It's often a surprise to see how things turn out in the garden--sometimes better than I envisioned and sometimes not. The latter is the case with the sunflowers intended to dress up the fence this year. They didn't quite turn into a cheerful row and only this one managed to fully bloom, although showing signs of a struggle.
An early blast of 100+(37C) temps toasted a few of the young seedlings and these caterpillars took out a few more. My best guess is these are mourning cloak butterflies (Nymphalis antiopa). I just let them eat.
The remaining six or so matured, but a few buds fused together and never opened.
Not exactly the cheerful fence disguise I planned
The metal sunflower on the bottle tree continues to "bloom" by the fence year round and the new wheel garden is ready to host all those new butterflies its neighbors fed.
I remain the optimistic gardener, glad to have lots of butterflies, and the fence dressing project will wait until next year.