Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Ladies in My Garden

Day 196
The Daily DuBrule 

My garden is alive with creatures. Every time I walk outside I just stop and watch in amazement. Butterflies of every kind are flitting about as well as hummingbirds, bees galore, hummingbird moths, and birds. It is paradise. Lately I have been observing a butterfly that I didn't recognize. I looked it up and it turns out I have a lot of painted lady butterflies in my garden this August! 

This butterfly is quite a bit smaller than a monarch. When it closes it's wings, half of it looks camouflaged. When the wings open, it is a bright orange with very distinctive spots. Her scientific name is Vanessa cardui. 

The larval plant food for this pretty lady includes thistles (which grow wild in one of my borders, despite my weeding), hollyhocks and malvas, and all sorts of legumes. Check. I've got all of those. The nectar food for Vanessa cardui includes all daisies, Vernonia (ironweed) which I have been encouraging for many years, Joe pye weed and other Eupatoriums, buttonbush (Cephalanthus), and milkweeds. Check, check, and check. Got them all. I guess when the painted ladies flew over this yard they saw heaven on earth and decided to take a summer vacation right here. 

This business of habitat creation really does work!

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