Saturday, September 17, 2016

Late Summer Mt. Cuba Center Visit

I was at the Mt. Cuba Center last weekend for a little late summer photo stroll. Here are a few of the sights I saw.

The round garden perhaps off from the main house is a dazzling array of color now, though perhaps a little busy for some. While it's comprised of mostly nonnative annuals, it serves as a bustling stop for an assortment of butterflies who's host plants are all around some ~650 acres of fairly well kept wilderness and native plant gardens. 

I'm not sure what the purple plant is but it's foliage contrasts well with the brightness of the Lantana in bloom among other flowering plants. Here some skippers flutter about. Among them were an assortment of Swallowtails, Monarchs, and Fritillary Butterflies that proved too quick for me to photograph. 

Elsewhere in a native flower bed the Swallowtails were a bit more cooperative. Here two Tigers sip at an Ironweed, I believe the cultivar is Vernonia angustifolia 'Plum Peachy' which is like 'Iron Butterfly' but about twice as tall. 

Praying Mantises were abound in the meadow garden. Not only were females laying eggs but also in the act of mating... some with more than one partner courting them at the same time. 

Though the woodland was filled with an assortment of Woodland Asters, I found the Richweed, Collinsonia canadensis, to be particularly interesting.

Though common in woodland areas across the eastern United States, it's not something a lot of people stop to look at.

Part of the issues that it's not a more mainstream plant is likely due to the large leaves of the plant, compared to the fairly delicate flower stalks that come above. The flowers are small and not entirely noticeable either. I actually walked past the patch of these plants twice before I even noticed it. It's plants like this where interesting leaves or flower shapes from cultivation would benefit to get it sold and brought into the main nursery trade.