Asking Questions . . . An Interview with Photographer Gale Zucker
Vacation Time

Over the Top on the Fun-O-Meter and a Garden Surprise



The days are long and the pace is slow.


Except . . . when it's not!

For me, this has been a non-stop kind of summer.  High on the Good-Things-and-Fun-O-Meter, for sure!  But the pace has been relentless.  (Someday, maybe I'll have a chance to actually sit and rest in this lovely corner of my garden.)

I have nothing to complain about here, truly.  I've enjoyed a long visit with my sister, visited Mackinac Island and Chicago, co-hosted a super successful fundraising wine tasting event . . . and a summer solstice party (in the same week), (finally) spent a week up north, helped Brian and Lauren move into their new digs in Grand Rapids (on the hottest and muggiest day of the summer).  And now?  Well . . . I'm headed to Alaska with Tom later this week.  So.  Really . . . nothing but fun.

Still.  Constant activity - even when it is the fun kind - is always tiring, y'know?  

Okay.  Enough whining.  
Let's have a cool garden story instead, shall we?  

I have this WILD butterfly garden. 


I do my best to keep the path clear, and I try to keep the weeds down.  But, mostly . . . I let it do it's own thing.  It's an . . . organic, flowing, constantly-changing kind of garden.  Easy care.  Friendly to pollinators.  Always packed with bees and butterflies.  (It looks pretty good, too.)

There is lots of milkweed in my butterfly garden -- common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed.  (Plants in the milkweed family are the ONLY plants Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on -- and the only plants Monarch caterpillars will eat.)

butterfly weed

Over the weekend, I happened to be checking out one of the milkweed plants to see if I could find any Monarch eggs -- and was thrilled to find this instead. . . 

common milkweed

See him down there?  Near the bottom of the photo?

Here's a close up . . . 


A Monarch caterpillar . . . just munching away on my milkweed.

I love a good garden surprise!


How about you?  How's your summer coming along?


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That caterpillar - so exciting! My summer has been a roller coaster and not all of it fun but I have had bits and pieces of garden and outdoor time that have helped my spirit.


Finding a monarch caterpillar would be an amazing surprise! With all the flowers you have to only find one they must be rare. I hope the little one grows, changes, flies away, and continues the trek! Your garden is lovely. Here's to a relaxing, enjoyable Alaskan trip!


Your summer has been delightfully full of big, fun things along with small, amazing things like this caterpillar. Maybe you'll spy a chrysalis or two on your milkweed as another garden surprise! Enjoy your Alaska anticipation!


While I don't usually like caterpillars munching on my garden, I wouldn't mind one of these. Those stripey colors would make a good sock yarn color.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar!! So cute and fun.

Glad your son and DIL are safely moved in (and closer to you now!!). I had completely forgotten that you and Tom are heading to Alaska - ENJOY!!!! Can't wait to hear/see all about it. Safe travels.

kim in oregon

We were hoping for milkweed but it ended up being Stinking Willie. So excited for your milkweed! The flowers are gorgeous and even the caterpillars are gorgeous.

Do we know details of your trip to Alaska? We took a small ship cruise there several years ago and loved it. We did all kinds of fun stuff but the one I will never forget was the helicopter trip over the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau. Colleagues are there now working in Cordova.

It has been quite warm there--warmer than on the Oregon coast, which is nuts.

Cheryl S.

How exciting! I planted some milkweed, but the only place I really had for it was a narrow strip between my garage and a fence. It's growing, but it might be in too obscure a place to attract butterflies. I've tried growing butterfly weed in the regular garden a few times, and have never been successful.


So many good things! Woo hoo for Brian and Lauren and for you and Tom. There's a possible move closer East in our world (TN) but it's still too early in the process to get excited. I think of you each and every time I look at my milkweed...I'll have to go critter hunting soon. The flowers are just lovely. Summer is going well for us!


That's truly awesome and it's great to see your garden pay you back that way. You must be SO excited about Alaska! I bet there won't be any heat and humidity there!

Carolyn S Thomas

Kym, I LOVE your sweet Monarch caterpillar and I LOVE your butterfly garden! I needed that kind of inspiration today. We've decided to change one of our gardens from veggie to perennial, so I'm starting to put my feelers out. Happy trails to Alaska!!


That caterpillar is beautiful! How lovely that it has such a wonderful place to much away!

Have a fantastic time in Alaska (and I truly hope it is not 90 when you are there!) I'd say you are off the charts on fun - and none the worse for it! Time to sit will be here soon enough!


Honore´ Francois

What a wonderful surprise! Thanks loads for sharing...your B'fly Garden is lovely - drool, drool! I also get to see quite a few in the neighborhoods I walk! Enjoy!

Caffeine Girl

I love your butterfly garden. And such great photos!
My summer has been a bit too busy, but that's not a complaint. It's really hard for me to balance social activities with down time for reading/creating/knitting. Maybe when I retire there will be enough time for both.
Plus, we end up spending a lot of time on elder care, so that's one more claim on our hours.


Your garden looks great. I love a good garden surprise too. Summer is warming up. We were happy to return home safely from CT, enjoyed a fourth of July picnic on the 7th with good friends. The basil is lush from all the rain and tomato plants are full of green fruit. Life is good.


My summer has been practically dull compared with yours! I love your butterfly garden and am thrilled to see your visitor. I've been thinking of using my garden for a similar purpose, seeing as we're not having much luck growing vegetables.


oh my - I knew y'all were going to Alaska, but I can't believe it's here. already! and your daisies look like I happily remember mine from about five weeks ago. Those happy flower faces always make me smile!


Yay!! I hope there are many more monarch caterpillars enjoying your bounty!!


Picking a milkweed leaf along with its attendant Monarch caterpillar, putting it all in a jar with holes punched in the lid and a spoonful of water, then sitting back and watching the chrysalis and eventual butterfly -- one of my favorite memories of kid activity.

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