Butterflies and Bees

This morning I tried walking on my treadmill and had to stop when my knee was bothering me too much. It isn't bothering me just to walk around. For some reason, the treadmill overtaxed it and it was giving me grief. I'm learning to accept this about myself...that my knee is going to hurt for the rest of my life, and I'll just have to make adjustments when necessary. I've never injured it, although I do have a diagnosis of two meniscal tears. The tears are age-related, however, and so there's really no effective treatment. Oh well. Truly, it's not a big deal. I just have to make adjustments and change my plans when necessary.

Today I went out into the garden earlier than usual to feed the birds and water the annuals. I took my camera along just in case. There were lots of little things to see in the garden today. As I was walking back to the house with the empty bird feeders, I noticed this strawberry the squirrels missed.

Since I'm the only person around here who can eat strawberries, I grabbed it up and popped it into my mouth. These are Hood strawberries, the very best and sweetest available in Oregon. Yum.

As I went around the corner of the house, I noticed that the purple hydrangea is in full bloom now. Next time I take its picture, I'll stand back and give you a look at the whole thing. I was distracted by the weeds today and stood there a while pulling up anything within easy reach.

The annuals require that I water from two separate spigots. One has become overgrown with raspberries, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Today I noticed the first ripe raspberry. Since all seeded berries are off limits for the other human resident of the Three Cats Ranch, I snatched that one off the vine and popped it into my mouth too. A little tart, but I suffered happily.

Growing beside the raspberries are two butterfly bushes. This purple one blooms in the spring. The yellow one will bloom later in the summer. They are difficult to photograph because of their conical shape (I guess). They don't pose well, and so I'm rarely happy with the pictures I've taken of them.

Butterfly bushes are considered a noxious weed and an invasive species in Oregon. They are no longer sold in nurseries. We purchased these from a nursery, on sale at the time, probably at the end of their nursery heyday. I can't say I've ever noticed them taking root anywhere else on the property, and so I'm not sure why they've been classified as an invasive species. Ours have become so overgrown and ugly that we'll probably take them out in a couple of years. Mike will have to retire first, however. They'll never make it to the top of the priority list while he's holding down a full-time job. Less than two years now.

I'm most excited watching the sunflowers right now. I have 15 plants of six different varieties and almost all of them are now sporting flower heads. I'm thinking they'll open up within the next two weeks, and so I'm watching them very carefully. These are planted in the open spaces of the culinary herb garden.

I noticed the lavender is covered with bees of all kinds. 

And I stood for quite a while waiting for this little butterfly to light long enough in one spot for me to take its picture. I've learned that with bees and butterflies, I must wait for the bug to come to me. Chasing them around will only result in frustration. I stood back quite a ways to get this one.

I've identified it as pieris rapae, commonly known as the small cabbage white butterfly. 

Sadly, the largest of our two cherry trees has a bad case of leaf spot. We're blaming the days of soaking rain followed by weeks of hot weather. It's hard to see in this picture, but the center leaves are turning yellow and dropping off along with the unripe cherries. Our tree guy was out to take a look at it the other day. On the bright side, we won't lose this well-established tree, but it's going to look worse before it looks better.

The daylilies, on the other hand, are looking marvelous. They're having their best year ever.

As long as I was looking at the cherry trees, I looked at the plum tree too. I looked for a long time before spotting the first plum. I only saw about half a dozen. These are about the size of a ping pong ball. It rained during the time it was flowering and so I suspect it didn't get well pollinated. That's disappointing because we've been gone the past two years when the plums ripened. I was hoping for a good crop this year. Oh well.

And finally, the first cherry tomatoes have appeared. These are sungold cherry tomatoes...so sweet. I'm looking forward to eating them.

So I think I've used all the time I can use if I'm truly going to get those paper-pieced tulips finished today. Better get going.

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

CJ Smith said...

I love your garden photo tours! I always had a large and productive vegetable garden when I lived in southern California. Now that I'm Arid-zona, I pretty much limit myself to one yellow pear tomato in a pot. :-( It's great fun to see what new garden delights you find on each walk through!

Doreen Auger said...

Loved the garden stroll. Our cherry trees (tart) are doing well....we've gotten the rains but w/o blistering heat so we have high hopes. DH has got a fab recipe for cherry wine so 1/2 of the cherries go that direction.....the rest for yummy pies! We are a bit behind you, here in the upper Midwest, but the landscape is a breathtaking green and I'm lovin' it!!!! A little cutting today then off to the river RV. Have a lovely weekend and remember...it's never too early to start that "honey do" retirement list!!!!!! LOL!

liniecat said...

Well you won't need any tomatoes in your veggie boxes that's for sure : )
Ive had a fair few strawberries from the plants I got last year. But my goodness, sweet they aint! Fortunately sliced and sprinkled with sugar and left in the fridge for an hour and they are delightful.
Buddleias are sold over here but really they don't need to be because they seed themselves on any barren urban area. I often see them leafily growing half way up old buildings and always smile because their tenacity to survive has to be respected!
I had them in my last house and twice each year had to hack them right back to control them but when in flower they were such a joy to see, smothered in butterflies.
I truly love lilies but no longer grow them or have them in the house. The pollen is poisonous to cats and I'm pretty sure one of my Siamese cats fell prey to it. He was always brushing past them on the mantle shelf when they were in vases, he would bat hell out them just for devilment! A post mortem would have confirmed it but he had pollen on his muzzle and it was the vets best guess at the time.

Pam said...

My lilies are doing great too! Our wild cherry trees are ripe, but usually gone by now due to birds. They are still around. Weird. :)

quiltzyx said...

Thanks for the garden tour today! Very nice that you got to eat a couple of samples too - as well as saving Mike from them!!

Brown Family said...

At least you got one strawberry and one raspberry!