Welcome! This blog is mostly about butterfly gardening, but other types of plants and gardens, as well as
other wildlife is blogged about too.
Wow! I saw lots of butterflies in my garden this afternoon. At least its a lot for where I live. There were 4 large butterflies flying all close to the same time. Three swallowtails were all out there at the exact time even.
And – the best part – a butterfly I’ve only just previously seen fly through quickly and leave: a Zebra Swallowtail! You might remember that I mentioned seeing Zebra caterpillars recently when we were walking around at Shaw Nature Reserve. We had just gotten back from getting groceries and I went back to close the door and saw it right outside on some purple cone flowers. I ran back in and got the camera, but it wasn’t there. I walked all through the yard in the back and everything and thought for certain it had left – but then I found it! I got few pictures of it that were pretty good, they don’t like to hold their wings still though, so it isn’t easy.
It eventually started nectaring way high up on a white butterfly bush of mine. It seemed to prefer it over the purple ones.
Here it is on some rattlesnake master:
And now on the butterfly bush:
And then while I was still watching the Zebra, a yellow form Tiger Swallowtail and a dark form Tiger Swallowtail flew into my garden and starting nectaring on my plants:
And a little while after that a Monarch stopped by. It first was nectaring on my Iron Weed then resting on some pipevine where I was able to get a good picture of it:
A little later I also saw a Buckeye in my husbands ‘Zen’ garden area:
It was awfully hot out there though and I started getting a big overheated and had to come in, last I saw that Zebra Swallowtail was still there. It had to have been out there at least a half an hour. Definitely the longest I’ve ever seen one in my garden!
We next walked through a path in a somewhat wooded area. We saw little toads jumping all the around the edges of the woods!
I also saw a butterfly species I’ve never seen before! They may be common to some people, but I haven’t seen any in my garden. It is from the family Satyridae, but I’m not sure what species it is. I need to find out for certain. They are all brown with pretty eye spots on them. There were a bunch of them flying around. I was lucky to get a couple pictures that were in focus – none with their wings closed though. They were all either Little Wood Satyrs or Wood Nymphs:
Then I got really excited when I saw 2 Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars resting on Pawpaw trees growing along the path!
Both of them were getting ready to molt – I could tell by the sort of glassy eyed appearance of their head capsules when I looked at the close up.
It may seen silly to some people, but seeing those 2 species really made my day!
Snapdragons – Antirrhinum majus – are not native to this area but they are a host plant for the buckeye butterfly. I haven’t been able to locate a source for any host plants for this butterfly that are native. Mine have been blooming for a little while now. They start blooming pretty early in the summer and sometimes keep blooming for a long time. I started some new plants from seed this year too and I am hoping that they will bloom later this summer.
Once – I think 2 years ago I actually found a buckeye caterpillar on my plants. If there have been more I missed them. Now don’t quote me on this, I’m a bit rusty with some of my butterfly knowledge – but I believe buckeyes are partial migrators and don’t get up here for a while usually, at least not in large numbers.
My favorite snapdragon flowers are the bright, nearly solid yellow ones and the read dark red ones:
For years I had been wanting to get my yard certified as a backyard habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, but I just never got around to it until this year. Now I even I have my sign put up in the garden! I just love this program – at some point I will have to write about it more here.
I really don’t see many Great Spangled Fritillaries around my garden. And when I do they are usually gone so fast I can’t get a good picture. Today I saw one nectaring on a butterfly bush and managed to get a couple half way decent pictures – but not great – before it flew off across the street.
My pipevine* is blooming! I still get excited by that because it took like 2-3 years at least for mine to bloom. Pipevine gets its name because the blooms look a bit like a pipe. And it is of course the host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail. While I see many adult Pipevine Swallowtails in the summer I have yet to find any eggs on my vines.
Here are a couple pictures of the flowers from slightly different angles:
*(My pipevine page is a bit dated now, by the way. I need to find the time to update a lot on this site.)
My small lilac is blooming now! Lilacs aren’t native to this area and don’t have any particular benefit for butterflies as far as I know. But I love them! They are so beautiful! I try to mostly grow native plants, but I have few exceptions – this is one.
Here is a close up of some of the flowers:
I found a few Black Swallowtail caterpillars some days ago – just didn’t have time to post the picture. It is on Yellow Pimpernel – I need to check the spelling on that. Don’t have time at the moment. It is a native host plant for Black Swallowtails – which isn’t easy to find. I’ll have to write more about that later. But for now I’m just very happy the plant was found and eggs were laid on it:
I got my WordPress updated and the problems fixed! I added some plugins and generally fixed this blog up a bit too.
It’s been rainy and cold and cloudy here the past few days. And muddy. So I haven’t been out to the garden too much.
I have pictures of caterpillars taken a few days ago. Below is a Monarch baby from the eggs laid on Earth Day and shown here: First Monarch Sighting!
Unfortunately my digital camera doesn’t let me focus on small objects – it was just luck I was able to get this one in focus. Couldn’t get it at a different angle though.
Those pictures in the last post are supposed to be showing up small, but aren’t and some how or another my title for the post isn’t showing either.
Maybe it has something to do with the upgrade I’m supposed to do.
I have some pictures of caterpillars, but they will have to wait until I get this sorted out.
Update: It seems to be ok now. It had something to do with how the pictures uploaded. I upgraded WP I don’t know if that is what fixed it or not.