Friday, May 11, 2012

Butterflies and Dogwoods

Alternate Leaf Dogwood, Cornus alternifolia. Holy Crap! Roughly 3 years ago this was a tiny twig in the ground, the next year it sent out some branches, the year after they grew a little longer, and then after this past winter the whole thing flowered! This tree isn't taller than me yet and it's flowering better than other trees I have that are twice as high! When it's in direct sun the whole thing becomes swarming with insects but is otherwise left alone. I usually just see flies on it, but something about the sun makes more bees attracted to it. 

The spring migrating butterflies have occasionally been using it but I haven't seen any stop longer than a few seconds.

The Red Admirals, Vanessa atalanta, and American Ladies, Vanessa virginiensis, have been migrating through all week. Others are mixed in of course but regardless they all seem to fly faster than most birds.

The American Lady was mostly nectaring on a Creeping Charlie, a very aggressive spreading nonnative member of the mint family. I've since weeded it out of the meadow garden but briefly she landed on the Amsonia ciliata, (pictured above,) which is basically the same as Amsonia hubrichtii but the flowers are slightly larger. This plant isn't flowering as well as it could be but I know that will change in a few years.