Rose Cuttings – November, 2011

Butterflies hover near fall blossoms at the Antique Rose Emporium. Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup.

Butterflies in November
It is late fall, and while many gardens have slowed down and are being put to bed, some gardens that are still with flowers are bustling with energy. This was brought to my attention by a report by Ro Wauer, a naturalist who has written books on butterflies in Texas. During his mid-November visit to the Antique Rose Emporium display gardens in Independence, he spotted no less than 34 species of butterflies. They were attracted to the butterfly bushes, mist flowers, salvias and other blooming perennials that, along with our roses, dominate the flowers of fall.
For you butterfly enthusiasts, Ro reported four species of butterflies never before found in Washington County — the Great Purple Hairstreak, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Silvery Checkerspot and Question Mark. The most prominent species present were the Pipevine Swallowtail, Dainty Sulphur, Monarch, Painted Lady and Variegated Fritillary. I had no idea there was such diversity in the butterfly migration through our gardens. I’m sure such sightings were evident throughout Texas. It is as if the drought has wakened dormant species ready to take advantage of the changing season.

Upon further inspection, honeybees were active as well. They preferred single (five-petaled) roses like ‘Englemann’s Quest’ and ‘Nearly Wild’.  Hummingbirds worked almost exclusively on the various salvias in the garden. Watching them gave me the impression of a war under way, as they defended their territory by dive-bombing intruders. Add in the action of all the other birds, and it became difficult to focus on the flowers due to so much winged movement. The activity was made even more evident by the windless day. 

Considering that a month ago we were in a depressing heat spell and drought, the flying activity and increased color in our gardens make it seem a long-ago memory. Ahhh, such is Mother Nature, always changing — I can feel the chill in the air already!

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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