Monday, November 09, 2009

A Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly (Phoebis sennae) in My World




This tattered and worn Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly on a tattered and worn zinnia flower seems an appropriate symbol for current conditions in my world. Nature is winding down for winter.

We've only had a couple of light frosts thus far, but soon a major blast of Arctic air will come barreling down from the north and all the bugs and flowers will be gone. Or will they?

While I won't see nearly as many insects until spring, they will still be here. Most will be hiding in leaf litter or underground in their larval forms. A few  will overwinter as adults and surprise me with their appearance on warm winter days. All will be waiting for spring to begin again their life cycles.

In their own way, the zinnias will also still be here. All the genetic information needed to produce new plants and flowers is stored in their tiny seeds. Were we good gardeners, we'd deadhead each flower after the bloom is spent. Were we even mediocre gardeners, we clean up all the old plants after they freeze. But if history is any guide, the dead zinnias will remain in the garden for most of the winter if not all the way into next spring. Our excuse is that the zinnias need plenty of time to reseed themselves. Also, many times I've seen Goldfinches feeding on zinnia seeds. Regardless, the zinnias are still here.

Nature will soon take a winter's rest, but insects and flowers still abound and are just waiting for spring to begin again.







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17 comments:

Paula Werner Severo said...

very beautiful! =]

JOE TODD said...

I vote for the Goldfinches

Sylvia K said...

What a beautiful shot of the butterfly! I love it! Such delicate colors! And, yes, it's chill, wet, gray and breezy here in Seattle. I definitely think that winter is trying to slip through the door!

Enjoy! Stay warm!

Sylvia

Riet said...

I love that photo. So special , great shot

ramblingwoods.com said...

Hello Marvin..I came for Nature Notes and I had to go look up the meaning of 'treenware' and I love hand crafted items made here even though there aren't many craftspeople who still do it. I love this photo and I used to clean up everything in the fall, but have been convinced that leaving it is a better idea...Love the butterfly.. Michelle

Barb said...

Your photo of the Sulphur Butterfly is wonderful - I almost didn't see the butterfly at first - it's well-camouflaged and blends into the other greenery. My eyes actually went to that little yellow and black spotted bug! I have snow on the ground, so my Zinnias are more than "spent!"

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great picture and nature lesson.

Marvin said...

The little yellow and black spotted bug is a Spotted Cucumber Beetle. BugGuide has this to say about them. "Larvae feed on roots of a wide range of plants, including many field crops.Considered a major pest of many field crops including cucumbers and other squashes, corn, soy. Beetles also transmit crop diseases such as bacterial wilt. Adults also reported damaging to garden plants including hibiscus, roses."

So.... I must admit that not doing a thorough clean up in the garden does have its down side. One helps the "bad guys" overwinter too. Nature isn't just pretty butterflies and zinnias. {{{Sigh}}}

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

These can so easily be overlooked as they blend in perfectly. Wonderful shot Marvin.

Barb said...

Darn - that Cucumber Beetle goes so well in the photo, too!

LadyFi said...

Great colours! That butterfly looks so fragile - like parchment paper.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Marvin. What a neat shot of the butterfly and the little beetle on the zinnia. I can almost feel a painting coming on.

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful capture of the butterfly.

tess said...

I really love the information conveyed in these posts --plain language but a store of knowledge for which I'd pay a university. And it's lovely to read -- great prose style in other words. The Ozarks are so far from me but here I am!

bettyl said...

That is an awesome shot!

Crafty Green Poet said...

beautiful photo, I like the little ladybug (?) that's at the butterfly's feet.

I'm with Joe Todd in voting for the goldfinches,

Wren said...

Lovely butterfly with a great name. Isn't it nice to have spring to look forward to?