Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

A new butterfly visited the Joe Pye Weed today.  Can anyone identify it for us?

A new butterfly visited the Joe Pye Weed today. Can anyone identify it for us?


Texture, like color, presents itself to our eye and fingertips absolutely everywhere we turn in the garden.

Every petal, leaf, trunk and bit of gravel or soil present intriguing textures for us to explore and enjoy.


August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 038


But so do the creatures who live here with us.


A grasshopper "hides out" on Creeping Jenny.

A grasshopper “hides out” on Creeping Jenny.


And of all the creatures buzzing and skittering around the garden today, our welcome guest, hummingbird moth,  presented the softest and most inviting texture.


Hummingbird Moth feeding on Lantana in the garden this morning.

Hummingbird Moth feeding on Lantana in the garden this morning.


Would you love to reach and and stroke its velvety back?


August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 080

Hummingbird moths are much calmer guests than hummingbirds.

Though their movements from flower to flower are so similiar that many people mistake the moths for the birds; the moths are less skittish around humans with cameras.


August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 069

This guy allowed me to take perhaps 20 shots over several minutes, asking only the nourishment of Lantana nectar in return.

The hummingbirds who interrupted the photo shoot buzzed in and out before I could focus on them; chasing one another away from these Lantana flowers, and across the roof of our house towards the hummingbird delicacies growing around in the back.

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 073

They are also silky soft; immensely “petable” creatures… but I’ve yet to master the art of hummingbird whispering to draw them to land on a finger.

And so my focus returned to the little hummingbird moth; the insect who masquerades as a bird.

When in doubt, look closely for antennae, compound insect eyes, and clear wings.  This identifies the creature as an insect, not a true bird.


August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 082

This is the first one we’ve seen this season.

It is unlikely he is alone, so we will keep an eye out for his companions.

This Painted Lady butterfly shared the Lantana with our Hummingbird Moth.

This Painted Lady butterfly shared the Lantana with our Hummingbird Moth.


Other visitors sporting interesting textures today included butterflies, dragonflies, a grasshopper, and bees.


The first of the lifeless bees we found today rests on a Pelargonium leaf.  Hypertufa stepping stone, made this spring, in the background.

The first of the lifeless bees we found today rests on a Pelargonium leaf.  Glass topped stepping stone, made last winter, in the background.


I was especially disturbed to find several lifeless bees, their bodies resting on leaves.

It is most unusual to find a dead bee here in the garden.

It may be another sign of the advancing season.


We've been trying for weeks to identify this shrubby "volunteer."  Does anyone know this plant?

We’ve been trying for weeks to identify this shrubby “volunteer.” Does anyone know this plant?  The fruit have been hard and dark purple for weeks.  Now they are swelling and turning red.  What a wonderful pebbly texture to their skin.


Just as a few leaves have begun to show gold and red, warning that autumn is coming sooner than we expect; so too the animals begin to respond to the ever turning wheels of time.


Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon, still in bloom, with a visitor.


But our garden was alive for another summer day, animated and  buzzing  with a satisfying array of creatures.


Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly


Scaly skinks climbed the walls and window screens of the house.   Shiny blue black wasps played in the grasses.

August 3, 2014 butterflies 094


Bright red cardinals, and their mates, foraged among the ripening Hickory nuts.


Dragonfly has wonderfully intricate texture in his wings.

Dragonfly has wonderfully intricate texture in his wings.


And finally, the garden has come alive with several species of butterflies.


Painted Lady on Salvia

Painted Lady on Salvia,  with culinary sage with its pebbly texture behind.


Noticing the varying textures of all this life is simply another way to appreciate its beauty.

Another way to drink it all in, while August lasts.


August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 037

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


Weekly One Word Photo Challenge: Texture



Painted Lady on Salvia

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

13 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: TEXTURE | Thinking aloud….

  2. I hate to know the bees are dying, that’s not good. Love all your pictures 🙂 We had 4.59 inches of rain Saturday, can’t hardly believe it but it was crazy!

    • Did you see the “Frappuccino” waterfall video on the Weather Channel? Hope your streams and waterways are nothing like that, after so much rain. I keep waiting for the rain to come here, but so far only fleeting showers. We could use some… but not inches and inches! Hope all is well with you and yours on the mountain 😉

  3. Great post on texture. I do love hummingbird moths and you got some good shots. I was watching one visiting my Monarda yesterday. Your mystery bush looks like Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), which was used a lot in highway landscaping, but has escaped cultivation and is considered invasive. When we moved here there were two in the yard, which we cut down when we learned they were invasive, but sadly, I’ve noticed seedlings in the land surrounding us. They have a lovely scented flower in spring and the birds relish the berries in fall and winter, but it has nasty 2-3″ thorns and is very tough to eradicate. I am still finding seedlings years later.

    • Dear Eliza,
      Thank you for the kind words on the Texture post. We love the hummingbird moths in the garden, and are so happy to finally have them with us this season.

      “Back in the day,” Autumn Olive was a standard in the mail order nursery catalogs. I always looked at it, and may have actually planted it once on a property since it was considered a good food source for songbirds. It is interesting how these plants eventually have adverse environmental impacts and make their way onto the “invasive” lists. You are correct- after looking at lots of photo of Autumn Olive online it is definitely this little shrub, which just sprung up as a volunteer at the base of a Dogwood tree several years back. I’ve cut it back mercilessly each season, which only makes it bushier. This is the first year for flowers and now berries. I loved the flowers, and am happy to have the berries for our birds. The foliage is attractive. Too bad it is considered a badly mannered plant. I’ll just have to live with the guilt… No thorns as of yet 😉 Thank you, yet again, for your help with identification, Eliza. You have so much natural wisdom to share!

  4. Texture and the garden go hand-in-hand, I agree. Your lantana is looking exceptionally nice, WG! Gosh, I love that plant this time of year.

    • Thank you, Barbara. It is morphing into the “Lantana monster” now, and will keep going until frozen. Fun to watch! New plants take a year or two to get going, and ones I planted a month or so ago are just sulking, with little to show yet. I hope they get down to the business of blooming soon now 😉 Love your most recent garden photos on your page, Barbara. Just exquisitely beautiful- especially the bed with the ferns- (a favorite of mine for “texture” 😉 I’m sending you an email- Best wishes, WG

  5. Poor bees. I suspect, Marilyn is likely correct.
    Cool moth — one of Mother Nature’s sneaky ideas. 😉
    The Lantana flowers are neat. So many different colors?

    Fall weather has checked in up here, too, just recently.
    Although, I’ve seen no turning signs, except for those
    tall-stemmed pink flowers that pop up overnight.

    Have a great Sunday, WG! Peace and luvz, UT

    • Thank you, UT. Hate to think any of our neighbors (who are friends) could be behind the bees’ demise…. by all hypotheses must be entertained until we know the cause. Don’t believe there has been any county wide spraying for mosquitoes in our area…. Keith, I read a fascinating article a few days ago (illustrated with satellite photos of the poles) explaining that our “polar vortex” of last winter never really shifted, and will bring unusually cold weather back to the northern part of the US in Sept. (If you’ll share your email, I’ll send you a link and more details. I’ll be around until early afternoon, then away until late Monday.) Are your tall stemmed flowers which appear overnight Lycoris, or Surprise lilies? https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/surprise/
      If so, ours have debuted this week, too. Best wishes, WG woodlandgnome@zoho.com

  6. I suspect the dead bees are more likely a sign of poisoning. Someone in the neighborhood. We’ve had a rash of dead song birds because the neighbors decided they don’t like mosquitoes. You can control what you do, but not what others do and it’s awful.

    Great pictures, worrisome environmental possibilities.

    • Marilyn, You are probably correct. We haven’t used any sprays which would harm them, but there has been work going on across the street for a couple of weeks, and I have no idea what chemicals they may be using. So very sorry to hear about your birds. Thank you for the kind words on the photos 😉 Best wishes, WG

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