The weather here has been so beautiful that I feel guilty even talking about it because I know so many areas around the country are having extreme weather right now. Yesterday was another nice day: no wind, low humidity, sunny and high in the upper 70's. I took my time mowing the lawn because I wanted to see everything that was going on out in the yard. I noted the interesting sightings and went back this morning with my camera. In no particular order, here are some of the things I saw around the yard.
Lots and lots of common milkweed blooming all over the yard. I love the sweet smell of the blossoms. I thought it was interesting that I have white-colored blossoms on the plants at one end of my yard (where the soil seems to be mostly red clay)....
....and really pink-colored blossoms on the plants that are in the front of the yard, closer to the house. The soil still contains clay, but it's much darker. That's the only reason I can think of for the difference in these plants. If anyone knows the real reason, please let me know in the comments section.
I found several piles of these grackle feathers.....Cooper's Hawk taking care of these nuisance birds for me. Good job, CH!
I saw these pretty lavender-colored blossoms near the road ditch. A check of my Wildflowers of Minnesota book told me this was Hedge Nettle (a member of the Mint family) and a cousin of the not-so-pleasant Stinging Nettle, which I also have a few nasty patches of.
Speaking of nasty patches, here is one of my larger patches of the Wild Parsnip. I'm very watchful around this plant. Some of the larger ones I try to get cut down. As far as I can tell, the only redeeming feature of this plant is that it's a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (and I have found some of those caterpillars on wild parsnip before).
I've had small flocks of Cedar Waxwings hanging around all summer. Here's one of the reasons: Mulberries. Several years ago, I ordered some mulberry trees to plant in my yard. For whatever reason, I seemed to think the catalog said they were a Zone 4 tree and I later found out they were actually Zone 5. I lost a few of them after a couple of years, but the ones that are still alive are doing very well, and this year they're loaded with fruit. The berries are delicious and I usually try to snack on a few myself while mowing under the trees. All of the fruit-eating birds (robins, catbirds, and cedar waxwings) are spending lots of time in these mulberry trees this summer. (The really dark ones are the ripe ones.)
The flowers in my butterfly/hummingbird garden are doing great. The daylilies and liatris are just starting to bloom and the delphinium is still covered with blossoms.
The Monarda has opened lots of blossoms in the last week also. (Inside the little ring at the top right of the picture is Lobelia--I don't water this plant as faithfully as I should, so it's slow getting started; I can't wait for those red flowers to start blooming.)