Butterflies and Other Winged Wonders in the Garden

One of the greatest pleasures of the garden is being able to see wildlife. While there are many kinds of wildlife from birds to bunnies and squirrels to deer that are regulars around us, the most common form of wildlife in our garden are the butterflies. Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order of insects and are drawn all the nectar in the flowers that we as gardeners plant. It's a good bet that if you have flowers blooming then you have butterflies about! Here's a look at a few that have been in our garden lately.

Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio glaucus

The Tiger swallowtail is one of my favorite butterflies because of his interesting stripes. This one is enjoy our butterfly bush in the Birdbath garden. Even though I call it a birdbath garden I could probably call it a butterfly garden as well. All the flowering plants in it are very good butterfly attractors: Butterfly bush, coreopsis, echinacea (coneflower), and Salvia nemorosa (see the Birdbath garden layout).

The Black swallowtail - Papilio polyxenes

The Black swallowtail butterflies are everywhere in our garden. They seem to enjoy feeding off the 'Homestead purple' verbena the most but frequently venture over to partake of our asters and butterfly bushes.

Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing Moth - Hemaris diffinis

This little bumblebee look-a-like and his cohorts are even more common than the Black swallowtails in our garden. At first glance when the Clearwings are flying around you might mistake them for bumblebees but after you listen to them you will notice that they don't have the same buzz. Unfortunately they fly around as fast as the bumblebees do which makes photographing them difficult. Gail over at Clay and Limestone talked about them last week and even posted a video of one sipping some nectar at a monarda!

Can't you just hear this one saying "Mmmmm verbena!"

Is this a Great Spangled Frittilary? I'm no butterfly expert but I think that's who it is. This little butterfly is all over our 'Oranges and Lemons ' gaillardia. What do you think?

The dragonflies have been quite common this year. They are good to have around the garden since they like to eat mosquitoes and gnats. Feast away Mr. Dragonfly!