Longer shadows, and the continuous hum of cicadas bring back bittersweet memories of back to school and getting my classroom ready for another year. Excited to be starting a new school year, but sad knowing fall would soon be upon us bringing the end of the gardening season.
Photography enables me to keep the memories of my garden close. In the classroom I learned from my students which influenced my teaching. Now I learn from my photographs which influence design and purpose. In each photo I see the plant’s color, shape, and form. Through my photography I see which plants work well together, what I need to move, and what I need to add.
My cottage garden is a garden for the pollinators.
Photographs that capture a moment of wonder in my cottage garden:
Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ A short form of the tall verbena, it has strong stems holding clusters of lavender flowers summer through fall.
An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly takes delight in drinking nectar from verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’. This is a female, notice the blue along her back hind wing.
My photograph revealed a hole in her back wing. Determined (as all females are) she flitted from flower to flower.
Another pollinator attracted to the verbena, the Common Buckeye butterfly, uses bold multicolored eyespots to frighten predatory birds.
The sweet nectar of verbena ‘Lollipop’ lures a White-Spot Skipper to join the Common Buckeye.
‘Lollipop’ verbena has lavender flowers atop slender see-through stems that sway in the summer breeze.
Can you see the peach roses through the stems of the verbena?
One of my favorite annuals with pale yellow-green flowers is Flowering tobacco. The botanical name is Nicotiana alata. One of the benefits of this annual: It reseeds itself adding more flowers to the garden.
Bee balm also known as Monarda attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Lavender-blue flowers of Nepeta ‘Walker’s low’ catmint add softness to the orange flowers of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed). The structure of the sword-shaped leaves of Blackberry Lily compliments the grouping.
Purple spiked flowers of Agastache ‘Blue fortune’ (hummingbird mint) and the yellow flowers of Black-eyed Susans pair well together. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors on the color wheel.
Dragonflies are lovely to look at and beneficial in the garden because they consume pesky insects like mosquitoes.
A birdbath, Black-eyed Susans and lime green coneflowers: all part of my cottage garden.