Beer and Butterflies, Hops and Commas

Hops

This is the time of year I think most of us gardening folk are itching to get back out there tending to our plants and critters.  I’ve been taking inventory of my seeds, shopping around for new bee boxes and bird houses and mentally designing new flower beds.  Since my brother and I spend so […]

Purple Coneflower – cornerstone of our butterfly garden

This Red-spotted Purple butterfly enjoys feeding from coneflowers, even though this species of butterfly usually prefers to feed from tree sap runs and rotting fruit.

  After nearly 20 years of gardening to support butterflies, I would have to say that our native eastern purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are the cornerstone of our (myself and my brother’s) butterfly gardens. Our beautiful wildlife gardens would not be complete without these hardy flowers. They are generally pest and disease free plus they […]

A Bittersweet problem

Oriental Bittersweet

  When I was a kid my grandmother had an annual tradition of collecting native bittersweet vines (Celastrus scandens) for her fall bouquets and harvest decorations.  Mom, Granny and my brother and I would pile into the station wagon and drive down country roads and other out-of-the-way wild places and fenced farm fields in search […]

The Lowly Carpet Beetle

Adult carpet beetle on fleabane flower

The scientific name for this tiny insect is the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).  Carpet beetles are pests in the home and in natural history museums.  The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar, but their larvae feed on biological fibers from carpets, clothing, feathers, plus insect and animal collections. Carpet beetle larvae hatch from eggs […]

Little Lacewing Life Cycle

6 lacewing

Lacewings are delicate insects that are considered to be beneficial to your garden.  I’ve observed them in my beautiful wildlife garden during the day and at night.  To the casual observer they appear to be clumsy fliers, but that may serve as a survival technique.  From what I’ve read, they have sensory organs at the […]

Raising Question Mark butterflies

Question Mark butterfly

Question Mark butterflies can be elusive if you don’t know how to attract them to your beautiful wildlife garden. They are drawn more to sap runs (often created by woodpeckers) and rotting fruit than the flowers in your yard. If you have a plum or cherry tree you may see these and other butterflies feeding […]

Sweet as honeyvine

Honey bees love honeyvine flowers.

This “weed” is a host plant Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is a vigorous, perennial trailing vine that is native to our eastern and central states.  Some people consider it to be a nuisance “weed”, but I call it Monarch caterpillar food. Hardy hearts I like the honeyvine’s heart-shaped leaves and the fact that I never […]

Mysterious mantidfly

mantid fly pre molt

This month I’ve decided to share a new discovery made by my brother Wayne in his beautiful wildlife garden.  He found a very interesting insect sitting next to a chair inside his screened-in gazebo. We had never seen anything quite like it before.  The eyes looked like those of a lacewing, the forelegs resembled a […]

Leaf-cutter Bee Life Cycle

3 leaf cutter egg

A surprise package Some of the most interesting things happen in our beautiful wildlife gardens when we least expect them.  On this particular day my brother and mom were moving some bricks to build a new flower bed.  My mom found this odd-looking thing filling the gap between two bricks.  On closer inspection we realized […]

Related Posts with Thumbnails