November 15, 2013

I saw a black swallowtail today

Today was a gift.

I didn't expect to participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day this month. But believe it or not, there are a few flowers still blooming here.

In fact, today I saw beautiful blooms, foliage, moss, berries, and even a black swallowtail butterfly! It's Nov. 15 ... in Wisconsin! We've already had temperatures in the teens (-8C) ... and measurable snow!

Seeing a swallowtail is very uncommon this late in the season. And because I wasn't speedy enough to photograph it and positively ID it, I can't be sure. But I did, indeed, see a black butterfly with yellow and blue markings! My neighbor saw it, too. We were both out raking and talking, so I couldn't run off and say, "Excuse me while I chase that butterfly so I can get a picture for my blog ..."

Anyway, I had my iPhone in my pocket while I was raking, and I captured a few shots. The quality is a little grainy, but here are the blooms:




Mums, Alyssum, and even a bright yellow Pansy!



Saturday is Foliage Follow-Up. Does Moss count as foliage? Notice how this Moss is sending out new growth? Is that strange for November?



Common for November, around here, are berries aplenty, including on the Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) and the Yew bushes (Taxus spp.).


Back to raking tomorrow. But I still can't believe I saw a butterfly on Nov. 15!


Oh, and lady beetles, too.

42 comments:

  1. Pretty berries. I'm always amazed how hardy pansies can be. And what a surprise to see a butterfly when it has been so cold. I haven't seen any butterflies for quite a while.

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    1. Yes, Pansies are amazing. I've seen them blooming in sheltered areas during the winter in Chicago and Washington, DC. These are in a pot that I've kept outside. I think I might pull them inside before the brutal weather sets in--maybe they would keep blooming in my sun room, which we keep closed off from the rest of the house. The butterfly was weird. I don't think I've ever seen one that late, but someone said sometimes they try to hibernate in leaf litter. And then yesterday when the entire neighborhood was raking, I guess that would be a natural time to make an appearance. Wild.

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  2. Wow! Last year I saw a butterfly in January and couldn't believe it either. Sometimes on warmer days they will come out having hunkered down in leaf litter or bark but it makes me wonder what they are doing since there aren't any blooms available. Those moments are truly gifts! I love your berries!

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    1. Yes, I heard that, too, about the leaf litter. I hope this particular butterfly finds another warm spot because it's supposed to be quite cold again next week. Butterflies seem like signs of grace to me. I always smile when I see them.

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  3. Strange happenings in your garden! ;) I hope the ladybug and the butterfly both have found some warm spots to stay. I didn't even know that Yew had berries - that photo is beautiful! And I love the moss.

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    1. Yes, it was a mild, partly cloudy day yesterday. So maybe some of the insects and plants thought it was spring. Oh, but sadly they are so wrong. Winter weather will march in again next week. Thanks, Holley.

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  4. That pansie is gorgeous, always amazes me how robust they are given their apparent delicacy. Hope that butterfly found somewhere safe and warm.

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    1. Isn't it a pretty little bloom? The Pansies are in a pot, so I think I'll bring them inside--maybe they'll bloom a while longer. I hope the butterfly found a warm spot, too.

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  5. Yes sometimes we are so lucky to see something special like a butterfly in November. At this moment we have ladybugs too, I saw quite a few of them in the garden last week. I have been raking this afternoon and there are still a lot of fallen leaves. I wish you happy raking tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks! It rained today, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I hope it's dry enough for me to finish up my job before it gets cold again. Indeed, seeing a butterfly in November is nifty! The lady beetles didn't surprise me so much because I think they just find warm spots around the house's foundation. Sometimes they crawl inside.

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  6. Your Iphone did well. Or I should say, you did well with the photos. Thanks for sharing. Jack

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    1. Thanks, Jack. It works OK occasionally. Sometimes, with enough light, the photos are surprisingly high-quality. But in my shady yard, the results are usually disappointing. I did a post this past summer about a day at the beach using photos from my iPhone, and the quality was a little better with plenty of light.

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  7. We might be a bit warmer than you. I saw one two days ago and was wondering on what he was feeding. It was at the Falls and no flowers were anywhere. In my garden their is verbena that they like and Scabiosa, but nothing in the fields. Right now it is 58° and tomorrow will be in the upper 60's.

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    1. I think you are a bit warmer, in general. You are zone 6, right? And I am zone 5. I, too, wonder what nectar the swallowtail was able to find. There are blooms here and there, but not much of a supply left. Upper 60s in November--wow! I thought the 50s was nice. We will plunge back into winter next week.

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  8. You've got way more color around your garden than I do. And I'm amazed you saw a butterfly. I have seen them in early spring, but never this late. That was a gift!

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    1. Yeah, it was pretty strange to see that butterfly. At first I thought it was a leaf, and then when I realized it was a swallowtail I gasped a little bit. I think my neighbor thought I was a little too enthusiastic. Anyway, it was magical, but I suppose it won't survive for very long, although apparently in milder climates they occasionally hibernate as adults during the winter. Amazing, in any case.

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  9. Lovely to see you still haven’t got a garden covered in snow, Beth! Over here there are no more butterflies to see, but I have seen several ladybirds and they have plenty to eat, there are lots of aphids around too! My yew had lots of berries this year, it doesn’t have berries every year so it was nice to see them, I planted some of them hoping I get some saplings – I can always hope, not sure how many years it will take though!

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    1. Hi Helene! We had snow for two days last week, and then it got "warm" again. Believe me, the butterfly was a shocker. It must have been snuggling in some of the leaves that we were raking. I love berry photos this time of year--glad to hear you have some to cheer you during the holidays, too!

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  10. That must have been some sort of super -butterfly! But what a lovely surprise for you. The colour of those cranberries is stunning.

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    1. Yes, it was strange but lovely. Sometimes I think it's good to not always "capture" experiences on camera. Still, I would have loved to have a photo of that--so I could ID it and prove it. ;-)

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  11. I definitely count moss as foliage and a beautiful one at that!I recently saw a black swallowtail, too, but I am over a thousand miles south of you. I thought it was late in the season, here. I hope your butterfly flies south in a hurry!

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    1. Oh good (re: the Moss). I love Moss, and it's definitely one of the most interesting things in my garden during the early winter and the early spring. Swallowtails (black and tiger) are the most common butterflies in my garden during the summer, but I don't ever remember seeing one in mid-November before!

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  12. Poor little shivering thing, I can only wish I guess that it will make it through the winter. I know..but let's not say it.

    Jen

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    1. I know. :( Actually, it was pretty warm here for a few days, but now it's getting cold again. I don't know if there's any chance it, or its progeny, can survive. But if not, it will be a beautiful meal for another animal.

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  13. Gosh ... minus 8 ! I'm surprised that you have any blooms at all ! Your poor butterfly must have been freezing ! It's nearly time to decamp from the garden to the fireside and look at flower catalogues until spring ...

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    1. I was surprised, too. I thought the Lamiums might have blooms, but no, it was the Pansies in the pot that took the bloom prize this month. Bring on the warm hearth, the good books, the lap cats, and the plant catalogues!

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  14. Amazing really...with our several freezes there are no blooms and no insects...such bliss seeing a butterfly

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    1. Yes, it was weird. I think it was the warm gulf air circulating north for a few days that set the plants and insects into thinking it was spring. Now the real winter will hit. Time to hibernate!

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  15. Black Swallowtail.....What a wonderful surprise! You still have lots to enjoy in your garden. Are the high bush cranberries edible? We only have low bushes that grow in bogs here......

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    1. The Highbush Cranberries (Viburnum trilobum) aren't related to the bog Cranberries, but apparently they are edible. I haven't tried them (we leave them for the birds), but here's an interesting article about them: http://bit.ly/1aO3Vl2.

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  16. I always feel a little sadness when i know the plants in the temperate climes, no matter how beautiful as yours, will just succumb to frost and snow! Never mind that is still better than what happened after a typhoon specially the supertyphoon.

    I can imagine you chasing a butterfly because it is not common anymore now. In our part of the world, they are always present and the least is maybe 2-3 species in my garden. But being common i don't chase them anymore.

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    1. Yes, me too. And I also agree that typhoons and hurricanes and tornadoes are horrible--wish they never had to happen! But you are very fortunate to have butterflies year round. I miss them during the winter!

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  17. AH! You're in WI? I'm in Minnesota! Minneapolis! So I hear ya about the wildly "warmer" temps! Some of our green leaves, still lush and moist, blew off, never giving us the color we were waiting for. Yesterday was lovely, but turned windy and cold at night.

    Thank you so much for coming to visit my post, and your photos are glorious! Anita

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    1. Yes, indeed. I love Minneapolis! I have family over in Minnesota, so it's one of my "home" states. ;-) We had some weird leaf drop, too. But some of the leaves turned absolutely stunning one day, and then dropped the next. Overnight autumn to winter, and then back to summer/autumn again. I love your blog! And thank you for your kind comments!

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  18. Wiosną cieszą nas pierwsze kwiatki, motylki i biedronki. Jesienią cieszymy się też z kwiatków, które jeszcze są, zadziwia nas motyl i biedronka. Pozdrawiam.
    First, we welcome the spring flowers, butterflies and ladybugs. Autumn is also pleased with the flowers, which are still, amazes us butterfly and ladybug. Yours.

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    1. Thanks, Giga. Yes, all of nature is amazing--whenever it chooses to dazzle us, right?! Cheers!

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  19. I'd say a butterfly in November is pretty amazing! I have put off raking leaves until the "perfect day." But Sunday's storms did have one benefit--almost all my leaves blew out into the field:)

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    1. Yes, it was magical, but weird. I raked all the leaves into piles, and then didn't get to them again until today. I raked up about 30 tarps full of leaves today (maybe equivalent to 60 garbage bags). Some, I dumped in the woods (our property), a few I put in the compost bin, and others are scattered around the garden beds as mulch. Glad to be done with that until next spring!

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  20. I saw butterflies very late in the season too and when I went to cut some parsly there were swallowtail caterpillars eating it, in November.

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    1. Strange to see them so late, isn't it? I don't know enough about swallowtails, but I wonder if they can survive the winter in any other state than the chrysalis? They are lovely caterpillars and very plentiful here. I miss them during the winter.

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  21. Thanks for linking in to GBFD. I think your lady beetle is a Harequin as I showed on Wordless Wednesday this week.

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    1. Thanks for hosting! Sorry for the delayed response--it's been wildly hectic around here lately. I'll try to link in more often.

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