Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 21 (Swamp Milkweed Collage)

26 November 2017


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Swamp Milkweed Collage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Swamp Milkweed Collage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.


Autumn conjures a number of patterns of behavior such as slipping into hibernation mode and the preparation of the garden for cold wintry days. Automatically, my body and mind ready themselves for changes initiated by the rotation of the earth and shift in the angle of the sun.

Days begin to shorten, light’s presence lessens. The garden becomes devoid of blooms and color. Acorns and berries take up their duties, and wildlife indulges in whatever can be foraged and hoarded.

There is much work to tend in my gardens. Dividing, trimming, weeding, removing entire plants. It’s a celebratory ritual of what was a few weeks ago glorious repositories from spring and summer production.

Still, there’s a meditative quality to raking leaves, spreading them on garden beds and areas to reduce grass. And there is the act of glacial decomposition that becomes compost and soil for next year’s feats and feasts of plenty. I salute myself about the creation of garden after garden, wildlife habitats, and the small grassy plots; it’s a feeling that I cannot let go.

The rhythms of autumn give me inspiration for this week’s image, a collage of swamp milkweed. This native perennial can spread with such fury that one has to be mindful of its presence in unwanted places. Butterflies and insects feed on its nectar. And it offers the almost weightless floating seeds that emerge from its pods that are one of Mother Nature’s most charming. They entice close-up examination and observation. They also are hosts for the monarch, and they are planted in my gardens as companions to other milkweeds that are critical to the survival of that precious butterfly.


To read about those famous orange-and-black butterflies, view an article published 17 October 2017 on National Geographic’s website. Here is an excerpt:

“Why Are Monarch Butterflies Important? While monarchs may seem small and insignificant, the creatures play a crucial role in the ecosystems they inhabit. As adults, monarch butterflies visit countless numbers of wildflowers each year as they seek out nutrient-rich nectar. In doing so, the monarchs transfer pollen from one plant to another and assist in those species’ reproduction. And even though monarch caterpillars and adults are poisonous to most predators, thanks to toxins they acquire from milkweed, some animals are still able to stomach them. Orioles and grosbeaks in particular make a feast of monarchs over the winter, and ants, wasps, flies, and spiders have been known to prey on the caterpillars when they get the chance.”

The article answers other questions such as: Why Do Monarchs Migrate, and How Do They Know Where to Go? Hope that you learn something new about these magnificent butterflies and their role in the earth’s ecosystem.

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34 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 21 (Swamp Milkweed Collage)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Our little island is a stopover point for migrating monarchs so there is a big press for residents to plant milkweed here. It’s very important that it’s the correct milkweed though as some species are dangerous for them. This is a good resource for more info . Loved your photo Sally, very creative

  2. Aquileana says:

    The photomontage is beautiful dear Sally… I can see the patterns in those “textures” too… maybe pretty much like those cyclical behaviours and habits attached to the seasons 😀 Harvest time sounds like a perfect and precious time of the year for me as well. (it is Spring, though here in my hemisphere 😀 ) … Your words are beautiful!. I felt I was flowing following their rhythm… And as the yellow leaves fall down, I wave at you!. Much love & best wishes ❤

  3. Collages aren’t my style, but I really like what you’ve done here, Sally. Well done. 🙂

  4. pattimoed says:

    There’s a meditative quality to this photomontage! Lovely, Sally. I hope you have as much time as you wish in your garden this week!

  5. It’s a beautiful collage. The repetitive arrangement makes quite a different expression than just a single frame would have done. It’s almost as the grid adds extra layers to the “story”.

  6. Gallivanta says:

    Love the collage, and good to know you have different milkweeds in your garden. It seems as though your garden is being prepared well for winter.

  7. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing the info! The milkweeds are so fascinating. Beautifully done, Sally!

  8. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely artwork, Sally. The winter makes us appreciate the Spring. It sounds like you have much to do in the garden.

  9. Su Leslie says:

    Your words and image work so well together Sally. 🙂

  10. Stunning collage… of your best!

  11. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Great post, Sally. I love the collage and you’ve got me thinking about putting some Milkweed plants on our property next Spring.

  12. restlessjo says:

    They look like rather elegant kitchen tiles, Sally. 🙂 🙂 I dislike the shortness of the days but everything has its place in nature, doesn’t it?

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