Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Butterfly Garden


     Last Sunday was spent at my in-law's home in Rockland County, NY. It was a special treat because we got to see our new niece and her older sister, plus our nephews. My brother in-laws and sister in-laws were there and it is always great to hang around with them. One thing that I always admire about my mother-law is her amazing garden. In spring through summer it is just full of flowers and the critters who are attracted to them, plus their predators. For some reason, the bushes around her home contain thriving populations of matids that prey upon unsuspecting butterflies visiting the flowers. The flowers, I think, are zinnia's and they are just beautiful, pop a butterfly on it, and its a special bonus. Enjoy:
A bumble bee packs away some serious pollen. It is so important that people understand how important bees and other pollinators are! They really are vital not just to the plants that depend on them for reproduction, but we also need them to pollinate our crops!
This is a silver-spotted skipper (pretty sure) and it camouflages incredibly well as a dead flower! Meanwhile in the background, a full on BBQ is taking place.
This mantid is actually a chinese mantis, they come in green or brown and are quite large!
It is not illegal to kill a mantis, growing up people always (and still) say that it is illegal to kill them. It's not true. But, I wouldn't start killing them anyway- they eat many pest insects and are considered beneficial in gardens.
The one in the foreground- not too sure what it is,  might be some kind of checkerspot or crescent??

A brown version of the chinese mantis waits in ambush, but takes a moment to cock its little head to check me out. I do love that about then, how they move their heads quite well.