Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Fascination with Flyers

A lot of gardeners begin a fascination with flyers when they begin to notice the birds in their garden, or start feeding the hummingbirds.  Then they move on to bees, butterflies, and dragonflies.  This is usually a sign that your garden is full of life.  Most of the time, it's a sign that you garden organically and with a variety of plants.  

No matter which winged creature captures your imagination, flyers are fascinating.  In fact, I find myself looking closely at all the tiny bugs in my garden.  It varies for me which flyer captivates my attention from week to week.  Right now, butterflies seem to make my heart skip a beat.  I figure, when your garden has butterflies, you know you're doing something right!  Now, as I'm taking pictures of my plants, I also am on the lookout for butterflies.  Here are a few I saw this past week:

American Painted Ladies.  
It looks like they love this echinacea!

But they'd rather not share.  Good thing I have just enough blooms to satisfy them!  I've given information about them on an earlier post, so we'll move along.

Mexican Grey Hairstreak
Costa Rica to Texas.  Host plant unknown, thought to be crotons.  Interesting that they are so widespread, but the host plant is still unknown!

Common Scootywing
Throughout most North America, except for Florida.  Makes you wonder what they have against Florida!  Host plants include Amaranthus, malva rotundifolia and chenopodium album.  That last plant is commonly known as pigweed.  We have lots of weeds, so I'm sure there's some pigweed around here!

Pearly Crescentspot
Newfoundland to S. Mexico.  Eggs laid on asters.  Adults take nectar from asters, fleabane, and thistles.  I have planted a lot of asters in my garden.  Nice to know they're appreciated.

Orange Sulphur
North America.  Legumes, alfalfa, and white clover.  Also known as the "Alfalfa butterfly".  Well, I don't grow alfalfa, but there's fields of it a few miles north of us.  If he would have opened his wings for you, you could have seen why they call this an orange sulphur.

Great Purple Hairstreak
I often wonder if the people that named things long ago were colorblind!  All throughout the US, predominately in the South.  Eggs laid on mistletoe.  Unfortunately, we have lots of mistletoe.

Golden-banded Skipper
Arizona, New Mexico, all of Southeast, north to New York.  Hollyhocks, bramble blossoms, ironweed and buttonbush.  Not a great picture, but he was a bit camera-shy.

Checkered White
All of United States, lower parts of Canada and northern Mexico.  Host plant includes many kinds of cruciferous vegetables.  Now I know who's been nibbling on my cabbage!

Sorry, fella, you're colorful, but this post is for butterflies only!

Which flyers are you interested in this week?


  1. Oh wow, so many beautiful butterflies! Your garden looks like a butterfly farm.

  2. What an assortment and you knew all the names. Impressive. Butterflies are still scarce here but will be in profusion later this summer.

  3. I have not yet seen a butterfly this year - still too early, I guess, so it's especially nice to get a peak at who's been visiting your blooms! What a great variety you have there! Clearly, they like what you're providing. ;)

  4. You really have an assortment of butterflies to your garden. The beautiful flowers are hard to resist.

  5. Some really beautiful photos. Great you were able to get so many different varities. Kelli

  6. Autumn Belle - It's so satisfying to see so much life in the garden. The payoff for not spraying pesticides and planting a variety of blooms.

    Marcia - I have a field guide I use to look them up, but I am learning! One year, I did plant specifically to entice butterflies to the garden. So glad they noticed!

    redgardenclogs - I see more and more every day. I'm finding they have favorite plants to visit. Unexpectedly, I have not seen one butterfly on my butterfly bush!

    Lona - The roses are not a big hit with the butterflies, but their companion plants are. I'm glad to have plants they like to visit.

    Kelli - I get so excited when I see a new butterfly! Although, getting a picture of them is not always possible. They aren't the best at posing!

  7. Look at all those beautiful butterflies...I hope to see more and more this year if the rain would stop..

  8. Oh...what a see so many butterflies in one place. I love flyers, too--butterflies, hummingbirds, birds, dragonflies, and even bats. We have four hummingbird feeders around the yard and enjoy watching them. A friend just gave me a milkweed plant for the Monarchs, and I can't wait to see more of them.

  9. You get some really pretty butterflies. I wish we had more variety up here. Nice photos of them Holly.

  10. Great post! I, too, think some of the best captures include flyers and bugs.

  11. This is a wonderful post, makes me excited for summer when more of my butterfly attracting plants are blooming. The American Painted Lady is a beautiful species. Bummer we don't get them up here. Really enjoyed your post, cheers, Jenni

  12. Donna - I hope the rain stops for you and that you get butterflies galore!

    Sage Butterfly - I too think all the flyers have their own special appeal. I'm trying to increase my hummer population. Four feeders sounds wonderful - and like a chore! :) I need to get some milkweeds around here. I'm interested to see if I can spot a Monarch this year.

    GWGT - I know what you mean. We are just north of some of the most beautifully colored bids, so we miss them, and the only hummers we generally have are the Ruby throated. I wish we had more variety of both.

    PlantPostings - They take a little more patience to photograph. I guess that's part of the satisfaction. I wish my camera's macro worked a bit better.

    Jenni - A lot of my summer plants are already in bloom. When it starts to get really hot, the plants go into another dormancy, and I bet I'll see fewer butterflies at that time. Hope you get to see a lot this year.

  13. A fun post with a lot of butterfly variety. This could be a new hobby for me. Like birdwatching... only you know... butterflies.

  14. lifeshighway - We don't have a large variety of birds, and butterflies seem to be more challenging to spot and identify. So far, I've really liked learning about them. Enjoy your new hobby!

  15. Loved all your pics! We don't have many butterflies this year as not much is blooming due to drought. I'm into birds right now, though I'm not normally very excited by them.

  16. Cynthia - The drought is affecting everything, isn't it? I hope we both get some more rain. I love birds, but we have cats so I don't feed them anymore - except the hummers, which I feed high enough to keep them safe.


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