Last week, we had a garage sale.

There wasn’t a lot of stuff put out and traffic was slow. People were expecting fishing stuff and my husband didn’t have a lot left.

So I sat under a tree with my phone and crochet in the hopes I would get started on a blanket for my niece. What I ended up doing was watching the birds and butterflies visit my pollinator garden.

cup plant silphiumperfoliatumThe goldfinches were enjoying the mini sunflower clusters of the Cup plant. They moved back and forth, hiding from me and my camera, as they hung upside down carefully eating the seeds. The sparrows and other small birds left them alone to eat from the bird feeders hanging off of the porch.

Meanwhile, the monarchs were flitting around the milkweed. They would float around the tiger lilies and hollyhocks. But they actually stop on the milkweed, stopping for a moment before running away again.

I tried to imagine what music could be played to fit the movements and I kept hearing the soundtrack of My Neighbor Totoro. I could see Mae, the little sister, tracking and dancing with the butterflies.

Earlier in the spring and summer, I worked to limit the number of cup plants in my garden. I had to dig them out to ensure the cup plants did not exceed their area. These six foot tall plants with small flower heads grow fast and require a good shovel to remove them.

milkweed-plant-monarch-butterfly.jpgI was removing them while trying to retain the milkweed. The flowers were small pink clusters but now they are done and seed pods are forming. I keep looking for caterpillars. I see none but I do see holes in the leaves.

I hope those Japanese beetles didn’t do too much damage while they were here. I did my best to get rid of them by pushing them into a bath of warm water and Dawn dish washing liquid. I found them on the milkweed and hollyhocks. They dastardly bugs nearly killed my hollyhocks a few years ago. and they really whacked my rose bush a few years before that.

I thoughJapanese-Beetle-Picturet about getting a trap but the husband told me it would attract every Japanese beetle in the neighborhood. I didn’t need that. But the little swimming pool worked out well. I put gardening gloves so I wouldn’t have to feel those creepy little things.

I am not sure a pollinator garden was my intent. This is a sunny area that has been filled in with purple cone flowers, blackberry lilies, tiger lilies, among a few. Next year, if we are still in this house, I am planning to put some Russian sage in an empty spot to bring in a bit of blue and remove hollyhock so that the lower part of the garden will get more space.

Over the years I have learned that gardens are ever changing, ever growing or shrinking, depending on how much effort you put into it. As the season begins to wind down, I have to wonder what next year will bring.