We’ve been blessed with the presence of an authentic Monarch butterfly in the garden this last week, following my sighting of 3 more out in some pasture lands on the outskirts of town. The Monarch is a relatively rare butterfly to see in this area, and I can’t remember the last time I saw one: with the overall decline in their populations over the last decade, I was surprised and delighted to see these, especially in a short amount of time! Almost didn’t trust my eyes! I grew up with them as very commonplace yard visitors, and missed their numbers up here in western Oregon. Even though I’ve grown a type of milkweed for many years (a non-invasive cultivar), it hasn’t hosted very many caterpillars in its lifetime, nor is it the favorite of the monarch. However, more people are planting various types of milkweed in the area, and perhaps it is paying off.
He is not always present on a daily basis, but one afternoon and evening he was a visitor for several hours, flitting about, around to neighbors, and back, and alighting on the butterfly bush, which is loves for nectar. The frequently visiting Swallowtail was also cruising through the yard, and there were some near collisions at the Buddleia bush. Jujubes have shown up, too, jumping and whirling themselves about in little frenzies, which didn’t phase Mr. Monarch. Such a delight and blessing to see them all active and energetic. I did have to remind little Juni-cat that she should not even think about trying to capture our visitor! She has caught a Swallowtail before…grrr.
Our first bounty of beautiful yellow crookneck squash was picked a couple of weeks ago, and a ripening tomato can be seen from certain viewpoints in the yard. However, most of the tomatoes are green; our intermittent pattern of 3-days cooler than average, then 3 days normal summer heat, is not conducive to speedy tomato ripening. There might be green tomatoes at season’s end this year, depending.
Spaghetti squash is being true to form and pumping out its fruit, (with bees’ help, of course), and at last count last weekend, I saw about twelve softball-sized squash. Five days later, some of them are now almost full-grown for this variety, like a good-sized canteloupe.
We’ve had very, very, very, very bad deer this year, in spite of extra netting. They have learned to walk on netting and bite through it for their highly-desired bean leaf sprouts, and then they won’t leave them alone. There will be absolutely no bean harvest this year; I leave the stems to torment them! Always one day (no, one night!) ahead of me, they demolished over half the lettuce crop. It appears we might get some lettuce re-growing though as summer cools off a bit. And they harass some of the melon and cucumber seedlings, too, when least expected, so we’ll see how those do. Tomatoes are protected enough now that they can’t do too much damage.