I’ve been stalking butterflies, hummingbirds and moths with my camera lately. They provide some welcome color in the heat of summer when the flowers are waning and add another dimension to the garden.
I’m all aflutter over these winged beauties blooming in the garden!
Warning photo heavy post ahead. . .🦋🌸🦋🌺🦋
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the most common variety I see fluttering around the lantana, which seems irresistible to most butterflies.
I found three different butterflies sipping at the lantana-nectar buffet last week. . .
An Eastern Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary and new-to-me variety, Pipevine Swallowtail.
Pipevine Swallowtail is a fast flyer. . . faster than the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, it was a challenge to get photos!
The upper surface of hindwing of a Pipevine Swallowtail is iridescent bluish-green while the underside has a row of 7 round orange spots. This is a male Pipevine which has more blue iridescence than the females.
I found one enjoying the cleome a few weeks ago.
Butterflies have been sunning themselves on the Limelight Hydrangea blooms. . .
And I was thrilled to see my first Monarch this summer!
This one has a torn hindwing. . .
Hummingbird Moths or Clearwing Moths are fun to watch in the garden and very focused feeders! I watched this one feed at every petal on the plumbago!
Hummingbird moths are members of the sphinx moth family. The wings of hummingbird moths are clear, with a black or brown border, and are nearly invisible when they fly.
Males have a flared “tail” like that of a hovering hummingbird.
Speaking of hummingbirds, I’m endlessly entertained watching the ‘hummer-wars’ as they zip around fighting and defending their territory. We have several feeders spaced throughout our yard and by the Potting Shed.
I always hear hummingbirds before I see them, buzzing by and chirping as they chase one another. This is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Mixing your hummingbird nectar is easy, using a 4:1 ratio of hot water to sugar, stirring until dissolved. Cool to room temperature before adding to your feeder. Change your food every 2-3 days in the heat of summer. I usually mix a big batch and keep it refrigerated to have on hand and fill the feeders about 1/3 full when the temperature is in the 90+ degree range, since more than that’s a waste as I’m changing it frequently.
Clean your feeders with a little bleach or vinegar and water, rinsing well and avoiding soap as hummingbirds can taste the soap/detergent residue. Most importantly, avoid red dye in your sugar water which may be harmful to hummingbirds. You can read more about the great red dye debate. here.
Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop, purple passionflower, wild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a vigorous grower and common wildflower in the southern United States and is a source of nectar and food for butterflies and bees.
It’s the host plant for the Gulf fritillary butterfly, with the larvae of the Gulf fritillary feeding exclusively on species of passionflower.
You can read more about the life cycle of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, here.
Bunnies are apparently feed on passionflower vine too. . .this one is guilty of stripping the leaves off the vine. I’m hoping he’s going to leave some for the caterpillars!
I ordered some Plant Pro-Tec Deer & Rabbit Repellent Garlic Clips as a humane way to hopefully deter the bunny grazing. The reviews were mixed but I thought I’d give them a try since they are easy to use and don’t required mixing, spraying or repeat applying. I found them in a package of 25 for $14 on Amazon. The long-lasting repelling garlic odor is dispensed for 6 to 8 months and the clip’s plastic shell is biodegradable and will revert to compost after a few years.
I wish the bunny and his brothers found the weeds as tasty. . .
What’s blooming in your garden?