Insects Welcome!

October 4 was a stay-at-home day in order to nurse our Covid and Influenza vaccine-related fatigue, malaise, and soreness. Cloudy and sunlit skies took turns and were punctuated by brief periods of rain. During one of the sunny intervals, a Monarch Butterfly was seen flitting from cosmos to cosmos in our driveway, which has turned into a wilderness of sorts.

After we scattered a wildflower seed blend between 5 and 10 years ago, the mixed floral riots of the first few summers were followed by a more limited, but very successful and long-lasting, selection of flowers. It has been a boon to us and our insects to have beautiful blossoms and nectar sources available starting in May and lasting well into October, especially if frosts arrive late.

In our garden, Colorado Columbine are in full form from May until August, and are complemented by Showy Milkweed in July and August, planted in hopes of providing the indispensable host plant for the larval stages of the now-endangered Monarchs (each time we see one of these lovely lepidopterans, we wonder if it might have been hatched on one of our milkweeds, but we have yet to find eggs and caterpillars on their leaves). Early summer blooms are supplanted by sunflowers and cosmos, the latter being particularly lush this year.

While Monarch larvae need milkweed to metamorphose, the adults feed on a host of nectar-bearing plants, pink cosmos among them. It was with delight that we espied this dazzling winged wonder during one of the sunny stretches on this very autumnal October day. When it allowed me to take its portrait besides, all of a sudden the lassitude and discomfort from our shots were, if not gone, much improved.

Thank you, precious creature, for blessing us with your presence. You are an elegant and eloquent ambassador for your kind and are welcome here any time, as are all your relatives.

56 thoughts on “Insects Welcome!

    • Thank you, Wally. We felt better from the shots after a day. And amazingly (at least for Colorado standards, if not for Florida), the cosmos continue to bloom and attract pollinators, even in the middle of October. We feel very lucky.

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  1. If I were a Monarch, I’d be eager to visit your home. Your wildflower ‘patch’ is lovely, and the photos of the butterflies and flowers equally appealing. Some of our fall flowers are beginning to bloom now, so opportunities to enjoy pollinators of various sorts will continue for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy. We felt better after a day or so and I also hope the vaccines will be effective.
      Instead of our monarchs, Europe has similarly attractive butterflies and I know you enjoy them, as well as the moths. I wish I knew them as well as you !

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  2. Monarchfalter gibt es hier natürlich nur in Schmetterlingshäuser Dort einmal einen entdeckt, habe ich ihn stundenlang geduldig fotografiert. Ansonsten habe ich einen Monarch im Big Bend NP entdeckt, es ist eine lustige Erinnerung, ich sehe mich noch hinter dem Falter (meinem ersten im Leben) hinterher hüfpen und stolpern, aber ich habe Fotos geschafft 😉
    Liebe Grüße
    MAren

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tanja – Love this post! Your photos capturing the Monarchs are excellent. I especially loved the description of the Wildflower Wilderness. I hope this message finds you doing well, feeling well, and enjoying the birds and animals that you love! -Jill

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love all butterflies, but Monarchs are so especially appealing. Some of my fondest teaching memories are of watching Monarchs hatch in our classroom. (Cue the squeals of excited first graders). Later, we took the Monarchs out to the organic garden to release them as we waved and wished them “a safe trip to Mexico” .;-)
    ….Just had my covid/flu shots, as well. I can relate!
    Cheers,
    Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Julie,
      I hope your vaccine effects wore off quickly–ours lasted no longer than 24 hours.
      Your elementary school memories sound exciting and I hope your kids will remember the monarchs and act on their behalf! I also find them particularly charismatic.
      Have a good week,
      Tanja

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  5. Gorgeous captures of the beautiful Monarch! They are passing through the mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Bay area now, heading south. Nature is so healing, not only to our mind and soul but even to our sore body parts! 🙂 Hubby & I are supposed to get our influenza and 2nd shingles shots in next few days, I am dreading the sore arm. We got another covid booster and 1st shingles shot couple months ago and, oh boy, sore sore!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve. I hope your cosmos will thrive rather than shrivel if you decide to try them again. Our started with a handful of seeds from a friend’s yard and they have been going forth and multiplying ever since. We feel very fortunate to have them as they are little needy and long-lived.

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  6. Monarchs are such elegant butterflies. I didn’t know they are now in trouble. Is that just in your area, or is it an issue across the whole of their range?

    I hope the side-effects of the vaccines have now worn off. They aren’t pleasant, but are definitely preferable to the diseases against which they protect us. Best wishes to you both from me and Mrs P.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What beautiful shots, the colors are fantastic. Luckily, we have seen a small uptick in monarchs around our parts along with Swallowtails. Will have to see if that is sustainable or not, bur a slight encouragement as of now.

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