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Butterfly Gardening Blog

Welcome! This blog is mostly about butterfly gardening, but other types of plants and gardens, as well as other wildlife is blogged about too.

June 22, 2014

Evil Honeysuckle!

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 4:55 pm

There are a couple areas in the back yard where the honeysuckle has taken over – I need to cut it down and replace it with some good natives. Both are shaded areas so would be good for host plants like Spicebush, hop trees and pawpaw.



January 11, 2010

2009 was bad!

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 8:52 pm

Well, 2009 was a bad butterfly year for my garden. Very bad.

I hope this year will be better!

June 1, 2009

butterflies this year

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 10:01 am

I hate to say it, but it hasn’t been a very good year for my butterfly garden so far. The last couple of years I had monarch eggs on my milkweed as it was barely coming up out of the ground. This year I haven’t seen any at all yet.

I do have some caterpillars though, some
Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes). I kept looking for them and couldn’t see them for some reason though, but they are there.

I found some duskywing eggs on my baptisia a while back, I haven’t noticed any caterpillars though.

And yesterday I found one Giant Swallowtail egg on my prickly ash, but that is all so far.

April 21, 2009

Sad butterfly day

Filed under: Swallowtails — Butterflygirl @ 5:09 pm

My one Pipevine Swallowtail pupa – from the only Pipevine Swallowtails caterpillars that I’ve ever had – that I took such good care of over the winter – my dog attacked and possibly ate. Killed anyway. It was in the jar shown a couple of posts ago. She’s not my best friend today.

April 13, 2009

Black Swallowtails emerged from chrysalids

Filed under: Swallowtails — Butterflygirl @ 6:14 pm

I had a couple of Black Swallowtails who I had pupating over the winter emerge today!

I think it is a bit early for them in this area though – I don’t know if they will do very well. Its been rainy here too.

Here they are in the jar they pupated in:

Here’s the first one after I got it out:

Here they both are:

They were very small, which isn’t that unusual for butterflies that started pupating late in the previous season.

February 25, 2009

Butterflies in the Virgin Islands! (Part 4)

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 4:42 pm

While were visiting The Butterfly Farm at St. Thomas Carmen also showed us a passion vine they had growing there:

In general, passion vine is used as a host plant in the Virgin Islands by the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) and the Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius). I don’t know which particular species this passion vine is or if they both use it or not.

I found a few small caterpillars on it – maybe someone can tell which butterfly species it is? Or maybe its still too small to tell yet:

I believe Carmen said this was another species of passion vine:

Here is a close up of one of the leaves:

At any rate I found a few eggs on it:

I think this plant was also a host plant:

This was a picture I took of a skipper caterpillar – its way out of focus, but someone may be able to identify it – I think it may have been on the plant pictured above:

Here is an egg, which I believe was also on the same plant:

Next week – other wildlife from The Butterfly Farm!

February 18, 2009

Butterflies in the Virgin Islands! (Part 3)

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 4:36 pm

I mentioned last time that Carmen, who works at The Butterfly Farm at St. Thomas, very patiently showed me around and answered all of the questions I had about the host plants they had growing in their outside butterfly garden.

They had the following milkweed plant growing there – I don’t know what species it is though – anyone know?

Here’s the whole plant from a distance – notice the cruise ship in the background! The Butterfly Farm is right by the Cruise Ship Dock at Havensight Mall:

I saw a Monarch on another milkweed and couldn’t help but notice that it looks very different from the ones in my garden. In fact, I even wondered if it was actually a Monarch. I believe Queens and Soldiers have 3 sets of filaments though. I can’t imagine what else it would be. Does anyone know why it looks so different from the ones around the St. Louis area?

Virgin Islands Monarch caterpillar:

A picture of one of mine:

They also had a pipevine growing for the Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas), although there were no caterpillars on it. The pipevine had not been growing for long though, The Butterfly Farm has only been there a year or so. It took around 4 years before any Pipevine Swallowtails laid eggs on my pipevine.

Does anyone know what species of Aristolochia this is:

Next week – more host plants from The Butterfly Farm!

February 11, 2009

Butterflies in the Virgin Islands! (Part 2)

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 6:44 pm

One day while at St. Thomas we visited the The Butterfly Farm. They have a large, enclosed meshed structure with many different species of butterflies from around the world as well as an outside butterfly garden to help attract native butterflies to the area.

Front of building:

Outside gardens to the left and right of the building:

You can also see in the picture above, in the background, is the enclosure where they keep their non-native butterfly species.

The pictures of the Gulf Fritillary I posted last time (Butterflies in the Virgin Islands! (Part 1)) were taken here also.

Next week, I’ll post some pictures of caterpillars and host plants that were at The Butterfly Farm. When we were visiting we met Carmen, who works there, and was very patient with me and with all the questions I asked about the host plants they had!

I took lots of pictures of the plants but unfortunately I don’t remember what some of them are now – hopefully she will be patient with me once again and stop by and ID them for me!

February 4, 2009

Butterflies in the Virgin Islands! (Part 1)

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 4:35 pm

I recently spent a week at the U.S. Virgin Islands, on St. Thomas and St. John. I had really been hoping to see lots of butterfly species that I can’t see where I live.

Sadly, I ended up quite disappointed. I didn’t see many butterflies at all.

I did see quite a few Zebra Longwings at St. John – which was the first time I’ve ever seen one in person, or at least in the wild. I wasn’t able to get any pictures though – they were moving around way too fast!

I saw a Gulf Fritillary on St. Thomas – a first for it too, and was able to get a couple of pictures:

I saw this little guy at St. John – could this be a Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus)? :

Otherwise I only saw a Monarch now and then, and a white or sulfur fly by on occasion. I think if we could have spent more time at St. John we may have seen more, I don’t know.

I did see some caterpillars, host plants and some other wildlife at the Butterfly Farm at St. Thomas – more about that next week!

November 14, 2008

End of season review

Filed under: Butterflies — Butterflygirl @ 10:08 am

The good news from this year is that I saw some species I had never seen before! Although, one wasn’t actually in my garden.

That one was the Satyr:

And I had about 9 different species of caterpillars in my garden at the same time!

I had Monarchs, Giant Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Tiger Swallowtails, Buckeyes, Duskywings and sulfurs all at once! Ok, technically the duskywings aren’t butterflies – they are skippers.

The really big news was that I finally had a Pipevine Swallowtail lay eggs on my pipevine! I’ve had it growing in my garden for a few years, but this is the very first time I’ve ever had caterpillars! I’ve adults around quite a bit in the past though.

I also found some Buckeye caterpillars this – just the second time I’ve seen them around. I have to dig through my pictures sometime and post them.

I also saw a Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar while hiking – first time I’ve ever seen one!

And then had an adult Zebra Swallowtail hang out in my garden than I’ve ever had one hang before (which wasn’t very long!)!

Here it is on some rattlesnake master:

The not as great part of this season was that I didn’t see adults of some species that usually see. Part of that was my fault though. I don’t think I saw a single Pipevine Swallowtail or Spicebush Swallowtail adult this year. Or a Variegated Fritillary. Maybe not even a Great Spangled Fritillary, I don’t remember now. I think that was all probably due to me not being outside quite as much this year, so I probably just missed them, rather than there being fewer of them. On the other hand, it was a bit cooler this year too.

The other ones I didn’t see were definitely my fault. I hardly had any bananas or other rotting fruit out in the yard this year so I didn’t attract any Viceroys or Red-Spotted Purples.

All together I was pretty happy with how this season turned out. I wish I would have gotten myself outside more though and updated this blog more often, but that’s all my fault!

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