Stalking Monarch Butterflies and September Garden Blooms

September is a month of transition in the garden with summer blooms waning and annuals spent from the summer heat. . .just like me!

 The creamy-chartreuse Limelight Hydrangea blooms have transitioned from summer to fall to a burnished shade.

And the stems are weighted down and heavy with flowers.

 September’s light has shifted and taken on a golden glow.

Changing from the bright direct light of mid July.

Morning glory is undaunted by the summer heat and humidity and climbed its way up the birdhouse post.

 I planted my vintage Schwinn bicycle along the border this summer. You can see her planted with pumpkins here.

I added a rear basket to the bike, attached it with cable ties. . .

And placed coir liner in the baskets to plant angelonia, million bells, petunias and asparagus fern, all annuals that can take the summer heat.

Morning glory has climbed up her frame. . .

And Mother of Pearl roses are blooming alongside.

I’ve been stalking Monarch butterflies with my camera recently. . .

Most the time unsuccessfully, but it’s always a thrill to see them flutter by! They’ve provided some welcome entertainment as well as unexpected fall color in the garden!

Milkweed volunteered this year and is a host plant for monarchs.

I’ve been keeping my eyes out for monarch eggs but haven’t seen any, then I realized the reason why. . .I was watching male monarchs!

Here’s a fun distinction and an easy way to identify male from female monarchs. . .

The male monarchs have scent glands, visible as black spots on their hind wings. The female monarch doesn’t, and has thicker veining on her wings, which make her appear slightly darker in color.

I caught these male monarchs are sunning themselves on the crepe myrtle.

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  29 comments for “Stalking Monarch Butterflies and September Garden Blooms

  1. September 4, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Mary, I could spend hours chatting with you over gardens, tables and food. You always have such interesting posts, adding your tidbits that I so enjoy learning from. I’ve also been stalking the monarchs – they’re fast, like skippers! – and so far, any photo I caught with open wings must’ve been blurry and I deleted it. I just went back to check photos to see if I could distinguish male/female (no). I’m just happy to have seen so many this year. Looking forward to your table tomorrow! Try not to labor too hard today. ;)

  2. Norma Rolader
    September 4, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Oh I love to watch the butterflies and love your garden!! I will have to find a bicycle Thank you for your post and ideas God bless and Have a blessed and safe Labor Day

  3. Linda L
    September 4, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Beautiful post! I love the vintage bike used as a planter…so clever. I don’t remember seeing the bike in former posts. Never tire of seeing butterflies. Happy Labor Day!

  4. Linda
    September 4, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Thank you for helping to make the world a more beautiful place!!!!

  5. Donna C
    September 4, 2017 at 8:43 am

    You taught me something I didn’t know! How great is it hat I will be able to tell if my Monarchs are male or female? So cool! As always, I love looking at your photos and reading your blog.

  6. September 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

    For the last couple of years monarchs have all but disappeared in my yard so it’s wonderful to see a few return thanks to coneflowers.

  7. September 4, 2017 at 9:13 am

    So much to love here today, Mary! I adore your monarch pics! Just beautiful! Thanks for the great male and female pics and descriptions. Pinned those immediately.
    Your bicycle is so charming with baskets of flowers. Great addition to your garden. Love the morning glory vine.
    Feast for the eyes and heart today in your garden.

  8. September 4, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I forgot to say, I observed the female swallowtail laying eggs several times and I would describe her as hyper. Spinning and circling and in a frenzy. I wonder if all species of butterflies do this. The males are just nectaring and are not in a hurry.

  9. Cynthia English
    September 4, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I was dreading facing the heat this morning, but your post inspired me to get out there and “get to it!”. I do love seeing your garden. Cindy in Tampa

  10. September 4, 2017 at 9:55 am

    beautiful photos, love what you have done with the bicycle.

  11. Cynthia Raines
    September 4, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Thank you for teaching us about Monarch butterflies! Now I will know how to tell them apart. Love your garden. The rose is beautiful! Darling bike!

  12. Kathy M.
    September 4, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Love the cooler mornings we are having in N.C. Great for getting some end of the summer chores done. Love your morning glories. I have wonderful moon flowers blooming against our barn. Like you I try to capture the monarchs on my camera but they are usually too fast for me. Your pictures are lovely.. Happy Labor Day.

  13. September 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Just beautiful! Love the gate and bicycle!

  14. September 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Mary – your pictures amazing! I just picked up a vintage bicycle and I’m so excited to use it like this in my garden next year. The monarchs are beautiful. Stop by when you have a minute and check out my monarch post.

  15. September 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Great photos!

  16. Joan
    September 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Those roses are gorgeous as are all of your flowers. Thank you for sahring.

  17. Marion
    September 4, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I am drooling over those Morning Glories. They are my favorite flower. They are lovely. Thanks fro the opportunity to see these gorgeous garden of yours.

  18. Marilyn
    September 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Oh! Those Monarch butterflies are beautiful. I never knew the difference between a male and female Monarch. Thank you for the lesson. I love your garden.

  19. September 4, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    The mother of pearl roses are beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Your garden is lovely, and thanks for the tutorial about monarchs. BTW We have had TONS of humming birds….they are enamored with our chaste tree that’s taking over our deck area!


  20. September 4, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    The hydrangeas are fabulous..

  21. Karen Wright
    September 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Mary, In your post today, These Are A Few of My of Favorite Things…the morning glories on the bird house post, the Schwinn bike with the baskets full of flowers and the “S” on the seat, and the beautiful Monarchs with their fall colors! Lovely post! So excited to see your Tablescape tomorrow!!! Anxiously awaiting…

  22. September 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I hope you, your hubby and the pups enjoyed some lake time this Labor Day weekend, Mary.
    I’m loving your old iron gate (don’t think I’ve noticed that before), and your vintage bike looks blooming happy. He mother of pearl roses are so pretty (never remember those, either). Thank you for your info on the Monarchs markings. I’ll be looking out for them when they pass through here.

  23. September 4, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    I have got to make a note to myself to plant morning glory next year!

  24. September 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Mary, how I enjoyed this post!…I am chasing Monarchs with no luck! Your pics are excellent and thank you for the information to distinguish between the male and female! I love the vintage bicycle overflowing with blooms. The morning glories are always interesting and lovely as they climb around anywhere and everywhere! Thanks for linking to Gardens Galore and for your support for each party! I will be looking forward to your Tablescape tomorrow!

  25. September 5, 2017 at 7:59 am

    What an informative post..especially the distinction between make & female Monarchs..we have many around right now…🦋🐛🦋🐛

  26. September 5, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful! I’m always stalking Monarchs too. I belong to a group of volunteers who are planting butterfly beds in our city. It’s so much fun!

    • September 5, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you Stacey! That does sound fun. 🌱🌸🌺

  27. Rattlebridge Farm
    September 11, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I finally saw a monarch the other day–what a thrill. Your bike is adorable!

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