Although there are still one or two patches of color in our garden, things are gradually winding down now. For me, this is the busiest time of year, clearing away the dead growth, collecting seeds for use next year, moving plants and discarding others.
The pink and orange cosmos, both grown from seed, did very well this year, even towering over my husband, who is 6ft 3ins tall.
The blue Brazilian sage is still going strong although the hummingbirds have moved on to warmer climes now. We had at least one pair, that I know of, that stayed the entire summer. I know they are a pair because I caught them canoodling on one of the cables that runs to the roof of our house. It was quite a high-wire act with the male hovering up and down in front of the female until she adroitly flipped upside-down and he made his move.
Butterflies have been few and far between in the garden this year and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered one lonely swallowtail caterpillar on a sprig of dill. Since the last two batches that we hatched turned out to have been infested with parasitic wasps, I left this one to its own devices.
Another garden guest that was with us all summer was the praying mantis. Although we would occasionally lose track of her, she would invariably pop up again. I don’t know what she was living on but it certainly wasn’t butterflies. Slim pickings!
Apparently she wasn’t the only mantis on the block. These two gave me quite the look when I caught them in flagrante delicto amongst the Joe-Pye-Weed. Not surprisingly, I found two egg cases which I have brought inside for the winter. I thought my 3-year-old granddaughter might be interested to see them hatch out as they have been studying bugs at school.