The Butterfly Ballet

Zebra Swallowtail on Lantana

Zebra Swallowtail on Lantana

The stage is set.  A symphony of birds and frogs fills the garden with song.

Now we watch for the flying ballet of butterflies and hummingbirds to begin their annual performance.

June 30, 2014 butterfly 009

This lone Zebra Swallowtail visited the Lantana yesterday morning as I watered the garden.

We’ve spotted her a few times over the last few days, and I was happy to find her close enough to share photos with you.

June 30, 2014 butterfly 004

Our butterflies frequently visit Lantana, Hibiscus,  and the Butterfly Tree ready to bloom near the ravine.

Tree Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon

Tree Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, a favorite of our swallowtails.


Our Joe Pye Weed opened its first blossom yesterday, and we have several patches of Salvia in bloom.


Hibiscus, "Kopper King" opening its first bloom this season.

Hibiscus, “Kopper King” opening its first bloom this season.

July and August find our garden full of butterflies.

We hope these luscious Canna blossoms will entice the hummingbirds.

We hope these luscious Canna blossoms will entice the hummingbirds.

Let the show begin!  The audience is filled with anticipation. . .


June 30, 2014 butterfly 002

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

June 30, 2014 butterfly 006

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

14 responses to “The Butterfly Ballet

    • 😉 Hoping this one lays eggs in the garden. Best wishes, WG

      • Any more Monarch sightings?

        • No- My husband spotted a painted lady in the yard, but neither of us has seen another Monarch. We haven’t been to that field for a few weeks, but haven’t seen any here, either. Our Hibiscus should be covered in swallowtails by now, but we just aren’t seeing them. This one was a rarity for this season. Here is a question for you…. which has been troubling me lately…. Where do the butterflies go when these immense storms- especially the tornadoes- roll through? Habitat is destroyed, and their generations disrupted. We keep watching for them, and for the hummingbirds. Best wishes, WG

          • I think they try to find shelter in dense growth and possibly in hollow trees, but they are vulnerable no doubt to the vagaries of nature.
            I hope Arthur doesn’t give you too much trouble. What a 4th of July gift.

            • I’m so sorry for all of those who booked beach vacations. Looks like it will make it to Nova Scotia by the latest forecast track. Hope it doesn’t cause problems in your area, either. I hope all of the small creatures can find shelter-

              • I, too, feel sorry for the vacationers as well as the hospitality/service industry that really depends on this holiday weekend.
                We are getting buckets of rain – 6″ over the past week. The cool jet stream from Canada and the tropical moist heat are meeting above our heads! The thunder last night was tremendous!
                Are you getting a lot of wind? How close are you to the shore? Try to enjoy your 4th 🙂

                • Dear Eliza- I was up and down all night watching the progress of the storm. The wind and rain woke me around 3, and I was back and forth from TV to couch until I finally gave up and got up a little after 7. We didn’t get so much rain- and we needed rain. So glad you have been getting it. It rained hard enough here that we can see where it flowed in ditches and mulch. We are inland a ways, between the James River and the Chesapeake Bay and have the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula between us and the Atlantic. But we are surrounded by water and so the weather is always active here. We didn’t have thunderstorms here, but there were small tornadoes downriver around Norfolk and Va Beach. We had a wonderful morning out taking photos around Jamestown, enjoying a cool breezy morning and abundant wildlife. Hope you enjoy your holiday today, too. Best wishes, WG

  1. Lovely pictures! I think the Zebra Swallowtail is the prettiest of all the swallowtails but I don’t see many of them around here!

  2. I just bought three lantana yesterday. Hope to see more butterfly activity soon. I have seen the usual amount of hummingbirds but far fewer butterflies this year. A bit worrying.

    • Here, too, Barbara. We had some hummingbirds early, but haven’t seen one for weeks. We have fuschia up close to the windows on the deck and haven’t seen a single one since they bloomed. We have far fewer butterflies than usual- but I hope they will turn up soon. I thought of you this morning when I saw the Kent’s Beauty for sale at Homestead Garden Center. Have you found one yet? Best wishes, WG

  3. Beautiful butterflies and flowers, WG. 🙂 I was just commenting recently that I haven’t seen any butterflies since early spring when the little blue ones were flitting about. We have lots of blooms that the butterflies like, but not a butterfly to be seen so far.

    • Strange, isn’t it, Robin? We haven’t seen nearly as many as usual by this time in the summer. I certainly hope they find both of our gardens soon. Surely you have all the right things planted to attract what butterflies may be there. So happy you enjoyed the photos of this little swallowtail. Best wishes, WG

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