Last Bouquet of the Year…….

Last night, the low here in southeastern Michigan plunged into the mid-20’s.  Knowing temps like that would kill off all my remaining flowers, I went out into the yard in the afternoon to save whatever was still blooming.  There was enough for a small but colorful arrangement.  I’ve had a vase full of fresh flowers from the garden in my house since the daffodils and grape hyacinths popped out of the ground in the spring.  I sure am going to miss being able to pick pretty flowers as we go through our long Michigan winter!  But I’ll look forward to the first flowers of spring, hepatica and bloodroot, that emerge in my woodland garden in April. Spring is my favorite season of the year and it can never come soon enough for me!!!

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Purple

One doesn’t usually think of purple when they think of fall colors so at first I figured that this would be one “Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge” week that I would skip.  The challenge colors for the four weeks of October were green, yellow, orange and red, all colors that we think of when we think of beautiful fall foliage.  But purple?!!!  Then it hit me: ASTERS!!!  Asters bloom in the fall and asters are various shades of PURPLE!!!  As an added bonus, asters attract bees and butterflies!  So here are some photos featuring the color purple, mostly asters, and all with a special visitor.  The first is of a beautiful giant swallowtail in a pretty clump of asters.  The giant swallowtail lives up to its’ name: it’s the largest swallowtail in the Midwest with a wingspan between 5 & 6 inches!

Asters are a favorite flower of migrating monarchs.  Here’s a monarch on native New England aster:

Bees love asters too.  Here’s a bumblebee enjoying one:

Here’s another bumblebee: this one is on verbena bonariensis, also known as tall verbena.

Butterfly bushes also come in shades of purple and they bloom well into the fall.  Here’s a tiger swallowtail nectaring on a light purple butterfly bush:

There’s more great photos featuring the color purple at:

Be sure to check them out!!!

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Yellow

I stumbled across a fun photo challenge going on right now called “Shades of Autumn”.  Each week a different color is featured and this week’s color is yellow.  Yellow, sunshiny and happy, has always been at the top of my list of favorite colors.  As a teenager, I chose a yellow bedroom set to surround myself in mellow yellow.  Today, my gardens are filled with loads of bright yellow flowers.  Here are some of my favorite photos that feature this cheerful color:

A sunflower, of course!

Another sunflower, this one being visited by a bee!

A yellow and black bumblebee on pretty yellow and orange flowers.  Wonderful YELLOW!!!

The underside of a giant swallowtail’s wings is, guess what?!!!  Yellow!!!  Here’s one that recently emerged from its’ chrysalis hanging from pretty yellow zigzag goldenrod.

Here’s the same giant swallowtail drying its’ wings in preparation for its’ first flight!

Lastly, here’s a photo of beautiful Upper Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The falls have a wonderful golden hue which beautifully complements the golden yellow of the autumn leaves.

To see more wonderful shades of yellow, visit: