An Abundance of Ladies


This September has brought an abundance of Painted Lady butterflies to our yard. When I am out weeding or raking, an enchantment of orange wings swirls around me—sometimes up to thirty butterflies.

on finger

The object of their desire is my “Autumn Joy” sedum, which is in full bloom. Sometimes these butterflies are so intent on collecting nectar that I can coax one onto my finger, which it will gently explore with its proboscis, seeking sweetness.

b + b

They must share these late blooms with other pollinators, such as busy honeybees . . .



red admiral

 . . . and other butterflies like Skippers and Red Admirals.


Even the treefrogs join the party, although they are in it for sunbathing rather than nectar.


I know Painted Ladies are gearing up for their fall migration to southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where they will overwinter.

But I thrill to have them even for a week or so. Last summer, I carefully raised a dozen Ladies from caterpillars. Perhaps a some of these hardy, beautiful insects are their offspring? Either way, their presence is an autumn sweetness.

  Copyright © Joyce Sidman 2006-2021.  All rights reserved.