I saw a Monarch butterfly the other day, quite a surprise for this early in the season, and hopefully a sign of more to come! The Milkweeds aren't even blooming yet.
I was in the right spot at the right moment, and caught it feeding on the Valerian, like all those other butterflies I shared on Friday. It only stayed for a moment before fluttering away.
The orange and black pattern is unmistakable, though very similar to the Viceroy I included in last Friday's post. If you compare the lower hind wing in this photo to that of the Viceroy, the fifth photograph here, you'll see that the Viceroy has a black line cutting across, while the Monarch does not. The Monarch is also noticeably bigger; in fact that's what I first noticed.
We've also had our small patch of Showy Lady Slipper's blooming the past week. One of our real treats over the summer season, these beautiful wildflowers have been very much at home in our garden.
We purchased them at the local farmer's market a few years back, and much though I object to the digging up of native plants, they have flourished and expanded in our old fencerow among the Hostas and Ferns.
The garden is just going to get brighter for the next 3 months, but it's hard to beat these delicate beauties!