Lens-Artists #113: Labor of Love

This week’s photo challenge comes from guest host Rusha Sams of Oh, The Places we See… We are asked to show images that represent a Labor of Love.

Planting my butterfly garden and maintaining it is a labor of love for me. By planting seeds and plants that attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees I am providing a place for them to feast on the nectar. At the same time I have a space in my backyard to relax and enjoy nature.

Here’s a few of the late summer critters that visited the garden recently. You can click on a picture to enlarge it.

Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, and Skipper butterflies have been all over the zinnias and Mexican Sunflower drinking up the nectar. Wasps, bees, and even a tiny grasshopper enjoyed the flowers, too.

It’s been a long, hot, dry summer and hopefully the flowers will continue to attract the butterflies and other critters for a little while longer.

I smile whenever I see these beautiful visitors to the garden. What made you smile this week?

Thanks to guest host Rusha Sams for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – A Labor of Love.

Also shared with Trent’s Weekly Smile.

Lens-Artists #110: Creativity in the time of Covid-19

This week, Tina has asked us to show creativity in the time of Covid-19.

I’ve tried my best to stay creative with my photography during this time. I’ve been experimenting with different photo techniques and some different editing effects.

One day in early spring I went out after a rain shower to take some photos. I wasn’t happy with them until I started playing around with different editing effects. This Mexican Sunflower photo was boring until I added a water color effect.

Watercolor Mexican Sunflower

I am usually on the ground looking up when I take pictures of hummingbirds. One day I sat on our deck looking down at the flowers and captured this Ruby Throated Hummingbird going from flower to flower. By shooting from above I was able to get the shots I wanted.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

I’d like to thank the amazing Lens-Artists team of Tina, Amy, Anne-Christine, and Patti for giving me inspiration and keeping me motivated during this time.

Tina, thank you for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Creativity in the Time of Covid-19

Winter in the Butterfly Garden

Although most of the plants in my butterfly garden are finished blooming for the winter, some of flowering plants continued to bloom in late December and early January.

The milkweed is blooming and attracting Monarch butterflies. Because Hurricane Irma destroyed my butterfly garden in 2017 there were no butterflies or caterpillars last winter. I replanted the garden in the spring of 2018 and in December, 2018 I was thrilled to find monarchs and caterpillars on the milkweed once again.

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Monarch on milkweed in January

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Monarch Caterpillar

Two days later, this caterpillar had changed into a chrysalis.

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Monarch Chrysalis December 24, 2018

I checked on the chrysalis every day. A week later, on New Year’s Eve, it was starting to change.

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Week old monarch chrysalis after rain December 31, 2018

I continued checking on it daily and I could see subtle changes each day. Just when I knew it wouldn’t be long before a butterfly emerged, I found it lying on the ground the morning of January 5. We did some research on the internet to find out if there was anything we could do to save it. We tied it to a branch with piece of thread and let it hang in a jar. It’s been over a week since then and still there is no change.

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We rescued the Chrysalis after it fell on the ground on January 5, 2019

I wish there had been a happier ending to this post. I’m sad to say that our butterfly didn’t make it.