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Garden Blog 8/1/20

With so many flowers blooming in the HPNC butterfly garden lately, Marilyn suggests that one of the best things you can do to enjoy the garden is to stand in one spot and just watch for a few minutes to see what (or who?) comes to visit. Here’s what Marilyn saw when she gave this a try (and this isn’t all — these are the ones she got photos of):

Marilyn cut herself a bouquet to bring home (more on that in a minute) and found this little guy hiding in an orange flower, so she had to move it. We’re not sure what it is but there’s something called a leaf-footed bug that looks similar. Notice how the camouflage effects change with the background!

This is one that Marilyn has talked with kids about before. It’s called the great black asp, and it loves to drink milkweed nectar (and pollinate our milkweed plants in the process). They are very focused on their work and not aggressive at all (though take care around any wasp, just in case). I got so close to this one that I felt a breeze from its wings when it took off — you might not want to get quite that close. 

This is a species of sweat bee (meaning that they like to drink sweat for its minerals) called a bicolored agapostemon. There’s another one that I’ve seen, too, where the whole thing is metallic green like the front part (the thorax and head) of this one.

Again, that’s just what I got pictures of. I also saw a leafcutter bee, monarchs, and an eastern tiger swallowtail, which is the very large yellow butterfly with black stripes. Hold still and watch your garden sometime, and see what you can see!

Be sure that you cut with scissors or clippers rather than pulling, for less risk of pulling up the plant. Finally, just cut a few flowers per day so that there are always enough left blooming for the pollinators to have plenty of flowers to choose from. The drawing on this photo gives an example of where to cut.

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