Friday, July 26, 2013

Beneficial Insects for the Garden

John's Garden - A tribute to my dad


My Garden Critters

  By Beth Reis


     I have always loved garden critters. Whether it's worms, spiders, frogs, toads, butterflies, dragonflies or bees; I love them all! I really do enjoy each one and the fact that each serves very useful purposes in both my vegetable and flower gardens, is an added bonus. To achieve healthy plants, which also provides me with attractive gardens, I am always trying to find ways to attract these beneficial critters to our yard.

Tiger Swallowtail dinning on Purple Coneflowers

Feeding the Soil

  In my compost piles and gardens, earthworms aerate the soil and fertilize it with their castings.
They thrive in nitrogen rich soil which I achieve by adding the compost I create to all of my gardens and flower pots.

 My Recipe For Insect Diversity: Plant Variety

Great Spangled Fritillary - Where do I start?

   Butterflies and bees are the pollinators. They gather nectar and pollen from flowers in my garden to feed themselves and pollinate the flowers and vegetables I grow. Without them, we would have no flowers, vegetables or fruit, so I work hard to provide butterflies and bees with a veritable smorgasbord of perennials and annuals.

Skipper filling up his "tank"

   This summer I really discovered through my hobby of photography, which flowers I have in my gardens that are especially attractive to butterflies and bees. Both insects like flowers they can easily land on to collect nectar and pollen, so I often see them in my sunny gardens on native perennials like Purple Coneflower, Helianthus, Phlox, and Bee Balm.

    They also love annuals I grow like Begonias, Zinnias, Marigolds, and Vinca and other perennials like Goldstrum, Coreopsis and Shasta Daisy. The bushes/shrubs they are very fond of are my Mountain Laurel, Butterfly Bush, Hydrangea and Rosé of Sharon.

 Who is Coming For Dinner?

Black Swallowtail on Phlox
Black Swallowtail on Phlox
   Fortunately, because I have a wide variety of flowers in my gardens, I am seeing Black Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Fritillary, White Cabbage, and Brown Butterflies to name a few.

Dragonfly enjoying Basil
Brown Dragonfly enjoying Phlox

Also visiting are several varieties of dragonflies (my all time favorite), frogs, toads, spiders and thankfully, many, many bees!

Dragonfly taking a rest
 Dargonfly taking a rest

Long-Tailed Skimmer Dargonfly

Frog in geraniums
Shopping  (hopping) in the Coral Bells for lunch


                Even if you aren't as fond of some as I am, but love gardening,  just remember,

 "Feed them and they will come!"

Bee on Bergamot
Bees & Bergamot are like kids & ice cream

1 comment:

  1. I am jealous! Lots of bees,several butterflies and few toads... but no dragonflies.