Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Graceful Colors In Flight
Oh, it has been a spring to remember! Wonderfully mild temperatures with a stellar winter melding into this current season when we celebrate all things bright and new.
So it is no surprise that the butterflies stayed with us magically right through winter. We saw caterpillars feeding and chrysalises hanging on in January.
The current population of them is more like what we typically see in summertime. We are quite happy about the presence of these graceful critters at any time in the garden. As you can see from these particular photos Verbena bonariensis is a popular favorite among them.
Dragonflies play an important role in this subtropical environment. They are agile predators of numerous insects. They are equipped with powerful speed to hunt down flies, mosquitoes, and gnats out of the air. They feed on ants and termites as well. I do adore watching them in flight.
In the bright sunlight the buzzing and flitting about of beneficial insects is evident around the flowering plants especially. Syrphid flies, green sweat bees, bumble bees, honey bees, and many tiny flies that I do not know the names of sing their buzzing song as they diligently pollinate the flowers and edibles.
Splendidly colored wings and bodies to cherish in any garden. The underside of the bright orange Gulf Fritillary (below)is a masterful work of art.
Each one of these helpful beauties is a great reason to avoid the use of pesticides and insectides. Nature, when left to balance on its own, has a wonderful way of overriding the small amount of bad with the abundance of good.
The average lifespan of a butterfly (varies with each species) is only about 1 month. Isn't it amazing that the numbers of them in the garden doesn't seem to fluctuate!
They are busy creatures in their short life time. Each species needs their respective host plants to lay their eggs and provide food for the larvae. Once they mature into adults they will be looking for flowering plants to retrieve their nectar. Little do they know how much enjoyment and entertainment they provide to the gardeners who diligently work to attract them. :-)
Which butterflies are you seeing now in your garden?
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Click here for my latest Lowe's Creative Ideas Gardening Blog post. It is titled 5 Tips to Make Your Garden More Sustainable.