Black Swallowtail on Purple Aster

I’m enjoying the abundant life on the purple Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Skipper butterflies are constantly flitting around the blooms, and in addition to the Monarch butterflies, the Black Swallowtails are enjoying the nectar.

Black Swallowtail on Purple New England Aster

*** This site is comprised solely of the opinions of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She […]

Monarch Butterfly on Purple Aster

In early autumn the air is alive with floating flowers as Monarch butterflies fuel up for their migration to Mexico. The favorite in my pollinator garden is this Purple Aster.

It was incorrectly labeled “Maryland Goldenaster” when I purchased it a small plant sale. I was initially sorry I didn’t go home with the Chrysopsis mariana […]

Easy Milkweed Seed Collection

October is here, and milkweed seedpods are maturing. Time to collect seed!

Milkweed is vital to our environment. It’s the host plant for Monarch caterpillars and a nectar source for numerous different insects. (I also caught the resident groundhog eating seedlings, but I certainly don’t grow it for him!)

To collect the seed, I like […]

Pink and Purple Asters in Autumn

Did you pinch back your asters this summer? If so, they are probably just beginning to bloom. (If not…like me…they may be almost done!)

Asters are amazing. From Stokes’ Aster’s summer blooms to the late-summer-to-fall bloom of New England Asters, Wild Asters, etc., these little flowers put on quite the show in our perennial gardens. With […]

Rudbeckias in Bloom in Shenandoah

If there’s one flower I will never be without, it’s the black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia species). Many of its varieties are in bloom now and keeping our pollinators happy.

Rudbeckias come in many shapes and lifespans and go by many common names. Most are drought-tolerant perennials here, and all seem to self-seed readily, so it’s a […]