Tag Archives: hummingbird moth

Fulfilled

I turned 45 a few weeks ago.

That’s halfway to 90 which means the odds are stacked against me now if I want to say that half of my life still remains.

I know, I despise age complaints as much as you do. There’s always someone who can one up you or has been there before.

“You think that’s bad, I’m 63 and I have consistent pain in my …”

“Try being 76 with …”

“You have no idea what getting old means you son of a …”


My son turns 15 in a few days.

15 is scarily close to 16 which is the age where he is eligible to obtain his driver’s permit.

That’s some insane shit.


We moved into our current home in 2004.

My youngest child is currently 11 and if my math serves me correctly, she should be graduating from college in 2028.

My wife and I have talked about moving to the southern U.S soon after she finishes her schooling (fingers crossed for no medical school or graduate school, not that I wouldn’t be supportive but holy $$$$$ Batman).

That means we’re beyond the halfway point of residing in our current abode.

That means I’m beyond the half way point of composing my masterpiece of a garden.

Numbers are so stressful.


Here is where I now surprise you.

While the fear of my mortality has me up at night and seeking spiritual awakening and I’m genuinely missing the younger versions of my offspring, I love my fucking garden to pieces.

Seriously, no self-deprecation to follow.

It kicks ass and it’s all because of me.

It isn’t perfect and there’s much work to still do in order to obtain world domination, but I look at it right now and feel total fulfillment. It makes me smile. It moves me. It holds countless memories. It makes me mutter “Hell yeah” and it provides me with the perfect muse.

And to bring it all on home, I witnessed my wife utter these exact words as we strolled back to and within view of our home after a short walk last evening:

“Thank you for such a beautiful home.”

“It looks so lush.”

“It’s so not cookie cutter.”

Grab me a kerchief.  

The icing on the cake came courtesy of my daughter:

“I’ve never seen so many bees and butterflies in my life.”

It isn’t easy for me to speak so positively without a bit of snark but I’m going to do just that. The feeling may be fleeting and it may be due to the fact that I enjoyed some hemp oil with my coffee a few hours ago, but who cares. It’s here and now.

A few of my own observations from the weekend:

I finally understand the appeal of Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’) with its flag-like flowers that add a fantastic “see-through” effect.

 

 

The Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’ is thriving like never before and seems cool with a rather wet soil. It also goes without saying that the deer never touch it.

 

The fading of the Astilbe flowers doesn’t take away from this section of  garden and I could argue why it looks even better while in decline.

 

The late afternoon sun completely lights up this part of the garden.

 

 

While Veronica ‘First Love’ doesn’t blow you away, its long blooming period (6-8 weeks) makes it incredibly useful.

 

It wasn’t planned and I’ll never understand why, but the droves of japanese beetles that arrive in my garden this time of year, tend to congregate on one shrub (Dappled Willow or Salix) and inflict their damage there only.

I can deal with allowing them to go to town for a while and then cutting back the chewed up branches weeks later. It has become the sacrificial lamb.

I would ask that they get a room though when things get frisky.

 

The following pics celebrate all those who frequent the flowers and bring the garden to life, from morning to evening, all summer long.

 

 

 

 

The latest and not always greatest in the garden

Some observations from out in the garden:

This white bee balm is the only one to have survived last winter and while it is nice to see it blooming, it honestly doesn’t do much for me and the powdery mildew is real bad, worse than with all of the other bee balm. We don’t know until we try, right?

white bee balm

 

Right plant for the right location = happiness, as seen with the Physostegia (Obedient Plant) below. This first photo was taken back in May when I dug up and divided a massive batch of these and relocated them to my newly extended and very empty garden bed.

divided obedient

Two months later and they are thriving in a very wet and full sun location. I am very psyched for the massive pink display to arrive next month.

obedient vivid

 

You’ve all seen all of my numerous pics of Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ and read my raving reviews of this perennial but in the spirit of my last post and with full disclosure, here is the reality of the “legs” on these right now.

veronica bad

Fortunately, I’ve shielded most of them with other low lying plants so the blooms remain the attraction.

veronica good

 

I love how one ‘Karl Foerster’ grass (Calamagrostis) can break up a mass of perennials and not only lend a different height/uprightness, but a different texture as well.

front bed

 

I cleared this area of nasty Canada Thistle by cutting them all at soil level and not by attempting to pull out the roots like a dope which has failed me miserably for years now since it actually multiplies the number of weeds when pieces of root break off.

thistle path

I will now finally track the results properly. Here is one example of the cutting.

thistle cut

And about one week later. I’m going to now cut it back again soon and will continue to do so until it kills itself by sapping all of the plant’s energy. Or so I hope. More to come.

thistle

 

I just purchased a few ‘Delft Lace’ Astilbes solely because I fell in love with the red stems and red tinged foliage. I’ll be sure to track this one for you and hopefully I don’t fry them since you know, they need constant moisture and it is the dead of summer. Smart.

delft astilbe

 

My attempt at a path with a true destination worth visiting.

 

These purplish bee balm are incredible right now and are my favorite current place in the garden. 

planter bed 2

 

planter bed

 

bee balm 2

They are bringing in a ton of visitors. 

hummingmoth 2

 

butterfly bee balm 2

 

Check out all of the action with this video.

QOTD – Where do you purchase most of your plants? And I want specific names and locations please.

Thank you.

 

Hummingbird Moth

My absolute favorite time of the year in the garden is the beginning of summer when it is hot, the days are long and flowers are in full bloom everywhere. I like it hot. Like a lot hot. During that same time, my garden is inundated with a certain creature who happily flies from flower to flower in search of the almighty nectar. And her name is hummingbird moth.

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth and milkweed

Upon first glance, this moth looks and moves just like a hummingbird but upon closer inspection, it is clearly a damn handsome moth. The species that visits my garden year after year is Hemaris thysbe, also known as the hummingbird clearwing. Some facts about this hummingbird moth:

  • They hover in the air and unfurl their long tongue to sip nectar just like the hummingbird.
  • They are typically an olive and burgundy color.
  • They range from Alaska to Oregon in the west and Maine to Florida in the east. They are most commonly found in the east, typically in your standard suburban garden.
  • The caterpillars feeds off a number of different plants including Honeysuckle and Hawthorn, both of which are located on my property (who knew?)
  • They then burrow into the soil to overwinter.
  • The moth emerges in late spring with red scales which it loses upon its first flight. The wings are then transparent, hence the name “clearwing”.
  • They are most commonly seen during the heat of day in summer and most often witnessed sipping the nectar of the Bee Balm plant.
  • They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves and those eggs hatch within a week or so.

While they can be difficult to photograph due to their constant motion, I am up for the challenge each summer and enjoy spending hours following them around like an infant chasing a balloon.

Here is a hummingbird moth enjoying my phlox.

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth and Phlox

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth and phlox

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth and phlox

And as mentioned previously, two of them devouring the nectar of their favorite flower, Monarda (Bee Balm).

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth and Bee Balm

Summer cannot come soon enough.

Critter pics

A lot of “activity” going on in the garden right now:

I chased/stalked this Hummingbird Moth for what felt like hours and here are the best of the photos I was able to take:

I believe this is a Silvery checkerspot on my Mountain Mint:

And after spotting me taking their photos without permission, they tried to hide on the Ninebark. I’m still on to you dudes:

And all the rest: