Weekly Garden Highlights – August 26

Golden meadow

Golden meadow

It has been a varied week, cool and dry earlier, now hot and humid with thunderstorms predicted later to hopefully cool things down.


Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Yesterday, a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) visited my zinnias, elevating zinnias to a ‘must-have’ in my garden from now on. I actually got a shot of this one, as I missed ‘capturing’ the last one. My second sighting here this year, and both times it was zinnias upon which they fed. Doesn’t she look fine? (Males have a black dot on their hindwing). Probably freshly emerged from her chrysalis and fattening up for her 5000-mile journey to Mexico. What a marvel this insect is. I hope this is a good sign that this imperiled species is making a comeback. Fingers crossed!


Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

On Sunday, I spotted what I thought was a Monarch, but it turned out to be a  Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), however, it was just as beautiful. To tell the difference, a Viceroy has a black band across its hindwing and only one row of white spots.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Another confusing butterfly is a Fritillary, of which, there are many varieties. The most common one in my garden is the Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele).

Here are just a few of the floral highlights in my garden this week :

Zinnias (Z. elegans ‘County Fair’) are continuing to please with or without butterflies.

IMG_4350Spider Flowers (Cleome hasslieriana) are charming me with their shape and color. See the little visitor above and another below?



Left: I like how the leaf veining in the Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) echoes that of the Cleome.


Zinnia, Calendula & Flowering Tobacco

What’s happening this week in your garden?


About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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74 Responses to Weekly Garden Highlights – August 26

  1. Pretty pretty pretty Eliza. Love the little flutterbys!

  2. Beautiful!! flowers and butterflys
    (My garden is a wilderness…)

  3. Christina says:

    Zinnias attract lots of butterflies and other insects in my garden too Eliza, they are wonderful flowers.

  4. treah says:

    The last few years I’ve grown zinnias but not this year & I miss them! They will definitely be on the list for next summer. Nothing like their intense, brilliant colors. They attract all kinds of insects including the nasty Japanese beetles which decimate the leaves, leaving the plant looking pretty bad. Not sure how to remedy that…

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I go out with soapy water at the end of the day to drop them in, making the rounds – it’s the only way to reduce their numbers. Do you do that?

  5. Robin says:

    So beautiful, Eliza. 🙂 The Monarchs are the main reason I’ve continued to plant zinnias year after year since I started my first flower garden (which isn’t all that long ago — only three years now). I’ve seen several Monarchs in my garden, but I’m having a difficult time getting a photo of them. They’re skittish. The swallowtails, on the other hand, ham it up for the camera.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Robin. I was lucky to notice this one while having lunch and ran for my camera. It flitted around for a few minutes and drank long enough at a few flowers to get some decent shots. I saw one today (same one?) but couldn’t get close to it. A Fritillary chased it off, which surprised me. I guess their territories are not species specific. You’re lucky to have so many butterflies in your garden!

  6. cindy knoke says:

    What a sumptious garden! I could so easily while away the day in there~

  7. Laurie Graves says:

    So much to love in this post—the butterflies, the close-ups, the visitors.

  8. Kris P says:

    You got great shots of the butterflies, Eliza! That’s not usually easy in my experience. While I’ve got bees galore (as well as more grasshoppers than I’d like), I’ve seen relatively few butterflies this year. Maybe my late-planted Asclepias will bring them in eventually.

  9. Beautiful photos Eliza!

  10. Beautiful post! The butterflies are like the icing on the cake.

  11. David says:

    Nice shot of the monarch and I really like that spider flower with the fly. I have three or four different types if zinnias that have been attracting skippers while the butterfly bush has brought in monarchs and black swallow tails among others.

  12. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I have seen 2 Monarchs this year, Eliza, one on my Butterfly Bush and the other flying in my backyard. I did not have a camera on me and darn it if I was going to miss out in seeing a Monarch so I just stood and watched as she fed. I must get zinnias in my gardens!! I have milkweed in my wild part of our land, a Butterfly Bush, lilies, roses, and now I must get zinnias. I am doing everything I can to invite the Monarch here every year. It took me 3 years to entice Baltimore Orioles here and now that we have them they come back every year! So, I will keep on plugging away for the Monarchs. I HOPE they are making a come back!! ❤

  13. Anne says:

    It is wonderful that zinnias are getting good publicity – they have tended to be ‘shunned’ here for a while. I love them and am pleased to see self-sown zinnias, nasturtiums and poppies growing as our weather begins to warm up in preparation for spring.

  14. Val Boyko says:

    Happy captures Eliza 😍

  15. dorannrule says:

    Great pictures of the joyful colors of summer Eliza. I love the zinnias in all their glory and hoping for volunteers next season too. And I think I will harvest the seeds for replanting.

  16. Rupali says:

    Beautiful post!

  17. I’m going to have to start watching the (all yellow) zinnias for Monarchs!

  18. arlingwoman says:

    Good captures of the butterflies! I do love zinnias. Lately, when I’m taking cut flowers to the car, I have to wait for a bee to finish with them…

  19. A very stunning collection.

  20. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    That’s it! I am planting tons of zinnias next year! I have seen no monarchs this year. I only saw 1 last year and 2 the year before. I love love love all your photos! Such beauty you create, Eliza.

  21. Always such a treat.

  22. Jim Ruebush says:

    Your sunflowers are a bit top-heavy, too.
    My zinnias are a wild mix of good, bad, and ugly. I’ve not seen any Monarchs. But, I’m not watching all the time either.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      The sunflowers are about done and pretty ravished. There is one Russian Mammoth left, still budding with at least 30 flowers to come. It ought to be spectacular.

  23. Cathy says:

    Your butterfly shots are wonderful Eliza. Beautiful Zinnias too!

  24. A great collection. Those monarchs just don’t look real

  25. Kathy Sturr says:

    Wonderful! Monarchs! Zinnias! They really love those Mexican Sunflowers, too. I am nursing what I hope is an egg in a jar right now. A few more days will tell true. I love that cleome nasturtium combo, too. Very nice!

  26. I love the meadowy quality your garden has taken on, Eliza. Lots of winged activity on my zinnias here too. No monarchs this year; I lost most of my Asclepius over the winter and had to replace them – hopefully , next year, as I’ve planted many more this time. Great to see all the lovely flowers and creatures in your garden.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Lynn. I’m heartened by all the creatures that use my garden. Definitely icing on the cake. 🙂 Hope your asclepias bring in lots of monarchs!

  27. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Beautiful images of your wonderful garden Eliza. I am going to read up if zinnias will grow here – anything to help feed our pollinators. Bees and butterflies (the few we have this year) are currently enjoying the cone flowers in my garden.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Echinacea are very popular here, too. Echinops and anise hyssop seem to be favored as well. Zinnias like it sunny and hot (they’re from Mexico). They lagged until the days got into the 80’sF, then took off. It may help to start them in your greenhouse.

      • Murtagh's Meadow says:

        Thanks for tips Eliza – had a quick look at one of my favourite online catalogues and found Zinnia elegans which I may try. Echinops I have never succeeded to grow. I have a dark blue hyssop – not sure of the name, but bees do like it:)

  28. Love your beautiful visitors – great shots. 🙂

  29. Jewels says:

    Ahhh so lovely, Eliza! ❤

  30. MK says:

    Your garden is turning golden indeed, and even the fields behind the trees appears golden. Hallelujah for the Monarch!

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