26 November 2017
Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.
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.