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!!!



………seeing a few monarchs flying through my backyard.  Way, way fewer than last year since the population is down this year due to the cool, rainy spring we had.  So many caterpillars just couldn’t survive it!  So it’s a real treat to have one nectaring in my yard, such as this beauty:

I usually see an Eastern tiger swallowtail in my yard every day.  Here’s one dining on coneflower:

I was very excited the other day to have a giant swallowtail spend quite a bit of time nectaring on my coneflowers and swamp milkweed.  Such a beautiful butterfly, and huge too!  It’s the largest butterfly in North America with a wingspan of up to six inches.  Here’s the one that visited my backyard:

Other butterfly visitors have included the oh-so-common cabbage whites as well as skippers and blues.  I keep planting more and more butterfly plants in hopes of getting a greater variety of these winged beauties!

First “Big” Butterfly of the Season!

Looking out my kitchen window today, I noticed how the blossoms on my lilac had opened practically overnight.  Such pretty light purple blooms!  Suddenly I spotted a butterfly with bright yellow wings flying from lilac bloom to lilac bloom, nectaring away!  It was a beautiful Eastern tiger swallowtail!  Can summer be far off?!!!  Although I couldn’t be quick enough to run outside to shoot a few pictures of the butterfly, here’s a few shots of a tiger swallowtail from a few summers ago:

Hopefully soon I’ll be spotting monarchs; every day they get closer and closer to Michigan.  My milkweed has sprouted and is quickly growing so it will be ready for them when they arrive!