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 […]

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 […]

Perennial Sunflowers in Autumn

Want height, color, and pollinators in your late-season perennial bed? Add perennial sunflowers and their relatives, as well as false sunflowers.

Helianthus species and Heliopsis species are irresistible to butterflies. Elecampane (Inula helenium – upper right) is a summer bloomer that attracts a wide variety of pollinators, including bees and hover flies. Often growing 6 […]

Coral Honeysuckle Attracts Hummingbirds

Want to attract hummingbirds to your garden? Plant our native coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), which blooms red from April through September. It does best with some support, and light pruning keeps it to your desired size.

Coral honeysuckle tends to attract aphids, but you’ll probably see ladybugs and lacewings hunting for their dinner. Here you […]

Monarch Life Cycle in the Shenandoah Valley

After a couple of years, I’ve finally managed to capture each step of a monarch’s life.

From egg, through the instars, chrysalis, adulthood, and ovidepositing another egg.

If you grow milkweed, you can see this in your garden, too!

*** This site is comprised solely of the opinions of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She works to promote gardening and tourism in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.***