I've been humming that tune for several days now. Despite the periodic march of storms through our area, certain flowers persist in blooming (albeit the flattened ones much closer to the ground than is usual). Area butterflies are not ignoring their colorful invitations. Yesterday I spent blissful moments out watching as a mix of about a half dozen Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies danced from flower to flower.
|Red Admiral and Painted Lady (Vanessa atalanta and Vanessa cardui) on Coreopsis lanceolata.|
|Possible Cloudless Sulphur (Pheobis sennae) nectaring on Purple prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)|
|Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola) with wings folded on Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)|
|Wings open, the rationale behind the name for Reakirt's Blue (Echinarga isola) is revealed|
The blooms consistently draw in several different local pollinators, enough so that we've had butterflies land on cut flowers adorning a table on the deck. These daisies sail through summer heat and winter cold and don't seem picky about water or soil. I'm happy to give them space here even as non-natives on that count alone. Because they also tolerate transplantation well I'm systematically pulling daisy mounds out of prime full sun real estate in deference to native plants, plugging the easy going daisies in to anchor shadier, barely developed beds.
True confession: I've devoted a certain amount of time, energy and expense putting in both native and non-native milkweed plants to support threatened monarch populations, but I rarely see queens or monarchs either one. Maybe they feel I'm trying too hard, I don't know.
|Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Coreopsis|
|Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) with wings folded on ox-eye daisy.|
|Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), wings opened|
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle. Dun dun dunnn... As the name suggests, this rather large beetle will feed on the leaves of milkweed plants, slicing stems open to drain sap and if left unchecked, is capable of potentially defoliating entire plants.
|Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle|
I've only seen one beetle at a time so far, and always on other plants. I checked today and there is not currently visible damage to any milkweed plants. I have to admit, I think the beetles are kind of handsome. And it is good that somebody RSVP'ed to the milkweed. I'll maintain a watchful eye, if I see more than one beetle at a time or signs of damage, it'll be better soap than sorry. Now there is potential competition, maybe the monarchs will deign to reign? Time will tell.