September Bloom (and Animal) Day

Again I missed the traditional Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th, but it’s still September, so here I go.

September here in New Hampshire, as in many places, is a month of changeability. Highs have reached the mid-80sF, lows will hit the high 30sF next week. We had a woodstove fire one evening, and we’ve had the whole-house fan blasting cooler overnight air into the warm house many times.

I found six monarch butterfly chrysalises this month, from which one adult butterfly has successfully emerged,

and another emerged but even though there was sufficient room for it to pump and dry its wings properly, still it ended up with wing wrinkles the prevented it flying properly. I blogged about that, and then a day or so later spouse clipped its wings to give it stronger balance, and when last seen it was flying better and feeding on a Joe Pye weed flower. I hope it has or had a few days of feeling the freedom of flight.

A third chrysalis suffered predation, I think,


and a fourth disappeared and the jewelweed it was attached to was broken.

The last two remain, still green, not very dark, after more than a week hanging, so I doubt that butterflies will emerge but I still check them twice daily.

chrysalis on perovskia in veg garden today

Today, I came across my first monarch caterpillar with the bacteria (Pseudomonas bacteria) or virus (Nuclear polyhedrosis virus) that causes black death, I think; I have not destroyed it because we are at the very end of the larvae season here now, so there’s really no one to whom to spread the disease, and I want to watch this caterpillar to see what happens, though I know it will likely be horrific. I’m guessing it’s the pseudomonas bacteria that is the culprit here, as it’s been rather moist lately.



As I mentioned, temps are forecast to dip into the high 30sF a week from today, so I hope that the late-season adult butterflies still munching the Joe Pye weed and butterfly bush get moving to warmer climes (i.e., Mexico) soon.

There are five visible in this shot of the Joe Pye weed, though I’ve seen six at once on this plant:


And in these photos, three, two, and one each on the Joe Pye and the butterfly bush:


Another creature discovered this month, chomping on the Japanese maple — they eat 86,000 times their body weight while caterpillars!,  is the meaty (3″ long, quite thick) Antheraea polyphemus caterpillar/larva of a giant silk moth (family Saturniidae). Apparently, it’s going to overwinter as a pupa inside a brown spindle-shaped cocoon, perhaps wrapped in a maple leaf, cemented to a tree branch or twig. I’m not sure that’s going to be a success but I wish it luck.


We also have more tussock moth caterpillars this season than I can ever recall having seen in a summer.

two spotted tussock moth caterpillars (Lophocampa maculata), foreground and background, on sour cherry leaves
banded tussock moth caterpillar (Halysidota tessellaris) on mildewy lilac leaf
hickory tussock moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae) — our most common tussock moth caterpillar by far — on larch
milkweed tussock moth caterpillar (Euchaetes egle) on milkweed


And we have more raccoons than usual, despite having our normal sightings of foxes, sightings of fishers in the marsh, and the sounds of coyotes nearby. These are motion camera photos — clockwise from top left: raccoon and skunk, raccoon, four raccoons, three raccoons, raccoon facing camera.


But I bet you came here for flowers! And this is the last month I’ll have much to share along those lines, so here’s what been happening this month in my zone 4b-5a northern New England garden.

The back border and backyard: From top left, clockwise: Backyard with partial border and island; Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) in the evening; red flowers of ‘Shenandoah’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and pinkish flowers of Joe Pye weed; a heather in bloom; comfrey buds; the mossy grass behind the fence; a black and white syrphid fly (Spilomyia fusca) on wild aster; a reblooming geranium given to me by a neighbour a few years ago; the leaves of the Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’.


The sunroom border: From top left, clockwise: ‘May Night’ salvia; annual snapdragon flower; fuzzy goldenrod seedheads; blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) fruits.


The shade garden:  From top left, clockwise: ‘Samurai’ tricyrtis buds (toadlily); wide view of pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii); close view of turtlehead bloom; Anemone tormentosa ‘Robustissima’ blooms; kirengeshoma (Kirengeshoma palamata – yellow waxy bells) blooms and buds.


Front yard: From top left, clockwise: echinacea and cosmos (and a little ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum); cosmos and echinacea, monarch on cosmos; autumn crocus from a friend; red ‘Turkish Delight’ sedum; goldenrod and jewelweed by boulder; fruit of a kousa dogwood shrub; bee balm flower; reblooming centaurea (perennial bachelor button); amazing annual Vermillionaire large firecracker plant (Cuphea hybrid) that blooms from May to October; ‘Autumn Fire’ sedum in bloom; ‘Rozanne’ geranium blooming.


Rock Wall: From top left, clockwise: hydrangea with both white and pink/green blooms; goldenrod and echinacea; ‘Ruby Spice’ Clethra rubra; pink phlox; closer view of the pink/green hydrangea bloom.


Fruit Guild: The peaches finished up at the beginning of the month, but not before lots of people came and picked some (and grey squirrels enjoyed them, too), and I made 9 loaves of peach cobbler bread and 8 quarts of peachcello.


Photos from top left, clockwise: Admiral butterfly on rotting peach; the last peach harvest on 4 Sept; one of a few volunteer pumpkins near the composter; nasturtium; white ‘Jim’s Tall Towers’ tricyrtis (toadlily) bloom; Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed) from a 3-yr-old butterfly seed mix; two more nasturtiums.


Finally, the side yard, including vegetable garden. Photos from top left, clockwise: red pepper!; marigolds; marigold, close; common yellowthroat warbler in lilac shrub; pink ‘Neon Intensia’ phlox; anise hyssop; feverfew; fading cosmos; ‘Ellen’s Blue’ butterfly bush (buddleia); same ‘Ellen’s Blue’ buddleia seen through the window, along with a hydrangea.


Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Just found your blog today, while searching for a photo of swamp candles fruits (on your Butterfield Pond trip, 10/5/16). We found some today in here in Nelson on our weekly Monday outing. Also found cranberries close to ripe. Enjoyed reading through some of your blogs.
    -Al Stoops
    Nelson NH

    1. Cranberries are ripe and nearing ripe at the Philbrick Criscenti Bog in New London. Thanks much for reading and commenting.

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