The amazing Snowberry Clearwing


… and other garden marvels.

Some evenings in late August are too intolerable to get excited about rambling through the garden, too hot, too humid, and I’m happy enough to lounge about indoors. But the past several weeks have been different. P1012352

I admit to a fascination with the masses of Swallowtail butterflies and bumblebees that are swarming the Franklinia and Seven Sons Tree, and I’m compelled to visit regularly. ‘Worchester Gold’ and ‘Jason’ (above) yellow-leafed caryopteris hosted many bumblebees at their peak bloom, but far short of the hundreds foraging the Seven Sons.

The two trees are perhaps thirty feet apart, and stand twelve to fifteen feet tall and wide. Both border the swimming pond, a stone patio, and an aluminum garden pavilion (which somehow seems less grand than a gazebo). The surrounding garden has adequate cover for groundhogs, snakes, frogs, birds, and of course butterflies and bumblebees.  P1012347

The bluish flowers of the yellow-leafed caryopteris on the lower edge of the pond, above a dry stacked stone wall, are beginning to fade, though they will continue in color for several weeks. P1012346The green and white variegated leaf caryopteris ‘Snow Fairy’ (above, and flower, left) sited on the far side of the patio has begun to bloom, and I noticed that bumblebees were tasting its nectar.

In a moment, a peculiar movement caught my eye, quite like a hummingbird (which are not unusual in the garden), but looking more like a bumblebee. The unusual bee (bird?) was unconcerned by my presence, and went about its business gathering nectar, darting from flower to flower.P1012391a

I grabbed the camera to snap a few photos, then dashed indoors to research this odd creature. I assumed this was a type of bumblebee, but my search was anticipated by a website that referred to “similar to bumblebees”. Pictures confirmed that this was not bird nor bee, but the Snowberry Clearwing, a hummingbird moth (above).

Now, I’m certain that I’ve seen this moth before, but on days when I wasn’t so curious, and probably without a camera close at hand. There are many wonders in the garden, but often we aren’t attentive enough to notice. P1012367

We should pay notice to the several varieties of Toad Lily (Tricyrtis, above) planted at the edge of the stone patio. The small, speckled flowers are quite nice, though not too showy, but on closer inspection your curiousity is rewarded. Later in the week we’ll explore more of the amazing toad lilies, and other marvels of the late Summer garden.

Nearly enough excitement to brave the Summer heat.

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