September Garden

Our garden reached its peak a few weeks ago, but it’s still full of color and life in mid-September.  Butterflies, many species of bees, and dragonflies are present.  A tiny charcoal-colored mouse slices off the black-eyed Susan flower heads leaving long, empty stalks.  (One year I found a mouse’s stash of flower heads and seeds in my garden toolbox!) A family of cardinals eats red yew berries; chipmunks and squirrels munch on the last of the beacon apples.  Here are a few of the flowers and insects in our garden on this warm, sunny afternoon in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Asters with spotted Joe-Pye weed and Japanese anemones

Asters novi-belgii with spotted Joe-Pye weed and Japanese anemones.

White-faced meadowhawk dragonflies patrol the garden for mosquitoes and other small, soft-bodied insects.  Many years these dragonflies are active in our garden until mid-October.

A male white-faced meadowhawk dragonfly.

A white-faced meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum obtrusum).

Heath asters (Symphyotrichum ericoides) is native to the eastern and midwestern United States and Canada.

Heath asters (Symphyotrichum ericoides) are native to the eastern and midwestern United States and Canada.

Grass funnel spiders (Agelenopsis) are shy spiders that build flat webs with a funnel or tube at the back of the web.  The spider rests out of sight in the funnel.  When an insect lands on the web, the spider quickly captures it, bites it and wraps it in silk.

A funnel spider spun its web among the helenium plants.

A funnel spider spun its web among the helenium plants.

After many days without monarchs, a straggler sipped nectar from several different flower species.

A monarch sips nectar from a spotted Joe-Pye weed plant.

A monarch sips nectar from a spotted Joe-Pye weed plant.

Native white turtlehead  (Chelone glabra) brightens up a shady spot in the garden

Native white turtlehead (Chelone glabra) brightens up a shady spot in the garden

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