Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cool Rain, Butterflies and Purple Tobacco

Where am I? It's late afternoon, raining, and in the upper 60s. This can't be central NC on the 2nd of August. Fell into a wormhole? The garden is going to love this. I took a chance last week and advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having and planted out some heat-loving stuff that were outgrowing their 1 gallon pots (chiefly summer phlox and daylilies) so I am extra grateful for the rain.

I have been gardening a lot, but at night have not been interested in going through pictures. Now I have so many pictures! lol Some day I might get through them.

Someone wondered aloud once why I would plant butterfly bush next to my house (since it can be gawky and lanky). Because butterflies, that's why. I can walk right out onto my front porch and enjoy butterflies while remaining in the shade after a hot day in the garden. The two best butterfly attractants in my garden are butterfly bushes and Joe Pye Weed. The Joe Pye Weed is still in the bud stage but the buddleia are a-flutter with butterflies on a warm sunny day.

One morning the butterfly bush by the house was covered with Silver-spotted Skippers

and American Ladies.

Later in the afternoon Tiger Swallowtails
and Black Butterflies joined the party. There are always a lot of Tiger Swallowtails around due to all of the tulip poplars and red maples, but I don't see Black Swallowtails as often. The only native host plant we have here is water hemlock (and very little of it -- I pull it whenever I see it, since it's such a highly poisonous plant), so we've been planting a lot of parsley plants the last couple of years. A caterpillar chewed down one of them last week. Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a native host plant I've seen at the NC Botanical Garden. Next year when the Garden sends out its seed list I'll have to see if it's available, or check to see if the plant is for sale at the Garden.

There used to be butterfly bushes all around the southern and western sides of the house but all have died out over the winters, mainly due to the fact that they were too close to the roof dripline. It's OK. I grew them from cuttings and they were put there to provide quick color. I had to take down three buddleia in the gardens below the house this year because they were not aging well and looked out of place anyway. I've started to root more cuttings from 'Potter's Purple' to plant elsewhere because the butterflies love them so much.

Speaking of purple, I have purple flowering tobacco! I saw some at the garden at the Fort Fisher Aquarium 2 or 3 years ago and have wanted some in the garden ever since. The first year I tried to grow it the seeds didn't germinate, but this year, success! The color is a deep rich purple. The cultivar name is 'Perfume Deep Purple' so supposedly it's fragrant too.


  1. How wonderful to see a post with your beautiful blooms and butterflies.

    I have missed you! Enjoy that cool weather.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  2. You have a lovely garden.
    I love the advice you gave to Lorraine...Ignore the Trolls. I will use that phrase when necessary, if you don't mind!

  3. Beautiful. It's wonderful to see your garden again! I recently planted my first Buddleja, a dwarf variety. It's still small and, in my drought-stricken garden, I've been careful to keep it water to ensure it gets established. I don't know that I'll see anything like the variety of butterflies your plants attract but fingers are crossed.

  4. I have Joe-Pye and Butterfly bushes near my house too for the same reason. Love relaxing and watching all the pretty activity.
    Love your gardens.

  5. I've got the same Butterfly bush, and I share your opinion, totally! In fact, the buterflies love it so much, I'm going to plant a few more.

  6. I have been thinking about planting a buddleia instead of a rose for once and your post is very encouraging. It is totally amazing by how many butterflies your bush is frequented. I would enjoy seeing that close to my house, too! I feel that in the last couple of years the number of butterflies that we see in the backyard has decreased. I assume it is due to the fact that they find less and less food, so it would be a really good idea to help them out a bit... Wishing you a nice week,

  7. Your butterfly bushes are lovely with all the butterflies! Joe Pye weed is on my list, and I hope to plant some in September. We have had an odd sort of summer. Plenty of typical hot, sultry days, but we continue to have some cool day now and then. I am not complaining!

  8. Great butterfly pictures! Last year I finally got around to planting a butterfly bush - a dwarf variety called 'Adonis Blue'. This is the first year we are starting to see significant flowering. The other day it attracted a tiger swallowtail. I love the sweet scent, which is why I planted it near the sidewalk.

  9. All the beautiful butterflies--wow! Many people have complained this year about the lack of butterflies, but they seem to be alive and doing well in your garden. I haven't seen any of the Painted Ladies here this year, though we have had a lot of Red Admirals. Love the purple flowering tobacco! I planted seeds of the white a few years ago, and it has self-seeded every year since. I wonder if the purple is as prolific. Good to see you posting again, Sweet Bay!

  10. Sweet Bay, we love the butterfly bushes, and they do attract our lovely butterflies.

    Oregon banned them (Buddleja davidii) four years ago and classified these along with ivy as a noxious weed! Now only approved seedless butterfly bush cultivars can be sold or propagated. Good to see yours are thriving. ;)

    1. I knew butterfly bushes were a big problem in the Pacific NW. In my neighborhood Callery Pears are sprouting everywhere. My farm is at the edge of a small subdivision and everyone else has them. Now they are coming up like crazy on my place.

  11. The butterflies are lovely. Interesting that the tobacco plant has such pretty flowers.

  12. I welcomed that cold rainy dayGlad to see your butterflies--haven't noticed so many this year. I have one butterfly bush but it's near the back fence where I can't check on the butterflies often.

  13. I love all the butterflies on the Buddleia. There's no room for a large one in my garden so I have a patio variety in a pot which still attracts many butterflies. I'm surprised on reading many US blogs that it is classed as a noxious weed, as it grows readily in the hedgerows here in the UK and is seen as an aid to helping butterflies.

  14. Your Buddleia is a dream and all these butterflies on it! Love your purple tobacco! Great colour. Have to search for one in my area!
    All my best from Austria and a happy happy time

  15. I have Golden Alexanders but have never seen a caterpillar on them. Ever. Add fennel and rue to support the largest numbers of swallowtail species. Love that tobacco but I'm a sucker for any purple flower. This summer has been incredibly mild. We haven't hit 100 yet and have only had a small number of days above 90. No arguments here! :o)

  16. Wow, your photos are a testament to how great of an attractant Buddleia is for butterflies!! I need to add more. My purple died a couple winters ago & 'Honeycomb' is such a late bloomer that it hasn't even bloomed yet. I did not know they could be rooted? I may have to try my hand at that.
    The weather really has been strange this summer. We had a 60 degree day the end of July ~ set a record for the lowest high temperature on that date. It's been rainy & cool much of the summer. This week finally in the 90's ~ yay!! I need some heat before heading into another winter.


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