Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Means Butterflies--In Our Yard and in Mandarin Gardens

Now and then, I repeat a post from a couple of years ago. We have enjoyed a busy butterfly and hummingbird year again, and I thought you might enjoy seeing the lovely 
creatures from this September
2010 post. I have not rewritten it, so the description is of a "date" from back then. The Mandarin Gardens butterfly garden on the south side of Jacksonville, Florida is as lovely and as active as ever. If you live in the area, I encourage you to stop in for some quiet contemplation, surrounded by beauty.

A couple of weeks ago, my master gardener husband suggested a unique "date" to see butterflies at the Mandarin Gardens demonstration garden on Jacksonville's south side, his favorite place to volunteer. Because our weather continues to be fairly hot, we opted for a morning visit and then breakfast out afterwards. It was fantastic, just sitting quietly among the flowers and watching the butterflies and other pollinators work their magic. I resisted pulling out the camera for awhile in order to soak it in--then took on the challenge of capturing photos of very active butterflies. I'll keep the photos small, but you can always click on them to enlarge (sometimes a second click will give you an even closer view).

Master gardener that he is, Mark has also developed our yard into a haven for butterflies and hummingbirds, so I will share some photos from our yard as well as from Mandarin Gardens. According to my field guide, the photos taken at Mandarin Gardens show a Gulf Fritillary (orange with just a few black markings--seen on both yellow and lavender flowers) and a Long-tailed Skipper (brownish one on a bright orange flower).

   The monarchs are just beginning to grace our yard on their way to Mexico; I took the monarch photos this morning. This one looks like a male because of the black spot on a vein of each hind wing. Although I can't always tell a Monarch from a Viceroy as they fly by, I know the Monarchs have been up north for awhile because the milkweed Mark plants for their caterpillars to eat has grown very tall rather than being stripped down to nothing (the yellow flowering plants shown alone in a photo above--very different from what I called milkweed as a child in Michigan). The black Palamedes Swallowtail photos were also taken in our yard, earlier in the summer.

Question of the day: Aren't butterflies amazing--beautiful and captivating in a special way and also so helpful to plant life?


  1. I always notice butterflies and moths, though I don't seem to see too many varieties. One of my favorite memories is when I went to Seattle with one of my daughters' classes and saw the butterfly house. Huge colorful moths and colorful butterflies that made me gasp out loud. A cherished memory for me...and another awesome example of God's hand.

  2. I have been in a butterfly house, too, Sherry, and it is a remarkable experience. Thanks for your reflections.

  3. I love butterfly to. I want to go to the zoo. When they have that butterfly at the zoo in septmber. I think that be so munch fun going to that butterfly at the zoo.

  4. I agree; those butterfly houses are wonderful to visit. Thank you for your comment.