We started the season with plans to take many breaks from the nursery for day trips to nearby natural areas. Shaw Woods beckoned. I have never been to Mer Bleu, an important wetland south of Ottawa. I want to get back to the Burnt Lands Alvar at different seasons. Instead, we spent much of the summer feverishly getting on with our potting and seeding between the rainstorms, repairing flood damage, or staying inside watching the downpours through the windows.
The one day trip we did manage was a glorious exploration of Purdun Conservation Area, timed to see the renowned display of Showy Lady Slipper Orchids. Purdun has the largest colony of these orchids in Canada and they are easily viewed from an accessible boardwalk. This conservation area is a treasure.
The summer saw a modest uptick in adult monarchs and monarch caterpillars. We had seen no monarch caterpillars in the garden for a couple of years. It was so nice to have them back.
Monarch caterpillars were not the only inhabitants of the swamp milkweed. A very tiny green grey tree frog spent some time among the milkweeds.
Another grey tree frog (or possibly the same individual) on the patio stones.
In 2016’s dry summer, our tiny formed pool in the rock garden hosted three green frogs. This past summer, there were so many pools and puddles everywhere, the green frogs made other choices. It was a good summer for spotting leopard frogs among the mosses, though.