July was beautiful and busy in my garden!

July is my favorite month in my garden because my full-sun pollinator garden is filled with flowers and butterflies!

I started gardening after learning about the huge decrease in Monarch butterflies. So I created a Monarch Waystation by adding lots of nectar plants, caterpillar host plants and water puddling stations. I had one Monarch visit last week. Isn’t she beautiful? I have been checking my Common Milkweed, Rose Milkweed and Butterfly Weed for eggs, but none yet. Hopefully in the future I can help raise Monarchs!

My pollinator garden has plants that attract and feed butterflies, moths, native bees, beneficial insects, and hummingbirds. I have a large variety of plants that have different-colored and different-sized flowers that bloom all season, from April through October. I also have many types of caterpillar host plants, so the butterflies will lay eggs here.

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a Black Eyed Susan.

A Black Swallowtail on the Butterfly Bush.

It isn’t a native plant, but it is by far the most popular plant with all of the butterflies. These plants are very invasive. Luckily mine is a sterile variety so it won’t spread. In March I cut it all the way down to 2′ tall and it grew like crazy. It is now at least 8′ tall.

This is an aerial view of my full sun pollinator garden, including: Common Milkweed, Joe Pye Weed, ‘Phenomenal’ Lavender, Butterfly Bush, Yarrow, Creeping Thyme, New York Ironweed, Garden Phlox, Rose Milkweed, Monarda/Bee Balm, Calico Aster, Sunflowers, Prairie Blazing Star, Black Eyed Susans, ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Agastache, Purple Coneflowers, Turks Cap Lillies, Cosmos, Dill, Chives, Banana Cream Daisies, Butterfly Verbena, Sweet Alyssum, African Blue Basil, Blanket Flowers, New England Asters, New York Asters, and Hairy Beardtongue.

I have many pollinator plants in other areas of my garden as well: Coral Honeysuckle, Cup Plant, Blunt Mountain Mint, Snapdragons, Zinnias, Marigolds, Lantana, Scarlet Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Threadleaf Coreopsis, Bluestar, Monkey Flower, Cardinal Flower, Great Blue Lobelia, Wild Geranium, Stiff Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’, Spiderwort, Fuschias, ‘Labrador’ Violets, Golden Ragwort, Virginia Bluebells, and Bleeding Heart.

I am hoping these beautiful Cosmos will reseed and come back every year since they are annuals.

This sunflower was planted by the birds!

I planted this little sunflower.

The tall Cup Plant with its yellow flowers is attracting bees and butterflies.

The garden phlox is so pretty!

The hummingbirds have enjoyed the nectar from the Scarlet Bee Balm.

These Casa Blanca Lillies smell heavenly!

The bright red Cardinal Flower is a real stunner! The hummingbirds love it! I may plant a few more next year.

The ‘Jet Stream’ Oakleaf Hydrangea blooms are fading from creamy white to pale green and pink now.

The Beautyberry shrub has lots of tiny purple blooms. I’m hoping they will become tiny purple berries in the fall, for the birds.

We had a beautiful doe visit our backyard last week. She was chowing down on grass and weeds. She is welcome here… as long as she only chomps on grass and weeds. Our dogs keep deer out of the yard most of the time.

My little 5 gallon bucket vegetable garden is coming along. I only get about six hours of sun back here in the woods. So they don’t look that great. I’d love to grow veggies in the sunny field out front, but there is no water source nearby, and the deer would have free reign… so I would also need a deer fence…

My first Cherokee Purple tomato. Hopefully not the only one. Ha!

The Sungold Cherry Tomatoes are doing well.

I found this volunteer cucumber growing in my shade garden. Weird! I guess it sprouted from seeds in my compost. I transplanted it into a pot and it’s growing! It has several flowers now.

One morning I found this beautiful spider web on the tomatoes. Spiders are great because they kill lots of bad insects.

Here is an aerial view of my little frog pond. It has been a huge success…

The Hardy White Lily blooms are so pretty! They open in the morning and close again in the evening.

My pond has a resident pair of Blue Dasher Dragonflies. The male has a bright blue body and green eyes. He likes to perch on my wheelbarrow planter and fly over the pond to eat tiny insects attracted to the water. He also chases off another male Blue Dasher who tries to hone in on his territory all the time. The female is larger with a brown body. She also eats insects around the pond. I’m hoping she will lay eggs around my pond plants. Dragonflies are great beneficial insects to have in the garden!

Speaking of beneficials… here’s my little buddy, the Southern Leopard Frog. We still need to name him.

He loves to hide under this wrinkle in the pond liner during the hot part of the day when the sun is on the pond. Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Most nights we hear him calling his girlfriends out to his frog pond party!

And… we now have lots of frog eggs in the pond! They have been gettin busy out there!

And… now we have babies! So many tadpoles (aka pollywogs)! I am so very excited!! I love to sit in the garden by the pond and watch all the tadpoles and other aquatic insects swimming around!

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