Summer is rushing on, always too fast and never waiting for me to catch up on all my gardening and outdoor plans. No long weekend trips to gardens in Montreal and Chicago. Just work, teenage-boy wrangling, some live music and visits to parks and gardens around the city.
I've seen tons of bees, a couple hummingbirds and a few butterflies in Central Park and at the New York Botanical Gardens. Cabbage White butterflies are plentiful and some sleep in the variegated dogwood in the West 148 Street garden, cleverly hidden until I disturb them during watering sessions. There were a few Swallowtails, Red Admirals and a Gray Hairstreak in that garden also.
Eastern Black Swallowtail on ironweed
At the Native Plant Garden, NYBG
Tiger Swallowtail at NYBG
This tattered Question Mark butterfly spent a lot of time in the Habitat Garden at PS188.
Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the Habitat Garden at PS188
I always keep my eyes peeled for Monarch butterflies and although I notice milkweeds growing in vacant lots and roadside weedy patches, I've seen no evidence of monarch caterpillars. I often stop to ask other gardeners if they've sighted any and got only one positive reply. Have you? Please let me
know if you've see any, how many and where.
Monarchs are truly beautiful.
I finally spied a couple Monarch butterflies in the Experimental Gardens at NYBG a few days ago. Then the couple became a threesome. They flew together high in the sky, playing or battling in circles then heading off in different directions, landing on buddleia and then finding each other again. Monarchs are large butterflies and I was surprised how swiftly and skillfully they flew. These three did not bounce around in the jovial manner of Cabbage Whites. They darted, glided and changed direction very quickly, almost like dragonflies. It is no wonder that they make it from Canada to Mexico and back each year.
I looked at these three Monarchs with awe for a long time, happy that they were around and hoping to see many more before summer ends.