Some Early Summer Sights

Top Photo: Purple coneflower in front of Picnic Dome at Museum of Life & Science.

Purple coneflower is in full bloom. This flower attracts many insects. It’s a rewarding experience to visit a planting of coneflower. Lots of different butterfly species come to coneflower for its nectar, and goldfinches can’t resist the seeds.

Coneflower likes sun, can handle the heat and will tolerate a forgetful gardener’s lack of watering, so you can’t lose by planting these 3 foot tall flowers in your garden. This is one of the best flowering plants for attracting butteries to a garden.

American lady butterfly.

It wasn’t long ago that delicate, white, five-petaled blackberry blossoms were brightening up the edges of the woods. Now, there’s fruit on those blackberry canes.

Blackberry flowers during last week of April.

The fruit’s not ripe yet, it’s still red. But it won’t be long before you’ll be able to reach out and grab a handful of the deep purple berries and pop them in your mouth. The sweet earthy taste can’t be beat. But, make sure you don’t get one with a stinkbug attached, it’ll taste like a stinkbug smells, not pleasant.

Still red, blackberry fruit will be soon be ready for the picking.

Japanese beetles like to hang out on blackberries too, skeletonizing the leaves. In fact, there’re not many plants Japanese beetles don’t eat. As adult beetles they feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plant. They’ll eat the flowers too. Larvae, or grubs, feed on grass roots.

Introduced into the northeast somewhere around 1916 they’ve spread to every state east of the Mississippi and many western states. When you see one, do with it what you like. I feed them to my chickens.

Japanese beetle about to take the first bite..

Button bush grows in several locations around the wetlands. It likes sun and loves water. It’ll grow in places where there’s not a lot of sun, but if you want it to thrive put it in the sun, plenty of water and plenty of sun.

Buttonbush is common in our area along rivers, marshes and ponds. Its round flower heads with numerous, tiny, tubular white flowers are one to two inches in diameter (not including the stamens). They attract a variety of butterflies.

Silver-spotted skipper on buttonbush flower head.

Buttonbush can grow over 12 feet tall and spread as much as 18 feet if given enough sun, water and space.

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