Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer of the Sulfurs




Click on this photo to see her pretty face

This has not been an especially pleasant summer. Extreme heat and now flooding over much of the area has made life a challenge for most of us. Still, this summer has brought many wonderful moments. When I look back on the summer of 2010, I want to remember it as the summer of the sulfur butterflies.




In her own mysterious way, nature somehow brought together just the right series of events to create the perfect conditions for the clouded sulfur butterfly. I have never seen anything like the number of sulfurs in my garden this year. Hundreds! Three or four butterflies on the tops of each coneflower, more on each spire of the agastache. They are on every flower and the air is filled with their yellow fluttering.



Sulfurs always keep their wings folded showing only the undersides when at rest. When in flight, the pretty black markings on the top of the wings can be seen. In the first photo, the sun shining through the delicate wing tissue gives us a hint of the black pattern.



Not the largest or the most brightly colored butterfly sulfurs are often overlooked, but when their numbers reach into the hundreds, they are an amazing sight.

32 comments:

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thank you Marnie, I'll bet those are the little light colored ones I have seen flitting all over my garden. Even my dog has been mesmerized by them. He just stands there watching them and every once in awhile he will give chase - to no avail!

Eileen

Darla said...

Astounding photos. Last year I could not convey to my readers the enormous amount of Sulphurs I had on my pineapple sage, I know exactly what you are talking about.

Dawn said...

I knew, just by the photo on my blogroll, you would be having a glorious time with these cute little creatures. Thanks for the morning joy!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow---I've never seen so many sulfurs in one place... That last photo shows it all, Marnie.... BUT--my favorite is the first one... She does have a pretty face... AND--I love the lighting in that first shot.

Have a great day.
Hugs,
Betsy

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow, what a lot of butterflies in your garden. This is something to remember. I bet they are spectacular when they all get up at once to shift places. What fun.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a treat. You got some great photos. Flying yellow blooms for your garden. So pretty.

tina said...

They are definitely amazing and so many! What a lovely cloud of sulphers.

Sherri said...

Even though they aren't the most flashy-they look really pretty flitting around the garden! Thanks for sharing!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

They are so pretty. I can't imagine having that many at once in my garden. We've had more butterflies than normal this year too, although compared to most places it still wouldn't seem like many. Sorry to hear about your weather. To go from heat to flooding must be hard on people and plants.

Vetsy said...

Marnie the heat spells have been awful here in Michigan too" It's been very unusual for this state as well...

I would have loved to sat with you chatting over a cup of tea while we admire the butterflies in you lovely garden...

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, love the sulphurs. I've personally seen a ton more dragonflies than normal tis year, and for the first time ever these really cool black mud dauber wasps.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Marnie, re your comment over at mine--get this! People who don't have their own blogs think it's a super special treat to guest post. That is, if they like to write at all. I actually suggested it to Amy as a joke and was surprised how she embraced it. (Possibly because she has this week off work), I've gotten TWO more articles for future posts!! I know!!! One is on her experience with a CSA and one is a book review of Flower Confidential. I can't tell you how smug I feel for posting without actually posting!! ;-)

BeadedTail said...

I just love butterflies! We don't have many in our yard so when I came across hundreds of some orange ones (on my blog yesterday) I was mesmorized watching them! Thanks for sharing the ones in your garden!

Hope your father is doing better!

Cheryl said...

Tku Marnie for sharing such magical moments. Sulphers are incredibly beautiful and to have those numbers must have been amazing.

Our weather has been so dry, I have never known it last for such a long period. The dryest seven months in SE UK since 1929. I would dearly love some more rain, the drizzle we get is not enough to help the trees and larger plantings.......

I do hope that you were not affected by the floods......

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Wow Marnie, just look at all of them! They look like blooms on blooms. I have never saw so many in one spot before. Just beautiful.

Cameron said...

Gorgeous photos, Marnie! The light shining through the wings is especially lovely.

Butterflies sure do love agastache, especially 'Blue Fortune'. I don't have the heart to deadhead mine for more blooms because the fading blooms are in constant demand!

Here -- it's swallowtails everywhere! Tigers and Black. Sometimes, I count more than a a dozen on one butterfly bush before giving up the count with all the floating and fluttering.

Louise said...

That last picture is simply astonishing. Such little beauties. They're so delicate looking. Here, it's the Monarchs that are astonishing me with their numbers. What marvelous, ethereal creatures, all of them.

Susie said...

You must have all the butterflies up there. I was at work today thinking I haven't seen many at all.

Love the photos, especially the last one. What a beautiful sight!

sunnycalgirl said...

Your pictures are pretty special! Not too many butterflies in our area..

Kathleen said...

That first photo is just stunning Marnie. I think I would blow it up and frame it!
Amazing you have so many Sulfers, I've seen a few but nothing like what you have. That last photo is cool too ~ shows exactly what you describe.
It's certainly been a hot summer for many areas of the country. I didn't know you were experiencing flooding tho (I guess I should watch the news for a change) Does that mean you're ready for winter??? ;-) Stay cool.

perennialgardener said...

Gorgeous shots of these overlooked visitors. :)

Northern Shade said...

The last photo conveys the sheer mass of butterflies. It must be wonderful to watch and see the garden come to life with so much movement. Isn't it great when you see how your garden is really part of the habitat, and connected to other life? The closeups really show up the delicate little markings, and it picked the right pink and orange flower to show off its yellow colour.

Gail said...

I love this little butterfly~I've noticed more have been visiting here, but no where near your numbers. It must be a wonderful sight~gail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

How do you do it? I've seen one sulfur butterfly this summer. That's just magic!

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie...Your pictures are so pretty. How do you get them to stop fluttering and sit still for a picture? LOL...

Skeeter said...

Wow, we have sulfurs but not that many at one time! How awesome of a sight that must be to witness, wow is all I can say....

Reading below, I do like the chair and ladder being used as peony cages! Cleaver idea indeed!

Hope you have not floated away with all that rain. Hang on tight and stay dry and cool. Cool, ha, what is that right now… I am ready to install an in-ground swimming pool to keep cool as this has been one hot summer for us here in GA. But we expect it here and not up north. I know the heat is worse for you guys. I hate for my flowers to fade away but I am about ready for Fall to arrive….

walk2write said...

That first picture is especially amazing! I hope the rest of your summer is more pleasant. Your flowers look like they're enjoying the heat and rain anyway. Thanks for showing us the golden lining, Marnie.

Rose said...

Beautiful photos, Marnie, especially the first one with the sun shining through her delicate wings. I find the sulphurs are more difficult to photograph than the larger butterflies, maybe because they seem to be always on the move. I agree this hasn't been the best summer weatherwise, but at least the number of butterflies this year has been encouraging. They must like it hot and humid:)

sweetbay said...

Sulphurs are starting to show up around here too. It must be amazing to have so many in your garden! They are lovely lovely butterflies.

Judy said...

Wonderful photos of the butterflies! I absolutely love that first shot, and I am so glad I followed your instructions to enlarge it!!

.......................... said...

We have had a dry hot spring followed by an unusually hot July. I am looking forward to a hopefully cooler month in August.
Hope it gets cooler for you soon! Jennifer

Kerri said...

How wonderful to have so many sulphurs at once! Thanks for sharing that fascinating experience with us.
You caught some lovely light through those pretty wings.
The agastache pic is amazing!
I'm so glad I popped over to catch up with your summer "doings" :)