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.