milkweed flowers. In the second photo, it is basking on a unopened Purple Coneflower bud.
Yellow flower week (July 8, 2022)
There are a lot of yellow flowers in the garden right now. 1. Lance-leaf Coreopsis, 2. Kalm’s St. Johns Wort, 3. Black-eyed Susans, Ontario Goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. ontarioens, seed from Botanically Inclined).
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (July 9, 2022)
This Rose-breasted Grosbeak was shy about using the stream while other birds were already in it. Here it is sitting in a crabapple tree. In the 3rd photo, it looks like it might have been eating in the nearby raspberries patch.
We had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the yard a couple of years ago, but didn’t see one last year. I hope this bird hangs around. Two years ago, we saw it eating berries and Jewelweed seeds.
Chickadees foraging (July 9, 2022)
There’s been a lot of Chickadee activity in the yard. While they frequently visit the sunflower seed feeder and the stream, they are also foraging for insects in the shrubs, trees, and every nook and cranny.
We watched what we think are juvenile Chickadees foraging around the shed. In the 1st photo, they’re looking all around the Limber Honeysuckle trellises. In the 2nd photo, a Chickadee is looking for bee or wasp larvae snacks in the bee hotels.
Chipmunk eating crabapples (July 9, 2022)
Chippy’s been eating unripe crabapples today. Although my crabapple trees bloom about the same time, the yellow ‘Rosthern’ crabapples that Chippy’s been eating ripen much earlier than the red ‘Prairie Fire’ ones. Still, they’re not yet ripe enough to eat. Chippy doesn’t seem to care though.
I’m also including a photo of the ‘Rosthern’ crabapple tree blooms — and a few bees — because I never got around to sharing them in the spring.