The onrushing summer engulfs us with new blooms, hot winds, welcome rains, and a procession of insects that each play their role in the march of seasons.
Milkweed leaves, above, may soon be eaten to shreds by monarch caterpillars. Meanwhile a Black & Yellow Mud Dauber Wasp uses the vantage point to look for any unwary spiders who might soon be food for wasp larvae.
Some plants are as beautiful while they bud as when in full bloom. Below, a Bergamot flower begins to open; it will soon attract not only bees but hummingbirds.
For many long days we feared the dry heat was so intense that many plants might falter. Few sights were so precious as raindrops on foliage.
One of the minor pleasures of rain, to a photographer, is that a drop of water can serve as a free magnifier lens, highlighting details in leaf structures.
Such trivia aside, you might well ask how the underside of a poppy leaf, below, managed to capture rain drops and reflect the morning sunshine.
Fortunately a gentle breeze had turned one floppy leaf down-side-up.
An early morning mist brought out otherworldly colours and shapes of a poppy bud.
The rains did come when most needed, and many flowers have grown to their showiest. Below, a Red Soldier Beetle (aka Hogweed Bonking Beetle) prepares for launch from a feral Daisy.
Evening Primrose flowers and Green Metallic Sweat Bees are spectacular in their own rights and doubly so together.
A Bumblebee sitting on a raspberry leaf looks as prickly as the canes beneath the canopy.
Many flowers, of course, are working towards the production of seeds. A Chipmunk is enjoying the bounty of a previous year, in the shape of a sunflower seed.
Few seed heads are quite so intricate as that of the Yellow Salsify, below. Did spiders get the idea to weave their mesmerizingly symmetrical webs from watching the formation of Salsify seeds – or was it the other way around?
And then there are the wings of the Dragonflies. These graceful denizens of the marsh don’t often land in our gardens, but perhaps the hot pink Hollyhock was an irresistible draw.
Photo at top of page: Yellow & Black Mud Dauber on Milkweed (click here for full image)