Sunday, August 8, 2010

Butterflies and sweet potatoes...........

The sweet potato is a very important cash crop here in the fields of North Carolina.  It must love our climate much more than I do.  I can even prove it!
If one teeny little 8" potted plant tucked into the earth in June can survive and thrive through a brutally hot, dry Summer such as we've experienced...........and end up gobbling up my garden bench as this one has, proof enough right?
If the vines are growing on the farmland like this, no shortage of the very nutritious sweet potato is predicted for this Autumn/Winter roasting and pie-baking I'm certain.

So where was I yesterday?  Needless to say, out there in the broiling sun, coated in OFF bug repellant and, not sunbathing, more like pruning, trimming, fighting with the vine which now seems to be growing several inches a day.  There's another at the mailbox which had already tried to strangle our lovely mailman this past week, so later I had to tackle that one also....before it crossed the street and got away from me!

The nice part about slogging away, covered in sweat, batting off bugs and panting for a second bottle of water, is discovering the tangled vine is hiding a true 'butterfly garden'.

This year the butterflies are awesome - plentiful and gigantic.  These swallowtails are almost the size of small birds!  Swooping and dancing in the air they land on lantana and buddleia bushes to sip nectar, oblivious to the searing heat of late morning.

There is a spot to sit there somewhere!

Please enjoy my butterfly images in yesterday's sunshine.  Their lives are so short, already some have ragged wings and fading colors, but they bring such beauty to the garden for a short time.

.............and yes, my aging birdhouse is listing a wee bit, guess the post has warped in the relentless heat....just like me!


  1. We have the occasional Swallowtail here, it is such a treat to see them.
    That vine is a bit scary!

  2. Hi Mary....I don't envy you that Southern heat. Sure hope cooler days come soon for you. Your butterfly photos are stunning...such beautiful delicate little creatures they are. I can hardly believe that sweet potato! Wow. That will keep you busy for sure, trying to make it behave!

  3. This is such a well written post. You really caught the mood of the heat and humidity and nature all around. The sweet potato vine is rather pretty, if not misbehaving! The butterflies...just beautiful. How strong and fragile life can be.

    Happy Sunday, Mary.


  4. :( hope you can cool off! I too feel it and am so ready for it to go away! Lovely butterfly! I have tried all my life to eat sweet potoates and I really do not like them! They may have to take my southerner card away ;) I just do not like them!
    Lovely garden!
    Hugs, Lisa

  5. Wow, the sweet potato vine is beautiful!
    You take very nice photos, and you live in a gorgeous place.

  6. We don't have anything like that kind of heat - in fact, every year we optimistically plant tomatoes, only to find that it is never really hot and sunny enough to grow them properly - but we keep on trying!
    The butterflies have been amazing up here, this year too.

  7. Your photos keep getting more and more professional..I have saved many of your Africa trip animals..

  8. Beautiful photos - The butterflies are so colorful !!

  9. Hi Mary
    The butterflies seem to be more plentiful this year don't they? Your pictures are beautiful too. Won't it be great when this heat is finally over?
    Hugs, Rhondi

  10. Surpassed yourself this time girlie. Fab fotos of magnificent butterflies. Make our cabbage white look boring!
    I'm so envious of your pics and want to know EVERYTHING about your camera. My Panasonic digi camera is 5 years old and needs replacing but I can't decide what to buy. Help me please.
    It works OK for snaps but I would love to really get into macro.
    Weather has been cloudy and overcast most of July but the kids have been down to the beach hut and enjoyed themselves.
    Mike & I rarely go much preferring the peace and quiet of our deck.

  11. I was in my garden shooting butterflies on my zinneas yesterday! Your pictures are so beautiful.

  12. Your butterfly pictures are awesome! I can't believe the sweetpotato vine. That bench looks like it will be totally hidden in a couple of days. Carla

  13. Your photos are magnificent. I do love sweet potatoes so thank you for growing them. :o)
    I feel quite guilty as our weather has been delightful and only in the 80's. Maybe I could send some your way. Happy cooling...

  14. Your swallowtails are beautiful! The sweet potato vines magnificent. They must enjoy the hot weather, as we certainly cannot grow the vines like that. Almost every year I try some in a pot, but they don't grow much.

  15. I love butterflies, and I need to plant more to attract them! I think your sweet potato vine is gorgeous, if a bit boisterous...the very idea of claiming your bench!

    Hoping you have a glorious, cooler Fall!


  16. Beautiful butterflies. When you went off to Africa, the evil spirits of the sweet potato vine said, "Ah-hah, now's our chance." And rubbed their little leaves together in gleeful anticipation.

  17. I've never seen a sweet potato vine before, it's quite attractive even if it is rampaging across the garden!
    Your butterfly shots are amazing, how did you get so close I wonder?

  18. Hi Mary, I am so glad I found you. I had to change my addy too and want to invite you to come back and refollow, if you choose. I don't want to lose contact with you. Trying to readd all my favorites. Love the butterflies. We have a huge bush with 30 or 40 at one time. I did some photos but not quite as detailed as yours. You are getting to be a pro. blessings. I am still.

  19. When I was in middle school a friends aunt did wedding cakes. She always used sweet potato vines as the decoration! Thank you for the memory!!

  20. These images are amazing Mary!

    We've been at the lake for a week. I wonder how our sweet potato vines are doing. Our neighbor is taking care of watering, but it's been so hot, the past couple of weeks here in mid Mo.

    I remember growing sweet potato vine from a sweet potato. Haven't tried that in years. Toothpicks in the sides of the potato to suspend it half way in a jar of water. Then watch it growm, in a kitchen window.

  21. Oh my gosh those butterflies are amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures..

    xoxo Gert

  22. What beautiful photos of the butterflies! I've noticed too quite a few dragonflies which I am very thankful to see.
    Take Care,


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