Last week in the garden: July 25-31, 2022

Butterflies were the highlight in the garden this week. In addition to a few Monarchs, we saw an American Lady, a Great Spangled Fritillary, a Black Swallowtail (no photos), and lots of Cabbage Whites.

American Painted Lady butterfly (July 25, 2022)

Today, this American Painted Lady butterfly was laying eggs on Field Pussytoes by the stream. Judging by the number of eggs she laid, there are going to be a lot of caterpillars soon.

Facebook memory: Yellow-banded Bumblebee (June 25, 2021)

For the past 3 years, we’ve had a few Yellow-banded Bumblebees show up when the Culver’s Root and Joe Pye Weed begins to bloom. Here’s a Yellow-banded Bumblebee on Joe Pye weed flowers in our back garden. I’m delighted to see them again.

This is a rare and declining species, closely related to Rusty-patch Bumblebees that no longer exist in Ontario. They’re describes as having short necks, so they look particularly stocky, round, and cute. One of their distinguishing features is yellow hairs on their bums, so I included a shot from behind.

It’s interesting that I just noticed a few Yellow-banded Bumblebees in the backyard garden almost on the same date in 2022 as I spotted them in 2021.

Pollinators visiting Upland White Asters (July 25, 2022)

I was thinking that few insects visit my White Upland Asters. Once I paid attention though, I saw numerous pollinators on these dainty white flowers. The most frequent visitors are small leafcutter bees, but I also noticed a Spotted Cucumber Beetle (3rd photo), Small Carpenter Bees (4th), flower flies (5th). A Cabbage White butterfly and some kind of Duskywing stopped by the flowers too when I didn’t have the camera.

Upland White Asters are sometimes called Upland White Goldenrod, but now it seems to be in a different botanical category, known as *Oligoneuron album*. Whatever it’s called, it produces pretty clouds of white flowers and grows well in dry, sunny conditions. I got my first plants from Beaux Arbres Native Plants, but they have self-seeded to form a nice patch.

Cabbage White butterfly (July 24, 2022)

This Cabbage White is probably disappointed that I’m not growing any brassicas this year. It is actually quite a pretty butterfly when it stops long enough to get a good look. Here it is visiting Hoary Vervain flowers to drink nectar.

Fritillary butterfly (July 26, 2022)

Is it butterfly week, or something? All of a sudden, I am seeing so many butterflies in the garden. Yesterday and today, I’ve seen a Fritillary butterfly that I think is a Great Spangled Fritillary. It really likes Purple Coneflowers. It’s caterpillars eat violets, like the Common Blue Violets that I let spread under the shrubs in the hedgerow.

Facebook memory: Small Milkweed Bugs (July 26, 2020)

Monarch caterpillars aren’t the only thing that eats milkweed. Small Milkweed Bugs eat the seeds, especially of Common Milkweed. That’s okay because Common Milkweed spreads a lot, so they help control it. I found small nymphs in the leaves (3rd photo) nearby when I was cutting back Comfrey leaves.

I haven’t seen these insects yet this year (2022), but I’m keeping my eyes open for them.

Fireweed (July 26, 2020)

When we go on vacations, I don’t buy souvenirs, but I do buy plants and seeds that remind me of each trip. A few years ago, we rented a cottage on Golden Lake. We spent a day at Algonquin Park too. All along the side of the dirt road within the park, I saw an unfamiliar plant (like the 2nd photo). I learned it was Fireweed, so I planted some in our backyard. It’s an enthusiastic spreader, so think twice before you plant it in your yard.

This year (2022), my Fireweed doesn’t look this good anymore. It doesn’t like competition and is getting crowded out as shrubs in the hedgerow get larger. Fireweed runs far and wide though, so new shoots are popping up in sunnier spots.

Leafcutter bees don’t care if the plant flowers or not though, so they still cut pieces out of the Fireweed leaves to line their nests.

Fritillary butterfly laying eggs in leaf litter (July 28, 2022)

I followed a Fritillary butterfly around the front garden to see what flowers it would visit. In the backyard, it only seems to want to visit Purple Coneflowers, but there aren’t any in the front. Then, the butterfly disappeared. Where did it go?

I recalled that it uses violets as its host plant, so I looked around the violets for the butterfly. And there it was! It was crawling around the leaf litter laying eggs! In the 2nd photo, see the butterfly’s body curved under it to deposit an egg.

These butterflies lay eggs in the leaves *near* violets. The following spring, the eggs hatch and the caterpillars eat newly emerging violet plants. If I remove the leaves, I will be removing next year’s butterflies. This is yet another reason to leave the leaves in the garden in fall.

Long-horned Bee on a Cup Plant flower (July 28, 2022)

I’m pretty sure this is a male Long-Horned Bee on one of my Cup Plant flowers. The males have super long antennae, lots of blond hair and green eyes. These bees prefer composite flowers like sunflowers, asters and coneflowers.

The Cup Plants, and some of my other flowers, are very tall because of all the rain that fell in the spring. I had to use the zoom lens and crane my neck to get these photos.

Snack and a bath at the stream (July 30, 2022)

I planted Purple Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans near the stream so we’d have a good view of Goldfinches eating their seeds. This male Goldfinch was eating from a Purple Coneflower even before the seeds have developed. He then had a drink and a bath. Goldfinches are at the stream frequently throughout the day.

New visitor at the stream (July 31, 2021)

At first glance, I thought this was another Goldfinch. Thank goodness I had the camera with me to photograph this Yellow Warbler! She must be a new visitor because she was very cautious and did a lot of fluttering above the water before she went in.

This reminds me that warbler migration will be starting next month. It’s exciting because we don’t know who will visit the stream or the berry bushes in the garden. It’s also kind of sad because it means our short summer will be waning too.

Lately (2022), we’ve been seeing a Yellow Warbler at the stream, but these photos from 2 years ago are better than the ones I’ve taken this year so far.

Front pollinator garden by sidewalk (July 31, 2022)

The front pollinator garden, beside the sidewalk, is in full bloom. Flowers include: layered Spotted Beebalm, pink Nodding Onion, purple Cylindrical Blazing Star, white Mountain Mint, white Dense Blazing Star, orange Butterfly Milkweed, orange Calendula, purple Wild Petunia, and yellow Partridge Pea.

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