Late Summer Garden Update: Winged Beauties, Blooms & Bunnies Around the Potting Shed


I’ve been stalking butterflies, hummingbirds and moths with my camera lately. They provide some welcome color in the heat of summer when the flowers are waning and add another dimension to the garden.


 I’m all aflutter over these winged beauties blooming in the garden!


Warning photo heavy post ahead. . .🦋🌸🦋🌺🦋

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the most common variety I see fluttering around the lantana, which seems irresistible to most butterflies.



I found three different butterflies sipping at the lantana-nectar buffet last week. . .


An Eastern Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary and new-to-me variety, Pipevine Swallowtail.


Pipevine Swallowtail is a fast flyer. . . faster than the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, it was a challenge to get photos!

The upper surface of hindwing of a Pipevine Swallowtail is iridescent bluish-green while the underside has a row of 7 round orange spots. This is a male Pipevine which has more blue iridescence than the females.



I found one enjoying the cleome a few weeks ago.

Butterflies have been sunning themselves on the Limelight Hydrangea blooms. . .

And I was thrilled to see my first Monarch this summer!

This one has a torn hindwing. . .

Hummingbird Moths or Clearwing Moths are fun to watch in the garden and very focused feeders! I watched this one feed at every petal on the plumbago!

Hummingbird moths are members of the sphinx moth family. The wings of hummingbird moths are clear, with a black or brown border, and are nearly invisible when they fly.

Males have a flared “tail” like that of a hovering hummingbird.

Speaking of hummingbirds, I’m endlessly entertained watching the ‘hummer-wars’ as they zip around fighting and defending their territory. We have several feeders spaced throughout our yard and by the Potting Shed.

I always hear hummingbirds before I see them, buzzing by and chirping as they chase one another. This is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Mixing your hummingbird nectar is easy, using a 4:1 ratio of hot water to sugar, stirring until dissolved. Cool to room temperature before adding to your feeder. Change your food every 2-3 days in the heat of summer. I usually mix a big batch and keep it refrigerated to have on hand and fill the feeders about 1/3 full when the temperature is in the  90+ degree range, since more than that’s a waste as I’m changing it frequently.

Clean your feeders with a little bleach or vinegar and water, rinsing well and avoiding soap as hummingbirds can taste the soap/detergent residue. Most importantly, avoid red dye in your sugar water which may be harmful to hummingbirds. You can read more about the great red dye debate. here.

Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypoppurple passionflowerwild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a vigorous grower and common wildflower in the southern United States and is a source of nectar and food for butterflies and bees.

It’s the host plant for the Gulf fritillary butterfly, with the larvae of the Gulf fritillary feeding exclusively on species of passionflower.


You can read more about the life cycle of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, here.

Bunnies are apparently feed on passionflower vine too. . .this one is guilty of stripping the leaves off the vine. I’m hoping he’s going to leave some for the caterpillars!

I ordered some Plant Pro-Tec Deer & Rabbit Repellent Garlic Clips as a humane way to hopefully deter the bunny grazing. The reviews were mixed but I thought I’d give them a try since they are easy to use and don’t required mixing, spraying or repeat applying. I found them in a package of 25 for $14 on Amazon. The long-lasting repelling garlic odor is dispensed for 6 to 8 months and the clip’s plastic shell is biodegradable and will revert to compost after a few years.

I wish the bunny and his brothers found the weeds as tasty. . .


What’s blooming in your garden?

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

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  49 comments for “Late Summer Garden Update: Winged Beauties, Blooms & Bunnies Around the Potting Shed

  1. August 13, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Beautiful pictures.

  2. Sharon
    August 13, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Gosh, Mary, you have the most gorgeous yard! I don’t know how you keep up with all the work it must take to keep it looking nice. Yikes! So beautiful. The photos of the flowers and butterflies made me feel like I was walking your garden paths. It made my day. 😊

  3. Linda
    August 13, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Your garden is just so lovely. Please do a book! I want 5😉!

  4. August 13, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Loved this post. You know I adore butterflies! You captured them beautifully.

  5. Gayle Dodson
    August 13, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Just beautiful! As a second grade teacher I would teach a unit on the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly.. We raised this specimen from larva then back to eggs. I don’t know who enjoyed the unit more, the students or the adults. Such lovely creatures in God’s gardens. Thank you for such beauty on this very hot morning.

  6. Cyndi Raines
    August 13, 2018 at 9:01 am

    What a lovely tribute to nature! Such a wonderful garden tour this morning, thank you. Quite a feast for them in your lovely garden, Mary. Always a delight to come upon the butterlies as they flit about, such beautiful creatures. I wish the hummers would share more and not chase each other away from the feeder. We do the same as you, make extra sweet water, keeping it cold in the frig and changing every 2-3 days. They really guzzle it down when it is so nice and cold. So enjoy watching, the birds, bees, butterflies and bunny’s too. 😊🦅🐝🦋🐇

  7. Kim EKim
    August 13, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Mary, your garden is Awsome! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am trying hard to attract more butterflies and bees. Have 2 hummingbird moths who just love the Bee Balm. My Hummingbirds are very entertaining. I have 3 feeders on the front porch and 1 on the back. Some days I think they are going to crash into me and then you hear the screatch of their brakes. Will surely miss them when they are gone.

  8. Cheryl
    August 13, 2018 at 9:15 am

    The whole post is beautiful as usual. One comment about the garlic clips for the bunny. Our wild bunny that lives in our backyard spends most of his mornings in the garlic bushes. LOL

  9. Sandra
    August 13, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Just so lovely! Love your garden. Thank you for sharing sunshine on this SC rainy day!

  10. Kathy Vause
    August 13, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Good morning. Are the garlic clips working for you? And, please, how do you keep the ants out of your hummingbird feeders. Have an outrageous day. Kathy

    • August 13, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Hi Kathy, I just put the garlic clips out this weekend so I’ll keep you posted whether they work or not…I’m guessing not, but it was worth a try. I threw out some Blood Meal that’s supposed to deter them in addition to being a fertilizer and that didn’t work at all.

      I use ant moats/guards on the feeders that you fill with water and hang the feeder from. I don’t like the kind that has chemicals or the kind that you fill with cooking oil or vaseline which can potentially harm the hummingbirds. You just have to keep the water topped off due to evaporation which I do when I change the food. They work like a charm! I bought mine at Lowe’s but there are some on Amazon here:

  11. August 13, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I so enjoyed seeing your butterflies feasting in your garden, Mary. iIt’s such a joy to see the beauty that you share, and also your thoughtful tips. The bunnies can be so destructive! I also have problems with squirrels. Something ate my morning glory, and I’m guessing it had to be a squirrel. Thank you for the info on the hummingbird moth, which is all new to me. They’re beautiful in their own way! May you have a lovely week , while playing in your garden.

  12. August 13, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I don’t think any of your flowers ever die – they all look so perfect, no wonder they attract the butterflies.

  13. Joanna @ Gingham Gardens
    August 13, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Wow, Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through your gardens. Your photos of the butterflies are amazing! I suppose I’m to impatient to get good butterfly pics. Happy gardening!

  14. August 13, 2018 at 9:59 am

    My garden is hosting zinnias, cosmos, and dahlias currently. I have bunnies also, chipmunks, and a very large doe. The doe is a lovely lady, but she was not invited and has eaten all the leaves and small apples from our young apple trees. I shoo her away, but she doesn’t take the hint and seems unafraid. I worry that her apparent lack of fear will get her in trouble come deer season.I have only seen Monarchs in my garden and a whitish colored butterfly. We also have lots of birds and a neighbor’s tuxedo cat that is another unwelcome guest.

  15. August 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Beautiful garden…what a treat. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Gale
    August 13, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Your e-mail came at just the right time! I needed beauty and some stillness!
    Thank you for all you do to enrich our lives!
    On another subject, if you have Netflix, please check out The Literary Potato Peel Pie Society movie! I read the historical novel several years ago and was so happy that a movie had been made! Great acting and beautiful scenery!

  17. August 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    So beautiful..and I have bunnies eating my potato vines…but they are so cute! lol

  18. Rita C.
    August 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Good Monday afternoon! Great shots!! I love trying to capture the butterflies & hummers, especially. However, this year I’ve had a really hard time with the hummers and the blue butterflies – too fast! They have seemed to grow in numbers in the past couple weeks, though, and I got some photos, but can’t readily tell if my blue are pipeline swallowtails (my under wing shots are not at the best angle). Love how you find their descriptions though, it’s always helpful – thank you!
    Let us know if those garlic clips work for bunnies. I am getting swarmed with moles/voles even with using the high frequency deflectors and bait food. I guess I need to resort to traps. Yuk.

  19. Theresa Keller
    August 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing this morning! love your garden and the butterflies.

  20. gay boeneke
    August 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    What a wonderful photographer you are, Mary. To be able to capture some of these images of the butterflies is remarkable, but you did it and your readers are the winners! Enjoy your flowers,etc, and the new monarch!

  21. Sue
    August 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you Mary for this beautiful and informative post! Your garden and your pictures are so delightful, so peace bringing.
    Thank you to your friend Gale for mentioning The Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. We read this book in Book Club, and I’m going to look forward to finding it on Netflix now.

  22. Betsy
    August 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Until your current post I had no idea how large your garden is; It’s fabulous! That certainly explains the garden hose hauling you’ve previously mentioned.

    I know those bunnies can be pesky, but I would toil away for hours in my garden just to see those cuties. What does Gracie think of the bunnies?

  23. Terry Wallace
    August 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Will be interested in seeing how the garlic works as a natural alternative to a spray. Keep us posted your garden is beautiful. Have a happy Monday.

  24. Marie
    August 13, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Oh my! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so love your amazing photographs and the educational tidbits are a bonus.

  25. August 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    I absolutely love your garden! So many beautiful insects too.

  26. August 13, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    You got some great pics Mary, especially of the hummingbirds! Don’t get me started on the rabbits… We’ve had so much rain ~everything~ in the yard is lush and green… I still had to schlep my string bean planters on top of the picnic table benches because they’re up on hind legs eating the leaves!!! But you already know about my on-going battle with the critters:@) Have a great week!

  27. Virginia
    August 13, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Just beautiful photographs Mary, thanks for bringing cheer and sunshine through your beautiful flowers and winged friends.

  28. Donna Maurer
    August 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Beautiful !!!! Love your gardens and butterfly photos. So lucky to have all this in your garden.

  29. August 13, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Beautiful gardens and photography!

  30. August 13, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Mary, what a delightful way to end my day. You have some lovely captures of the butterflies, hummers, and rabbits. We see a lot of rabbits in our pasture and around the wooded areas. Hummingbirds are all over our oleander and Rose of Sharon. The butterflies love the zinnias and lantana. Looking forward to Floral Friday!

  31. August 13, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I’ve been green with envy over your potting shed for quite some time and always love seeing new pictures of your shed and gardens. Beautiful pictures of the lantanas with butterflies. The limelights are looking amazing! I saw your shed on the cover of Country Gardens this month and thought, “hey I *know* that shed!”

  32. Joan
    August 14, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Spectacular butterflies and flowsrs!! Thank you!!

  33. Ann Woleben
    August 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I will be interested to know if the garlic clips work as time goes on. The rabbits and deer have taken over our flower garden. They are no longer even afraid when we come out in the yard.

  34. Debra
    August 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I want to be a butterfly in your beautiful garden – may I please move in? Pretty please.

  35. Laurie
    August 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Wow! Spectacular pictures!

  36. August 14, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    it is evident that your most beautiful gardens will attract all of the beauties of nature….you provide them the best of the best of nature so that they can thrive very happily within your gardens. I am in awe of your magnificent images of the butterflies and the birds and the bees!…and what a great photo of the sweet bunny scampering away…I must say that I have taken many notes of what I want in my future garden….Have a wonderful week Mary!

  37. Sheran
    August 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Stunning! Thank you

  38. Shirley Graham
    August 15, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Thanks so much for your lovely pictures – your garden is fantastic! Enjoyed the butterflies and it looked like Peter Rabbit among the watering cans. Lovely!!!

    August 16, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I love your pictures. I look forward every day to read your blog. Thanks!

  40. August 19, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I am ALWAYS smitten with your side bench and window boxes, that is garden perfection grad school! So many fab pics, I have never seen bunnies, coyotes are prevalent in country living out west, might be the key reason, i doubt you think the cuteness is worth it though! Such inspiring photos, heavy sigh to garden pleasures….

  41. August 27, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I’m in butterfly heaven again viewing your post again. I love the Pipevine Swallowtail. How great to capture three kinds of butterflies in one picture and to capture a new butterfly.
    I’ll be pinning.
    That cute little bunny is adorable but spells TROUBLE!

  42. August 27, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Wow, Mary, your photography is stunning! Beautiful butterflies. I wish our bunnies liked weeds too, LOL!!

  43. August 27, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Mary, build a garden like yours and the butterflies, hummers, and bees will come! Thanks for sharing at Gardens Galore

  44. August 29, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Loved this post and your butterflies are so beautiful!

  45. Norma Rolader
    September 7, 2018 at 6:39 am

    I love the photographs with the flowers and the beautiful butterflies

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