The Beauty of Butterflies

As the sun sinks lower on the southern horizon his rays do not provide the same intensity of heat as on summer days.

These fragile creatures search for the last of summer flowers to rest and feast upon.

To watch them glide on invisible currents  my heart aches for what is to come.


Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis
Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis

“This species is separated from the White-checkered skipper with confidence only by dissection and examination of the male genitalia.” from


Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice
Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice

Halloween Surprise – Milbert’s Tortoise Shell Butterfly

Temperature fluctuations have encouraged creatures not normally seen in the gardens of Valley View to stop and  share the garden’s mid-autumn bounty.

One such creature  new to the gardens is the Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti
Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

This butterfly lives in wet meadows and swampy edges of deciduous forests.  It can be found coast to coast in Canada and the northern United States, in mountains south to West Virginia.  It can be spotted on warm winter days, spring and summer. *

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti

October 31st was a relatively warm day.  We’ve had a few killing frosts so the only flowers still in bloom are mums and Alyssum. Nectar feeding insects frequent these flowers. Also the gardens are at the edge of an Eastern Broadleaf forest, with a spring seep directly across from the gardens. A perfect day and perfect habitat for this butterfly to appear!

Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle on yellow daisy mum

*from National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders


Feed the Birds

Allowing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to  proliferate not only strengthens the web of life it is partnering with Gaia.

Blue Jay bird on sumac

Adding additional food sources to the gardens helps to feed the creatures who share our space.

Chipmunk on sunflower

In eastern Pennsylvania October is the time to help gardens ready for the coming winter.

The potting shed in autumn

It is also a time to help the wildlife around us get ready for darker, colder days.

Downy Woodpecker on sunflower (bird)

Due to their high metabolic rate birds in particular need high-energy foods, those high in calorie and fat content.

Eastern Towhee (bird)

Juniper berries provide this important source of energy, containing 46% carbohydrate and 16% fat.

American robin bird on Eastern Red Cedar

Sunflower seeds contain almost 30 percent fat as well as fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron potassium and vitamin E.

Tuffed Titmouse on sunflower (bird)

Sharing a space means becoming a caretaker. We are an important part of the web of life. At this moment in time we are the only ones who can completely destroy it or strengthen each strand.

Black-capped Chickadee on sunflower (bird)



The Butterfly and the Liatris 

Tiger Swallowtail on Liatris

Mornings offer a quiet, peaceful time of day. The creatures of the garden are awakening and beginning their search for food. Upon finding an appropriate banquet they settle in and begin to feast. 

Last Night


Oriental lily

Aromatic scents fill the air

Perennial flower border

The earth’s perfume – sweet, earthy, musk and floral notes tease our sense of smell

Sunflower at twilight

 A walk through a garden is experiential

Oriental lilly and Drumstick allium

Not For the Faint of Heart – Creatures of Valley View Who Share the Garden Space

There is a beauty and tranquility that gardeners aspire to create in their garden spaces.

Iris in small molded pond

What we sometimes seem to forget is that before we began to  move’ dig or change the landscape there were creatures who inhabited the space before us.

Green frog

In order to create a space rich in energy and in balance with our Mother,

Nursery Web spider close-up

We must honor those who live near and beneath our feet.

Eastern Garter snake eye half closed

I have come to understand these creatures and do not seek to harm them in any way.

Venusta Orchard Spider on leaf

First and foremost it’s important to know these amazing reptiles, amphibians and insects are not poisonous, they do not seek me out to harm me.

Nursery Web spider with egg case

Instead we have a symbiotic relationship.

Green frog with reflection

I create garden spaces and they take care of things that seek to harm it.

Eastern Garter snake

For those who garden in areas where creatures live that may do the gardener harm, care is of utmost importance. But if like myself you are fortunate to live in an area free of harm, enjoy and honor those who share your garden space!