September 4
Soapwort Gentian
(Gentiana saponaria)

This perennial native plant may be found blooming from September through November in a moist environment. Some books describe it as common. But it is not common enough for me! The blue flowers are a nice surprise this late in the year. They stay fairly closed, pointing to the sky from the tops of sturdy stems.

There are two insects in this painting. One is a leaf hopper, on a stem this time. The other insect is the bumble bee which will work its way down into the flower or maybe just make a hole in the side and get to the nectar that way. (Bumble bees do this with penstemon blooms too.)

Bumble bees are easy to collect and include in a painting. Late in the day they can be found sleeping on a plant or late in the summer they can be found “resting in peace” on the sidewalk. I do have a wonderful, huge butterfly net that I made from several yards of netting, a broom handle, and some strapping that I bought at a home supply store. If need be, I can pretty much catch anything I want with that.

One afternoon an employee of my husband’s company was giving a driving tour of Atlanta to some visiting Taiwanese businessmen who did not speak English. He thought they would be interested in seeing where “Mr. Fraser” lived. But, when they were about a block away from our home, they could see me running around the garden, wildly flailing my arms in the air and sort of jumping now and then. I’m sure I must have had my butterfly net in my hands. He wisely decided not to admit that he knew me and quickly drove right on by.

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