Late Summer Garden Update: Winged Beauties and Fearless Flyers

Late Summer Garden Update: Winged Beauties and Fearless Flyers #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Happy Friday!

Summer is winding down with August coming to a close,

but Mother Nature still has plenty of summer weather in store for us

in North Carolina.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Lantana #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

It’s been a while since I shared a garden update,

so grab something cold to drink and join me for a stroll

around The Potting Shed to see late summer garden blooms.

Warning: Photo heavy post ahead.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly on zinnia #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

The heat index is back in the triple digits this weekend,

but it’s the perfect weather for butterflies,

as they fly best when their body temperature is between 85 and 100 degrees.

Black Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Lantana #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

I wish I could say that I function as well in the same temperature range,

but my optimum range is 30 degrees cooler. :)

Potting Shed #summer #garden #flowers #clematis #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

While most of garden is looking tired and spent at the end of August,

 Sweet Autumn Clematis is just coming into bloom.

Sweet Autumn Clematis #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Sweet Autumn Clematis a prolific grower and fragrant bloomer; the twining stems

reaching 20  –  30 feet with support of a trellis or fence.

Sweet Autumn Clematis by Potting Shed #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

The creamy white blooms create a billowy fragrant mass in late summer or early fall,

attracting pollinators . . .bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Sweet Autumn Clematis and Monarch Butterfly #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Sweet Autumn Clematis is hardy in USDA zones 4 – 9.

It grows in full sun or partial shade and thrives

 in well-drained soil. Mulching the soil surface is recommended to

conserve moisture and shade the roots.

Water deeply and regularly the first growing season to establish the root system.

You can reduce watering frequency once established.

Sweet Autumn Clematis by Potting Shed #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Warning: Sweet Autumn Clematis can be invasive in some areas.

To keep it in check, give it a hard prune immediately after blooming

to prevent reseeding, cutting it down to the ground.

Limelight Hydrangeas #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

 The creamy-chartreuse Limelight Hydrangea blooms

are making their fall metamorphosis.

Limelight Hydrangeas #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

The large football-sized flowers acquire a bronzy/burnished hue in the fall.

Limelight Hydrangeas are perfect texture for drying when the petals beginning to feel ‘papery’.

( See -> A Fall Harvest on the Potting Bench )

Endless Summer Hydrangeas #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Endless Summer Hydrangeas are still pushing blooms

but are starting to complain about

the August heat and lack of rain (like me :)

Endless Summer Hydrangeas #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Have you ever wondered by it’s either feast or famine with rain?

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Lantana #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

Butterflies and hummingbirds provide some welcome color in the heat of summer

when the flowers are waning, adding another dimension to the garden.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Lantana #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the most common variety butterfly we see.

Lantana seems to be the favored garden annual for most butterflies.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Verbena #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

Verbena Lollipop is another pollinator favorite,

attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

It’s hardy in USDA zones 6 – 10, prefers full sun in well-drained soil.

Variegated Fritillary Butterflies on Verbena #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

It self sows and can pop up everywhere, which may or may not be a good thing,

depending on your gardening style and landscape.

It’s definitely not for gardeners who like things ‘tidy’.

 Butterfly on Cleome #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

As well as Cleome or spider flower, an old-fashioned annual

that blooms from summer to fall.

 Butterfly on Zinnia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

And bright pink zinnias seem to be hands down favorite color of zinnia for butterflies!

 Butterfly on Zinnia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies ©

Just as summer is winding down, hummingbird visits at the

feeders and in the garden are picking up here in North Carolina!

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird at red salvia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

One of their favorite garden flowers is red salvia.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird at red salvia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

I always get a thrill when I see these fearless flyers go zipping by,

dashing from flower to feeder.

They seem to spend more time defending their territory and food sources,

than actually feeding. ;)

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird sitting on Verbena #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

There are 320 species of hummingbirds, but only one,

the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, can be found east of the Mississippi River in the U.S.

In terms of area however, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds occupy the largest breeding

range of any of the North American hummingbird species.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird sitting on Verbena #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Hummingbirds are a prolific pollinator of flowers.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds deposit 10 times as much pollen as bumblebees.

 Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

*** Ugly warning *** -> Disregard the sad, neglected state

of this container of annuals in the photos below . . .

Ruby-throat Hummingbird in petunia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

I noticed movement and saw this petunia was vibrating

 with a hummingbird visitor.

Ruby-throat Hummingbird in petunia #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Hummingbirds like flowers that produce a lot of nectar, such as bee balm, salvias,

weigela, trumpet honeysuckle and other trumpet vines, cardinal flower, petunias

or anything that is tubular in shape.

Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Male Ruby-throats have a distinctive ruby-red throat, hence the name. :)

 Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Females are greenish, with a white throat and a notched tail,

while juvenile males resemble adult females.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

While a small number or Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will winter in Florida and along the Gulf coast,

most will overwinter in Central America. You have to be a fearless flyer to make a nonstop flight

of more than 500 miles across the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico!

Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

It also means that hummingbirds need to double their body mass with a steady diet

of nectar and insects prior to their migration in the fall.

Hummingbirds’ wings move in figure-eight patterns,

allowing them to hover in midair and fly backwards.

Their wings beat more than 50 times per second,

requiring them to feed every 10 to 15 minutes.

Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

It’s a myth that leaving hummingbird feeders up too late in the fall will prevent the birds from migrating.

Hummingbirds have an internal clock regulated by the changing day length,

which lets them know when it’s time to go.

Ruby-throat Hummingbird at feeder #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

As a general rule, leave your feeder up for two weeks after you have seen your last hummingbird.

There might be one or two stragglers migrating in need of a rest stop to refuel.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird at feeder #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Plain white table sugar mixed with water mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar.

Do not use organic, natural, or raw sugars as they contain levels of iron that could be harmful.

Also, do not use honey, which can cause fermentation, promoting bacteria and fungal growth.

Avoid red dye in your sugar water which may be harmful to hummingbirds.

Juvenile male Ruby-throat Hummingbird #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Boiled tap water is the preferred water to use.

Using boiled water removes any potentially harmful bacteria, chlorine,

fluorides, etc. that hummers don’t need.

Ruby-throat Hummingbird at feeder #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Mix up a quart at a time (1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water).

After the sugar is dissolved and has cooled, store it in the fridge for quick refilling.

Nectar spoils quickly in hot weather so clean your feeder every time you refill!

I only fill my feeders about 1/2 full, as I empty, clean and refill

every 2 – 3 days with our 90+ August temperatures.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird in garden #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Have you had many hummingbird visitors?

Ruby-throat Hummingbird at feeder #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

Hope you’re finding a way to stay cool and beat the heat. ♥

Potting Shed #summer #garden #flowers #clematis #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

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Winged Beauties and Fearless Flyers #summer #garden #flowers #butterflies #hummingbirds #hydrangeas #shed ©

 Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Between Naps on the Porch

  22 comments for “Late Summer Garden Update: Winged Beauties and Fearless Flyers

  1. Clara
    August 25, 2023 at 6:46 am

    Beautiful shots Mary! I must agree that I too function better in cooler temps but I am happy to know the butterflies can easily function in these temps. The hummers are so pretty as well. Your blooms are gorgeous and so healthy. Thanks for sharing. Happy Friday! Clara ❤️

  2. Donna
    August 25, 2023 at 7:41 am

    Thank you for sharing all the beauty around you! Loved walking with you in your flowerbeds!!

  3. August 25, 2023 at 8:27 am

    Your fall clematis is gorgeous by your potting shed! And your hummers are such a treat for you and for us.
    Thank you for sharing your surrounding beauty with us!

  4. charlynecox
    August 25, 2023 at 8:27 am

    What a delight to see the birds, blooms, and butterflies! Nature is so restorative.

  5. Patti
    August 25, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for sharing. I love seeing your photos. They are gorgeous and you are a very talented photographer. I love the garden tour.

  6. Pamela
    August 25, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Incredible. I have only ever seen 2 hummingbirds here in southern Florida but others see them regularly. Too fast for me I guess. So I thoroughly enjoyed visiting your beautiful garden teeming with life.

  7. Peyton
    August 25, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Excellent close-up pix of the butterflies and fearless flyers! It’s so hot in the mountains too. We have one lonely, blue bloom on our Endless Summer. Between the frigid Christmas and this extra-hot Summer with little rain, it makes me think of your “When Bad Things Happen to Good Hydrangeas” post. Ready for Fall & Football now!

  8. Pam
    August 25, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Good morning, Mary. Thank you for the beautiful garden therapy. I am with you, I do not function in this oppressive heat and humidity. We have seen more hummingbirds this year than any year before. I love all of your photos of the hummers. Wow, the autumn clematis is most happy where it is planted and is beautiful! Our hydrangeas have suffered from the heat, lack of rain, and wind damage. Happy Friday and stay cool ♥️

  9. Rita C.
    August 25, 2023 at 9:31 am

    Wow, that autumn clematis is SO lush, Mary! I love the smell of it, but my landscape is just too small to handle it. I always liked walking past it at a neighbor’s, but they’ve removed theirs in a redo of their landscape. That first photo is striking with the black backdrop against the swallowtail and flower! I’m glad you id’d that red salvia; at first I thought it was cardinal flower, which I could kick myself for passing up this past spring at our farmer’s market. Next year….! I have enjoyed seeing hummingbirds without setting up feeders, and want to add another tubular flower to my mix for them. Right now, I’m just happy to be keeping what I have alive and getting them established! Love your garden update. We just had 2.5″ rain pour down on us early this morning while I was reading your post – wow, out of nowhere. Radar showed it passing over us, and then BOOM. It was here for about 30 minutes and left that much water.

  10. Kathy Menold
    August 25, 2023 at 9:45 am

    Mary, We had about a 1/2 inch of rain last night enough to perk up the gardens a bit and save me from dragging the hoses around. Thankyou for your beautiful pictures. The heat seems to have won out in my gardens and it’s about time to turn my thoughts to fall decorating outside. That’s fine with me. I love the display that nature puts on
    I did manage to clip a bunch of colorful zinnias this morning and they are so pretty on the kitchen counter. Had to fight the Swallowtails for them but they have plenty of Mexican Sunflowers and Lantana to feed on. They also love a Seven Sons tree I planted a few years ago which is covered with blooms.
    The humming birds are dive bombing each other to take possession of the Lady In Red Salvia,Hyssop and Globe Amaranth along with the 2 feeders I have for them. So much fun to watch their antics.
    Enjoy are last weeks of summer, fall will be here before you know it!

  11. Dorinda Selke
    August 25, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Mary ~ what beautiful pictures ! Your photography is amazing. Hugs, Dorinda

  12. Lu Ann
    August 25, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Such a lovely tour. It enjoyed walking at you. Your flowers are beautiful. Thank you

  13. Sally Good
    August 25, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    I love your hummingbirds! Did you know that praying mantis can kill them? They literally suck the juice out of them.

  14. August 25, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Such a joyful walk, loved every minute!

  15. August 25, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    I planted a big bed of zinnia and the verbena bonariensis this year and it is just beautiful. They look really good together. Several years ago, I copied your watering can chain because I love it so much and have quite a few of the vintage watering cans. This year, wasps were happily turning them into big old nests. So I had to find a way to cover them. I took some window screen, cut it to size and then used some silicone to glue that onto the top of the each can to keep them out.

  16. Ellen
    August 26, 2023 at 9:23 am

    BEAUTIFUL pictures! My flowers are pitiful since the heat has struck. It’s nit the heat, it the humidity that has kept us inside in the air conditioning and with humidity comes mosquitos that love me…therefore, I have been unable to tend my gardens and water! Sad because I worked hard in the spring! Oh well, may be better next year!

  17. August 26, 2023 at 9:56 am

    Oh my Mary, your autumn clematis is so prolific!! I am amazed at all the gorgeous butterfly photos you captured and envious of the hummingbirds you have. I tried for three years and never saw any. My little garden is taking a beating from this heat and something has devoured my impatiens, begonias, oxalis, and coleus. It’s so frustrating!

  18. Peggy Ott
    August 26, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Mary, the pictures are breath taking images. You did some great pictures of those beautiful creatures. Flowers are beautiful. I use to have the Sweet Autumn Clematis. Loved that flower. Was on my arbor my husband built. A winter storm took out the roof of the arbor after years and the beautiful Sweet Autumn Clematis was gone. Broke my heart. It was such a sweet smell in Autumn. My mother loved it. My garden this year was much less than years past. Life has a way of making changes for you. Enjoyed the read.

  19. August 26, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    Your photos are always gorgeous and today’s treat is no exception. Totally lovely!

  20. Ricki Treleaven
    August 27, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    This is one of the most stunning posts I’ve seen in a long time. Your photography is exceptional! I love your limelights and the butterflies. Your hydrangeas look great, too!

  21. Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
    August 27, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Happy Sunday, Mary! I have enjoyed seeing the photos of all your visitors! We have lots of hummingbirds and butterflies, too. In fact you just reminded me that’s it is time to refill my feeders. I agree they do tend to spend more time defending their territory than eating. I also never realized there were so many varieties. I see a few different ones around here. It has been a joy to walk around your gorgeous gardens! Have a wonderful week!

  22. Kim
    August 28, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Mary, this is such a beautiful post! Your pictures are absolutely stunning and should be in a magazine. The butterflies are gorgeous and those hummers are nothing short of amazing. I’m going to be redoing my garden (such as it is) next year and you have such great tips for attracting all these wonderful pollinators. Pinning!!

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