Have you seen a swallowtail?

No kidding, years ago, we’d see dozens of these big guys. This year, this tiger swallowtail is the first we’ve seen in this bushy garden. True, the these Joe Pye Weed flowers just began blooming, but the dogbane has been in flower for a month and attracting all kinds of bees… Just no butterflies.

What’s your swallowtail count?

Thirsty Thursday

Folks, It’s late summer and the rains have been good to us lately. Lots of thick vegetation around the pods in our area. Perhaps you recognize some of these water-loving plants?

Yes, you might say I’m horning in a bit on Hickory’s mystery column…but that’s okay because he won’t be posting this Sunday.

The tall pink plant is Joe Pye Weed.

The shorter but brilliant red one is Cardinal Flower.

Both are good choices if you have a bit of a wet area. Water-loving plants can pull up the extra water in a spot like that and prevent mosquitos from laying their eggs.


J is for Joe Pye Weed

Looking over the last years of our Blogging From A to Z Challenge, I discovered we squirrels have used about every spring flower we can think of for the letter J. So here’s summer one: Joe Pye Weed.

Joe Pye Weed 2015

It’s a tall, tall, native with huge pink flower heads that are a favorite of the insects.

Joe-Pye Weed with Tiger Swallowtail

Decide if you have room at the back of your garden! Planting season has just begun!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve


Can you tell we’re in a theme with summer wildflowers?

Mystery #98


Again, this one is blooming now! By the way, this is my 98th time posting the Nature’s Mystery column. Going to have to come up with something special for #100 two weeks from now!


Yes, we had a couple of correct guesses today! This is Joe Pye Weed, Eutrochium Purpureum, one of the tallest native wildflowers in the east–they can be seven feet tall. Sadly, they are not strong enough for a squirrel to climb.

The flower heads are coming into bloom now and are a butterfly magnet. That is in normal years. This year we squirrels haven’t seen too many butterflies at all. How about you humans? Are you seeing many?

A Boneset Species

This blue-black wasp caught my eye and got me to notice a plain white flower that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Many insects were feeding on it, much like the Blue Mistflower closer to my leaf nest.

Miz Flora had some trouble identifying the plant. “I can narrow it to species related to both the Mistflower and the Joe-Pye Weed, the Eupatorium family. Checking my book, I think with the flower heads longer than wide and the uppermost leaves alternate, it may be Eupatorium serotinum, Late-flowering Boneset.”

I did see the few lone leaves at the top, whereas in the lower pars of the stalk, the leaves all matched opposite.

“Which is typical in bonesets,” Miz Flora said. “I’m not sure what they are comparing for the lateness of the bloom, but the flower heads are oblong shaped.” She snapped her book closed. “Close as you’ll get, Nutmeg. Lots to do now, with fall approaching. Acorns, you know,” she said and leaped off.

Hmm. Nothing since I met Miz Flora last spring had put her off a plant identification. I started gathering acorns myself.

Joe-Pye Weed

Miz Flora pointed me to an unusual plant for a suburban garden, but we’ve got one. Oh, several, she says, and they’re spreading around by seed now.

It’s Joe-Pye Weed, an Euthrochium species. Kind of hard to miss because they are tall for a flower – six to eight feet once they get established. And as you can see, quite popular with nectar-feeding insects.

In the short time we visited, a Tiger Swallowtail, a bumblebee and another solitary bee visited and several other smaller insects came and went, too fast to see what they were. You can see one flying through the bumblebee photo.


It’s neat how all those bitty flowers that attract even the smallest insects combine to make a huge head of pink on this wildflower.