TDIF…our favorite day of the week where we join those adorable Pacific Northwest ‘fur-pals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure to check out what other bloggers have shared by clicking on the highlighted link.
Welcome to the month of July where summer ramps up with gorgeous flowers and hot temps. While the Mile High is not suffering like our friends in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, we have been keeping an eye on news reports and shaking our heads at all those staggering temperatures. Please keep all those suffering with high temps in your thoughts and pray that Nature takes a deep breath and calms down by returning to a kinder, gentler version of its bad self.
So let’s take a look at what’s happening around the 303. This is the time of year where our garden blooms are for the most part fairly spent. While the yarrow has started blooming and Red Hot Pokers are beginning to send their orange spikes upward, the garden is in a bit of a transition right now as it’s more late spring blooming. This week’s highlighted superstars from our neighborhood are a gorgeous butterfly and a blooming food source for it and other flying insects.
Milkweed (Asclepias) is actually a kind of wildflower named for their milky substance, which provides a nice nosh for butterflies and other pollinators. Four species of native milkweed are found in most states in the U.S. and southern Canada (Common Milkweed, Whorled Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, and Butterfly Weed) and thrive in a wide range of garden/meadow habitats from the U.S. eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains. Milkweed has had a long history of medicinal, every day, and military use in the U.S. (milkweed contains about 2% latex and attempts were made to use it as a natural substitute for rubber during WWII, though no large-scale success was documented).
Milkweed flowers are some of the most complex plants in the plant kingdom rivaling orchids with their complexity. Notice the five petals above as they reflex backwards exposing the staminal crown which is surrounded by a five-membrane corona in the center. That corona acts as a sheath for the inner horn with glands holding pollen sacs are located between the hoods. Milkweed provides an important source of food for Monarch butterflies which sadly aren’t seen often in my urban neighborhood with sightings of this week’s ‘critter,’ the Swallowtail flitting around it far more common.
Swallowtails are large, colorful butterflies who throw down the winged-gauntlet for Norman and Elsa to try to follow their flight patterns (unsuccessfully I might add). These “birdwing butterflies,” so named due to their exceptional size, angular wings, and birdlike flight, include over 550 species. Although the majority are tropical, members of the family inhabit every continent except Antarctica.
Did you know many states honor Swallowtails by naming them as their state insect? Oregon, Virginia, Georgia, Delaware, and South Carolina are among them and the Black Swallowtail is listed as Oklahoma’s state butterfly.
It’s a long holiday weekend in the Northern Hemisphere with the U.S. celebrating Independence Day on Monday and Canada Day on July 1. This year, Canada Day has been marred with the recent finding of hundreds of children’s remains at residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Celebrations have been muted as the country reckons with its treatment of indigenous peoples. We bow our heads to the memory of those victims and hope investigations will reveal how this ever happened.
Do you have big plans for the long weekend? Whatever you do, stay safe, hydrated and wear sunscreen but take time to admire the simple sights Nature provides us. As an outspoken critic of fireworks, we hope you’ll be considerate of our furry friends and those who suffer from PTSD who frequent struggle during this noisy time of year.
Live, love, bark! 🐾
42 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ July 2, 2021”
Charlee: “Anything that brings in the butterflies is a good plant in our book, even if it does have ‘weed’ in the name!”
Good point! I prefer to think of them as a wildflower. 😉
I have just now (today) heard of the atrocities and horrible findings of those poor children in Canada. What a travesty. I feel awful being a Canadian myself…what is with peeps anyways. Sigh…sob…
I need to find a place in my messy back garden to plant the lupine seeds…so they can get a foothold before the winter.
And I need to plant the milkweed pods I collected at the edge of my woodsy area. That should help the butterflies around here. And I always replant the seed heads of the coneflowers to keep more coming each year…I have several new spots where they are naturalizing.
All. my columbines were doing well, until they all got eaten by some type of infestation of green worms. (despite me taking them off every day for many days in a row…), UGH.
You have milkweed pods?! That’s awesome. I’ll be curious to see how well they do (along with the lupine seeds). Truth is, despite the Columbine being the state flower I have never had much luck with them. They start out fine and then promptly croak. Sigh.
The stories coming out of Canada are shocking to say the least. For the sake of the victims, I hope there is some sort of recognition/reconciliation of what appears to be a history of genocidal attitude. Have a great weekend and don’t work too hard!
Ma just ordered some milkweed seed! Our neighborhood is trying to grow a sanctuary for the monarchs and bees by everyone planting some milkweed in their gardens! We’ll see if Ma can grow some and not kill it….🤣😂🤣
Ma does have a HUGE passion flower plant that houses the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, so we see lots of them! Paws crossed that she can attract some monarchs!
Have a most FABulous weekend!!! Stay safe, and paws crossed it stays quiet for us all 😎
That is simply awesome! Good luck with your seeds and setting up the sanctuary. Passion flower is another beauty (my son had it in Hawaii when he lived there) and it seemed so lovely and exotic to me.
Yes, we’re praying for quiet though I suspect there will be little of that (the Rockies baseball team have a couple of games and will shot off fireworks afterwards). I found an all natural remedy for anxiety that I hope will make a significant difference in the anxiety level when the big boomers start. Some knucklehead shot several off last night at 1:00 AM. Dog help them if I ever find them. Grrrrr Stay safe and have a great ‘howliday’ weekend.
I love milkweed, and I’ve been trying to grow it for years. Now, we finally have enough sun at our new place. Maybe! What lovely swallowtails. They are glorious!
Swallowtails are the king of the garden butterflies IMHO. So beautiful and they almost hypnotize me as the fly from one flower to another. Good luck growing some milkweed at your new home. The bees should love it!
Love the butterfly! When my husband and I were hiking today we saw a real pretty butterfly being carried by an ant. Sad, that it was dead but just crazy to think how an ant can carry it!!
That is tragic about what happened in Canada. 😔
Happy 4th to you! Have a wonderful weekend! I work the weekend but we will have a cookout on Monday. 🙂
The circle of life can sometimes seem to be a cruel reality. You can’t help but admire the strength and determination of ‘ant-ing’ skills!
What beautiful butterflies! How lovely is the natural world, and what a horrible mess man can make of it.
You absolutely nailed that truism, Helen. Nature knows how to be balanced, man is selfish and wasteful.
Beautiful butterfly shots! “Swallowtail” always makes me think of the Pussycat Swallowtail from Gilligan’s Island, LOL!
Hee, hee…a great trigger response for recalling something beautiful and fun.
The butterflies are so pretty. I did hear on the news about that graveyard (as such) and it is so horrid to think about. Hoping the truth comes out. Have a good holiday weekend and not too many margaritas, LOL.
Ha! Actually I plan to slow my roll on ‘ritas. It’s starting to warm up again so H2O will most likely be the beverage of choice. 😉
Those Butterfliess are so beeuteefull Miss Monika!!
Sweet Norman an Elsa you tried to follow Butterfliess?? Yore both amazin to try…Butterfliess move so quiklee!!
THE flowerss are lovelee two Miss Monika…..
Wee have had alot of rain an allmsot a Torndaoe an chilly tempss…last nite wee had THE heet ON…July 1st?? Wee thott it was Novemburr 1st 😉
Iss nice an warm an sunny today with a North breeze….hope wee can keep it when *heet* wave hitss us!!!!
**purrss** BellaDharma an LadyMew
As always, thanks for your kind words, BellaDharma and LadyMew. Sounds like Mother Nature is topsy turvy in your neck of the woods, too. Butterflies (and sadly bees) are too tempting for Norman not to at least try to follow their travels. He almost caught a fly the other day. Can’t imagine what he’ll do if he actually catches one! LOL
Wee think Mother Nature iss furry upset with Humanity an lettin all of us know how shee feelss Miss Monika!!!
Mee will chase Fliess butt not eat them…UCKY! 😉
LadyMew meowed to mee ‘angel’ Grate Aunty Mingflower’ss boyfrend Monty THE Orange Tabby wuud catch Mothss an eat them; crunchin all THE way…..EEWWW rite????
…”they reflex backwards exposing the staminal crown which is surrounded by a five-membrane corona…” Oooh! I love it when you talk vegetation like that. Have a good one guys. 🍺🍹
😇 Ha! Just trying to amp up my vegetarian talk so people might think I know what I’m talking about. Little do they know…
Happy Fourth of July, Monika.
We likewise hope your red, white and blue is spectacular, John!
Wow! Lots of info… Didn’t know about the state of SC butterfly 🙂
Thanks-hadn’t realize so many states honor Swallowtails either. Have a safe and fun filled weekend.
The fireworks have already begun. Makes me wish I was still in the hospital…
Ugh, so sorry. That racket does not make for a restful environment. I will extend my rain dance to include your area. Nothing like a good downpour to mess with the cretins.
Nah, it rained like the dickens earlier in the week (I could only watch the storms from my bed). Now we’re in for a dry week… so I can only hope a few hands, fingers and unmentionables gets blown odd of the idiots for schadenfreude…
Here’s to schadenfreude for the unmentionables. Couldn’t happen to nicer cretins.
I didn’t hear about the children’s remains being found in Canada. We shy away from the so called media. Depressing.
We are home and intend to stay there until it’s time to shop on Monday. We don’t party and we’re going to stay away from all the drunks out on the water. It’s frightening.
Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches all around and a smooch to Norman. ♥
For all those so-called patriots, sadly alcohol tends to play center stage. It’s disgusting and frightening.
The story about the Indigenous peoples is heartbreaking. According to a Guardian online story “Horrifying reports of unmarked graves of children at residential “schools” in Kamloops, British Columbia, Brandon, Manitoba, and most recently Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan have shocked many Canadians and others around the world.” We hope by exposing this dark ugly story, love and light will shine through for the healing to begin.
I went and googled it after I read your post. So very sad. Yes I hope the truth comes out. 🙂
It is especially horrifying that many of these schools were run by a certain church who shall remain nameless. Just breaks my heart people do this kind of stuff in the name of their hypocritical religion. 😡
Oh my goodness that butterfly is divine (puts mine to shame 😉 ) I can’t remember seeing one in these here parts.
Thank you for the shoutout to our situation. My heart is so heavy with these horrible discoveries. On June 30th, our national radio station played all Indigenous music with interviews of all sorts of people, from survivors of residential schools to musicians, to artists. I kept it tuned in and was amazed at the variety of music. We can only move forward and work on healing.
On a happier note, Hope your weekend is wonderful and that fireworks be kept at a minimum…
We pray the healing begins with a light shining on this horrible darkness.
Your butterfly was so delicate looking. These guys are brutes in comparison! 🦋
Yes. It has to.
Beautiful brutes! And yes, mine did have that ethereal feel to it 😉
no butterflies in antarctica? something learnt today.. but what is with ants? because of the name ant-arctica? ;O))) have a good independence day …. with joy and without sorrows…
With a name like that, you’d expect ants, wouldn’t you? LOL If we can get through without too many fireworks, it’ll be a successful and happy weekend. Hope yours is ‘furbulous.’
that yellow butterfly is extra special to me. When Dakota passed at our home, within seconds of his passing a butterfly that looked just like that, literally flew against the window across from where he was when we were holding him.
Aww, Caren. Sounds like your sweet boy’s spirit was soaring heavenward. 💖