sun-drenched wings and petals

5.21.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
sun-drenched female northern cardinal

It was a borderline-humidity morning, between comfy and muggy, and Tim was still coughing from the cold he caught in Italy, but we decided to chance a walk anyway. This is the time of year when the sun feels too bright and my camera sometimes responded by turning the blurry bokeh effect into solid black.

pipevine swallowtail butterfly

We forgot the bug repellent and I came home with two mosquito bites, one on each forearm. But the pretty (and non-biting) insects were out enjoying the sunshine, too! I’m not 100% sure of all my identifications here, but I’m giving them my best guess. Some of the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies seemed new to me.

fire pink
common whitetail dragonfly
oakleaf hydrangea
dusky dancer damselfly on hemlock needles

Summer, for the cold-blooded, represents the Elysian days. Warmth brings life and animation. Their blood responds, literally, to every rise and fall of the mercury. Chill is synonymous with sluggishness, cold with immobility. The sun directly regulates the intensity with which they live.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Grasshopper Road)

white waterlily
ebony jewelwing (aka black-winged damselfly)
grass pink orchid
mating silver-spotted skipper butterflies
tulip prickly pear
variable dancer damselfly
stokes’ aster
downy wood mint
Coastal Plain Habitat boardwalk in May

Even though it isn’t technically summer here yet, either meteorologically or astronomically, it can now be called summer for all intents and purposes!

32 thoughts on “sun-drenched wings and petals”

    1. Thank you, Leelah. I do wonder about what might be the story behind the variable dancer’s name.

    1. Thanks, Frank! I’ve often said that about capturing flowers and birds, too. At least the flowers hold still, unless there is a breeze. I’m putting the bug repellent next to my camera for the season!

  1. I enjoyed all of the photos that you selected, Barbara. When I saw the chamomile I had to make some tea. It was a great reminder because I have been looking for ways to calm my anxiety this week. I’ve never seen chamomile flowers. I’m wondering if the flowers are tiny about the size of pennies or larger more like the size of a fifty cent coin? Very pretty.

    I hear you on mosquitoes. Unfortunately they are part of a warm humid climate. I don’t like wearing bug spray, so I usually don’t. But an activity like the botanical gardens, I guess I would. My body swells up the size of a dime. I often get bitten daily just around my home. I also don’t want to keep myself on constant anti- histamine either. I have found Extra Strength Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream provides quick relief covering the bite with a latex fee band aid keeps me from scratching.

    Hopefully you will acclimate into summer!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my little photo gallery, TD! The chamomile flowers were tiny, maybe even smaller than pennies, although I’m notoriously poor at judging the size of things. They were so pretty I wished I could take them home and put them in a vase.

      I’m wary of chemicals as a rule, which is probably why I am so reluctant to use effective bug repellents. But I’m also wary of all the viruses mosquitos might be carrying so I waver back and forth about using them. West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis were big concerns back in Connecticut. Haven’t heard much about those down here. I have used the Benadryl cream too. But since the heat and humidity will deter us from going outside too often there will probably not be too many occasions going forward to make use of the repellent.

    1. Thank you, Tracy! A Disney movie about a black-winged damselfly would be a magical thing to see.

  2. Beautiful finds on your walk, Barbara. I esp. love the ebony damselfly, it has such a beautiful metallic sheen.
    Have a great weekend and I hope Tim is feeling better!

    1. Thank you, Eliza! I was smitten with the black-winged damselfly, too. I think Tim has caught another cold on the heels of the one he brought home, but hopefully he’s turning the corner now.

  3. What a lovely walk — thank you for taking me along! I enjoyed the butterflies and other insects, as well as the waterlily and aster (that’s my birth month flower!) I dread the thought of skeeter bites, but I know that’s a real possibility here, especially with all the “wet” we’ve been having. I’d better remind myself to get some lemongrass or something.

    1. Thank you, Debbie, it was fun having you along! 🙂 I had no idea about birth month flowers. Looks like my granddaughter’s is the same as yours. Mine is the carnation. I’m curious about the lemongrass you mentioned for mosquitoes. Do you have a plant or do you use a spray? The idea appeals to me as I’m so wary of chemicals. Even if something natural only lasted an hour it would be long enough for one of our walks.

        1. Thank you for the interesting and helpful article, Debbie. We ordered a natural repellent with some of those oils and will see how it works. I might try wearing long sleeves, too. I had to laugh that drinking beer and eating bananas make you more of a mosquito magnet because I don’t drink or eat either one. And I don’t have type O blood either. Maybe I’m not as much of a mosquito magnet as some others…

          1. I suspect scientists will never have a definitive answer to this problem!! 😕

  4. Barbara, this is such a lovely walk with so much to see and you said you guessed at some of the descriptions – well you did a very good job with these flowers and/or insects. Your clear and close-up photos should have made it easy to identify them. Some of the flowers, like prickly pear or camomile are plants I’ve read about as to their names, but not seen them, so I liked seeing them here and know what they look like. That white waterlily was exquisite as was the grass pink orchid – both dainty and delicate and no wonder they are flourishing in your hot and humid (already) climate.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I think that was the first time I have seen chamomile. It was so pretty and summery! It still amazes me how each time I visit the garden something new is blooming. I just scan the habitats looking for spots of color and head on over to whatever plants are blooming. The Mountain Habitat was full of color in the early spring and is now gone by. The Piedmont Habitat and Courtyard Gardens are coming to life now, but the Perennial Circle has yet to bloom. I feel like I will miss something if I don’t go every week. I still hear the birds but I think they are more hidden in all the greenery now. We hardly ever go into the woods any more.

      1. Well you are full of new flowers in your posts and I’m learning from your walks there Barbara. Our botanical gardens is more about flowers at the Conservatory area and those are growing in pots and overwinter at some of the Board members and volunteers’ homes. I have to go back to Emily Frank Gardens at the Trenton Cultural Center. I follow them on Facebook so I can see how far the gardens are progressing. They said they have white peonies all over the place right now.

        1. White peonies are so pretty, even lovelier than roses! I saw some in the grocery store last week and was tempted to buy a bouquet. I haven’t seen them at the botanical garden, yet. It would great to photograph them in a natural setting.

          1. They are so bountiful aren’t they? And they bloom longer than roses do. My neighbor (before Marge moved in) had them in his yard and one morning I was leaving for work and he came to the fence and said “I cut you a bunch of peonies for your desk.” He had the stems wrapped in a paper towel, so I just left with them, juggling my bus tote bag as I walked to the bus stop. They were covered in ants (which I later found out ants really like peonies). Everyone on the bus was commenting how pretty they were and ants were running everywhere on my hands/arms, so I put them at the back of the bus where it was empty until we got downtown and put them in the lobby in a vase. I didn’t want ants on my desk.

          2. Oh my goodness, Linda! What a predicament you found yourself in, stuck on a bus with ants crawling all over your arms and peonies! I love your solutions, I probably would have done the same things.

          3. The brigade coming at you – I hate to see them on the sidewalk or a park, hundreds of them sometimes. I figure with my luck, a pregnant one will sneak into my sneaker and I’ll take it into the house.

    1. The moment I saw that pipevine swallowtail I knew it was different than any butterfly I’d ever seen before. 🙂

  5. I enjoyed your stroll very much. I especially liked the front facing photos of the damsel fly. Summer is “trying” here in Massachusetts – we’ve finally had some warm sunny days but I woke up yesterday and today to temps in the 40’s!

    1. Thank you, Karma! I was so enchanted with the dusky dancer damselfly perched on one of my favorite hemlock branches. She seemed to be looking right at me and stayed put for quite a while. Wishing you some warmer sunny days soon!

A box for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.