Purple Siberian Iris, Butterflies and Birds

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Looking back over the month of June, iris sepals unfurl and fall creating waves of hues from lavender to deep purple . . . filling the Middle Meadow garden with hundreds of blooms lasting nearly three full weeks as new buds continue to open.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails or Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Papilio canadensis add to the spectacle in complementary colors. On most days I count over twenty of these bright colored butterflies floating about the gardens and when they dip deep into the iris their wings become like sepals and petals.

A wide angle lens makes everything seem smaller and farther away.

Up close again a female Ruby-throated enjoys reaching in between the folds too.

nestlings cry out above the iris from within their nest box.

The parents are waiting for me to move on before taking their harvests to their young.

Silver-spotted Skipper feeding on Garden Heliotrope while a Spicebush Swallowtail dives into an iris.

I am guessing but whatever the name these creatures fill the gardens and fields in numbers during the month of June delighting in wildflowers, as well as, an array of blossoms from native and non native cultivated perennials and shrubberies. Swallowtails and other butterflies are eye candy for birds and it pains me to see their tattered wings as the days unfold. Such is life for those critters lower on the food chain.

Imagine these images with bright butterflies flitting about as birds splash and fly to and fro.

There seems to be a constant flurry of activity about the iris during the first three weeks in June.

A Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus visits our gardens and this is my first sighting of this species here at . I am not aware of the host plant Spicebush Lindera benzoin, growing on our land but perhaps a neighbor is cultivating it. I will be sure to add this native plant to our gardens soon.

Chartreuse leaves of nativeThermopsis villosaoffer a lovely contrast to the purple iris.

A row of peonies falls down towards the display of iris.The weather was such that spring flowers all seem to come into bloom at once.

Purple from the folds of iris create a lovely backdrop for this Red-spotted Admiral as it sips the dreaded goutweed.

Standing within the iris looking over towards a weeping cut-leaf Japanese Maple and beyond to the north garden where Rosa rugosa makes a show.More of the North Garden in mauves and pinks coming soon. “So long June!”

Carol Duke

Carol Duke

is an artist and farmer who has worked with the land on a Western Massachusetts hillside for over thirty years. During this time her land has evolved into a diverse wildlife habitat. Carol features the flora and fauna that live and visit her farm on her website and blog http://caroldukeflowers.com As vital wildlife habitats are destroyed daily, Carol hopes to inspire others to garden for wildlife, while becoming activists for wild places the world over. Her nature photography has appeared in magazines, books and newspapers.

Carol Duke

Carol Duke

Carol Duke is an artist and farmer who has worked with the land on a Western Massachusetts hillside for over thirty years. During this time her land has evolved into a diverse wildlife habitat. Carol features the flora and fauna that live and visit her farm on her website and blog http://caroldukeflowers.com As vital wildlife habitats are destroyed daily, Carol hopes to inspire others to garden for wildlife, while becoming activists for wild places the world over. Her nature photography has appeared in magazines, books and newspapers.

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