Fall Flowers

green sweat bee on aster

A lovely green sweat bee on New England aster.

Asters

Fall has arrived here in Kentucky and I am enjoying the last flowers of the season before they’re gone.  Asters are some of my favorites since they attract so many pollinators.  They are also the host plant for the hungry caterpillars of Pearl Crescent butterflies.

I still have some Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies zipping around my yard, and they visit every bloom in the garden.

pipevine swallowtail on aster

The “wild” areas of my yard have dozens of the white asters that pop up in large numbers in disturbed places.  It’s been weeks since I’ve seen many honey bees in the yard, but now they are all over the white asters.

I'm not sure what species this is, but it's a magnet for pollinators.

I’m not sure what species this is, but it’s a magnet for pollinators.

 

Goldenrod

My fall flower garden would not be complete without bunches of goldenrod.  It attracts insects that I do not see on any other plant.

Locust borer beetles are found in the fall on goldenrod flowers. Their larvae host on Black Locust trees.

Locust borer beetles are found in the fall on goldenrod. Their larvae host on Black Locust trees.

eastern carpenter bee male on goldenrod

You can tell the male carpenter bees by the yellow patch of cuticle on their face. These bees are very important pollinators . . . even though we don’t like them boring into our wood fences.

Eastern Carpenter Bees are also attracted to goldenrod flowers.  These bees (with bare rear ends) are often mistaken for bumble bees (that are fuzzy all over).  The males may buzz around you and act tough, but they don’t have stingers, so they are harmless.

 

Coral Honeysuckle

coral honeysuckle

My coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is still going strong and feeding plenty of swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds.  In the spring it is the host plant for the adorable caterpillars of clearwing moths.

 

American Pokeweed

pokeweed

Although it is not blooming, I have to mention my pokeweed plants since they are covered with such beautiful berries . . . poisonous to people, but delicious to birds.  They are also a host plant for the Giant Leopard Moth.  Certain compounds found in pokeweed plants are being studied as a possible cure for some cancers and as a treatment for HIV.

 

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Comments

  1. Kathy says

    Judy…loved your article. I recently bought your book The Life Cyles of Butterflies. love it! I also had my front landscaping redone with mostly native plants in September. Can’t wait to see what it looks like next year. I always plant parsley for the black swallowtail butterfly. My daughter who lives in Durham, NC, planted ONE parsley plant on her apartment porch. In august she had 2 swallowtail caterpillars stay close by forming chrysalis on her basil and the porch wall. And just recently she had a second batch of swallowtail caterpillars on the parsley (20plus) that devoured the parsley. There is one lonely caterpillar remaining. We are waiting to see if it will form a chrysalis. I live in Cincinnati and have found some native parsley called golden Alexander , I believe, which I planted in the new landscape to see if the swallowtails will use it as host plant.

    • says

      Hi Kathy, thanks so much for buying my book! I’m so happy you like it :) I’m in the process of removing the “alien” plants from my yard and add more natives. Where did you get your Golden Alexander plants? I’ve been wanting to try these to see if they could replace my bronze fennel as a host for the black swallowtails. That’s wonderful that your daughter is able to attract the butterflies to her apartment porch!

  2. says

    Nice pics Judy – we also have loads of the short white aster (white wood aster is our variety) which blooms in the shade (which we have in abundance!!). Now that you mention it, I have seen a resurgence of late-season feral honey bees, it is definitely the aster bringing them back in droves. So glad you brought attention to the Pokeweed berries – sometimes the birds get a little tipsy after eating these – very funny!
    Ellen Sousa recently posted..Fall Frenzy

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