May blooms and butterflies

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There’s a lot going on in the backyard. Lots of blossoms and bees, and some butterflies. This area in particular is the scene of a lot of activity (click to view larger image).

Itea - sundrops - phlox and more
Front, left to right: Virginia Sweetspire, Sundrops, Purple Milkweed and Smooth Phlox. Trumpet Honeysuckle on the fence. Winterberry (the tall shrub) is also blooming.

I’m seeing numerous azures (Celastrina spp.), especially around the Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica).  These very small butterflies remind me of light-blue flying snowflakes. However, when they land they often close their wings and the blue color of their upper wings is hidden.

Celastrina ladon butterfly on iteaThe Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) is quite different in size and color. I was delighted to see this one on phlox. It was in pristine condition and I’m guessing it had only recently emerged from its chrysalis.

Papilio glaucus on phloxFrom what I’ve observed in the backyard and elsewhere, I’m thinking it may be a good summer for butterflies. I’d be glad to know what you are seeing and whether or not you agree.

12 thoughts on “May blooms and butterflies”

    1. Glad for you on both accounts, Louise. I saw a Monarch about a month ago but none since then even though I have six different milkweed plants and three of them are blooming! I’m still hoping they will come. And no hummingbirds even though I’ve had out two feeders for some time. I keep telling myself there is plenty of time for both.

  1. Thanks for sharing Betty….you always have something interesting going on in your yard ; ). Do you know how many varieties of plants you have in your yard and how many are butterfly host plants?

    Yes….I believe we are going to have a magnificent butterfly summer… neighbor and I have seen monarchs, variegated fritillary, tiger swallowtails, black swallowtail (of course), red admirals, commas and question marks (on rotten fruit tray), zebra swallowtails, and several cats that have yet to be identified. I personally have released (from overwintering) approx 40 black swallowtails, spice bush swallowtails and zebras ; ). Happy butterflying everyone!

    1. Glad to hear from you, Christine. Your list of butterflies seen and released is quite impressive and the unidentified ‘cats’ sound intriguing. Thanks much for sharing.

      As to our plants, at last count we had over 150 different ones. And as to butterfly hosts, I can think of at least 21 varieties. We have a relatively small lot and are somewhat isolated from any other wild areas which I think affects what we see. However, since putting in the natives, there’s a lot more going on with birds, butterflies, and other insects and we greatly enjoy.

  2. Dear Betty,
    We had a “wildlife” visitor that I bet even you have not had in your wonderful yard. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get a picture. I don’t think it is native to this region, though: a hermit crab!
    Sure enough, it had recently escaped from a 6 year old neighbor across the street who was surprised and delighted to get it back. I don’t know what the crab felt. It liked our pond but didn’t seem to have any preferences about our varieties of plants, other than not caring for the short grass.
    Yes I know this is a bit off the subject, but it was so amazing I had to share it.


    1. A hermit crab in a Kentucky backyard? What a delightful story, Russell. You’re right we have not seen one in our backyard but what fun it would be. And especially when you could reunite it with it’s young owner. So glad you shared a very different backyard happening.

  3. Last year I planted a long butterfly garden bed along the driveway and a small woodland garden using native plants. We have been rewarded with lots of bees, butterflies, wasps, and moths, not to mention the humming birds. I’m afraid I don’t know the butterflies by name, but I recognize the two in your pictures. This year I decided to focus on plants that attract hummingbirds and forego the feeders that always attracted bugs and got moldy if they weren’t changed frequently. This is much easier and we still see lots of hummingbirds, although they’re no longer right in front of us on the deck. I love watching them work their way through the flower bed.

    Susan Jonas

    1. Susan, sounds like you, too, are sold on the value of planting natives. I like your idea of foregoing the hummingbird feeders and concentrating on plants. I don’t really like dealing with the feeders either. From past experience, I know they will find and feed on trumpet honeysuckle, cardinal flowers, and other plants (even red zinnias). You’ve inspired me.I’m going to take down my two feeders today. Thank you for sharing.

  4. It sure is looking like a good butterfly season. I can hardly look over the yard without seeing at least one butterfly and it makes me so happy to see them. I have yet to see a hummingbird visit my feeder or plants. The wasps sure love the feeder though!

    1. Regina, glad to know you, too, are seeing butterflies. No hummingbirds for me either and I’ve decided to give up on the feeders. I’m hoping our plants will attract them. In the past, they have shown up later in the season so I’m still hoping.

  5. Hi Betty,

    Your yard is looking very green and beautiful. I’ve had some hummingbirds visiting my (home) office window while I’ve been working which is a great distraction every once in a while. Glad to see one of your awesome bubble pictures made it onto your heading picture – one of my favs!


    1. Keli,glad you’re seeing hummingbirds. I’m still hoping. And thanks for noticing the bubble photo. Maybe that will inspire me to get some new ones.

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