Bumblebee ( Bombus spp .) on Swamp Milkweed ( Asclepsia incarnata )

Bumblebee (Bombus spp.) on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepsia incarnata)

Pollen is the emblem of peace, of happiness, of prosperity, and it is supposed to bring these blessings.
— Washington Matthews, The Night Chant: A Navaho Ceremony (1901)

We were treated to a daylong, ground-saturating, torrential downpour yesterday. And as I type this quick note, thunder is rumbling outside.

Earlier today - between rain showers - I was able to sit for a while in the pollinator garden listening to the din of bumblebees. Over in the meadow garden I counted seven healthy-looking monarch caterpillars on the common milkweed and the butterfly weed. The swamp milkweed was covered in buzzing bees, flower flies and great golden digger wasps (they are rather frightening-looking, but harmless)...but alas, no visible caterpillars.

In the woodland garden I found three female spined micrathena spiders suspended within their webs. Orchard spiders are also plentiful - their webs, found hanging among many of our plants and shrubs, remain in place for long periods. We have the pleasure of watching the shimmering spiders grow larger as they appear to remain in the same web (and tidying it of prey detritus) all summer unless disturbed.

Our extraordinary elder (planted in 2015) - of which I am reminded because we planted it on the side of the house that stays shaded and its soil, damp (from an overflowing gutter) - now reaches the second story of our house! As recently as a couple of weeks ago it was covered in delicate white blossoms. Now, its unripe (green) berries are disappearing - I wonder if greedy birds are snapping them up? 

Thunderstorms are in the forecast every day this week...rain in late-July is a blessing, though. ♥

Jessica Allen explores the fields and forests of Pennsylvania with her artist-husband, Michael Allen, and their son, Benjamin. She shares her observations through words and pictures of everyday magic and beauty she sees in her world.