The butterfly garden in early fall

Perennial sunflowers 'Lemon Queen' on the left.

I’m sorry that these photos are a little out of season, but I enjoyed my late September visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s Butterfly Habitat Garden so much that I still wanted to share them.

The garden is a long corridor between the National Mall and Independence Avenue.  It’s bordered by very busy 9th Street, N.W., on one side and the parking lot of the National Museum of Natural History on the other.

Stepping inside, however, you feel enveloped in another world — particularly in early fall, when many of the plants are at their fullest and tallest.

Click on any thumbnail in the gallery above to enlarge the photos.

In my captions, I haven’t included many plant labels, because I didn’t take very good notes during my visit. I was depending on a list of plants at the S.I. gardens website, but, unfortunately, it seems to have been removed for the moment. However, there are some recommendations in this Smithsonian brochure, and there’s additional information here at the Smithsonian gardens blog.

To see the garden in early August in 2011, click here.

ADDENDUM:  The power of Pinterest — the mystery plant with the spiny seedpods is Asclepias fruticosa (syn. Gomphocarpus fruticosus), a species of milkweed native to South Africa.  Thanks to Miranda M.