Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tenacious Tip Tuesday - Stop and Admire the Bugs!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent most of last Saturday pruning a ninebark shrub into shape. I finished up with plenty of daylight left, so I spent a little time wandering around to see what I could see. We've had quite the menagerie of critters this year as the flowers in the new area have really taken hold and are blooming their fool heads off.

Butterflies are one of my favorite critters to watch and photograph. There are usually 3 or 4 cabbage whites dancing around at any given moment and the odd monarch will sail grandly in and eventually wander off, in their slightly tipsy manner. Once in a while, though, the garden is graced with unusual visitors like the red-spotted purple.

Red-spotted Purple drinking from a muddy spot
Other butterflies have wandered through that I can't identify, like the 2 below. If anyone knows what they are, I'd appreciate the info! Also, if you recommend a good identification book, I'd be grateful.

Unknown black with white spots on hydrangea

Possibly a Fritallary of some sort? It was visiting the butterfly bush.
Certain plants seem to draw some insects more than others. Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), in addition to butterflies, also attracts its fair share of bumblebees and hummingbird moths. One odd herb I grow, mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum), only seems to attract bees and HUGE wasps. Of the wasps, 2 are particularly beautiful and, thankfully, completely non-aggressive.

Large, black wasp - it has a gorgeous blue sheen when seen in the right light

This wasp must be 3 inches long!

If you're tempted to grow this herb to attract these insects, be aware that it IS a kind of mint, with all that implies. I find it spreads more by seed than runners, but it can be a handful to contain.

Insects aren't the only flyers visiting the flowers. This year we have been blessed with not one, but 3 hummingbirds! Here in the east, we only have ruby-throated hummingbirds. They are iridescent green and the male has a magenta patch on his throat. As far as we can tell, all 3 of ours are females.

They are ridiculously difficult to photograph. The shots below were taken at a distance by either me or Brian and have been blown up and cropped to get the best view. Apologies for the blur, but you can blame the hummers!

My shot - hummer feeding on a canna lily

Another of mine

Brian's shot - he has a much better camera and was able to get the wings
So my tip for today? Don't sweat the small stuff, like getting your Tuesday Tip posted on time! Sometimes enjoying the now is way more important to your sanity and a lot more fun!


green village said...

i love all the images from this post, so beautiful

NHGarden said...

Definately a Fritillary... I'm thinking the Great Spangled Fritillary. We get a lot of those here!

Sharie said...

Thanks, green village! I've really enjoyed getting into photography this year. I'm glad you liked the shots!

Chris, that was my thought, too, but I had never seen one in person. Thanks for confirming!

How are you doing up there? Much damage from Irene?

One said...

You have some really great looking butterflies. Looks like the both of us really enjoy taking photos of little critters. I captured some butterflies and dragonflies today.

The Sage Butterfly said...

I love your butterfly photos! And you are so right...and so encouraging... to not sweat the small stuff. (like get our posts done on time) :) The bees and butterflies don't, so why should we?

Sharie said...

@One - I just came back from browsing your blog and WOW! I love the shots of your dragonflies. Those red ones are spectacular! I'll have to do a post with some of the ones we get here in America. They're not as colorful here but still fascinating!

@Sage - Thanks, Michelle! Being a Virgo, not sweating the small stuff is very difficult for me, LOL! I'm getting better, though!

ONG said...

Wow, incredible pics! Psyched to have found your blog and look forward to following along!

Sharie said...

Thanks, John! I enjoyed looking through your blog, too. You take some good pics, yourself!

virginia said...

Your words don't sweat the small stuff, really has hit home for me... I have been so stressed about so many things this past month, You have made me realize that sanity is the important thing. HA-HA-HA! I love the butterfly pics, I have found a website called, they have a huge data base of identifying insects... and the book The Curious World of Bugs by Daniel Marlos, would be a great source for insects too..

Sharie said...

Thanks, Virginia, I'm glad it helped! It really is hard, when you're used to taking charge and just DOING stuff. Sometimes you can't and beating up on yourself won't help.

Thanks also for the website -I never heard of it before! I'll check out that book, too.