Sunday afternoon with the Monarchs

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Yesterday I planted more plants and watched two monarchs hanging out in my garden all afternoon. One thing I realized… they had eyes only for my butterfly bush. No interest in any of my other pollinator plants.

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I managed one shot with both in the same photo, but it’s a little hard to see them.

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They really are like flying flowers!

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I planted Lily of the Valley (the little white wormy-looking plants) and Creeping Phlox (in background).

Lily of the Valley is not native, but they are so cute! They grow in forests in the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and Asia. In May they  produce adorable little white bell-shaped flowers. Later in the season, they produce green berries that ripen to orange or red. All parts of the plant are poisonous, so I’ve got the safely behind the garden fencing where dogs and little humans cannot get to them. These are considered invasive in northern climates, so I will have to keep a close eye on them. I hope I don’t regret planting these.

Creeping Phlox is a native ground cover. In spring it is completely covered in masses of small star shaped white, pink or purple flowers.

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And also Wild Columbine (left side of froggy), Bottlebrush Sedge (right side of froggy), and Virginia Bluebells (not pictured).

Wild Columbine blooms in spring with long red and yellow drooping flowers that attract humminbirds, butterflies, hawk moths and bees. It is a host plant for the Columbine Duskywing moth. Finches and Buntings eat the seeds. Native American men supposedly rubbed crushed seeds on themselves to attract attention from women! Ha!

Bottlebrush Sedge is a native grass that usually grows in marshes and swamps. The seed heads look like little bottle brushes. Sedges are great for wildlife gardens because they are host plants for many insects, and they provide seeds and cover for birds. Many sedges grow quite well in shade compared to grasses.

Virginia Bluebells are native wildflowers that grow in the woods. They start with pretty pastel-pink buds that open up to be long pastel-blue bell-shaped flowers that attract lots of wildlife: hummingbirds, the hummingbird moth, butterflies, and lots of bees.

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My other wildlife sighting of the day! I researched him, and found out that he is an American Dagger Moth caterpillar (he will turn into a pretty plain-looking gray moth). Their fur is irritating if you touch them. They actually spin their “fur” into their cocoon! The black hairs are fake antennae, that make them appear more threatening than they actually are. They feed on oaks and other trees. They are usually seen in late summer/early fall as they look for a place to spin their cocoon.

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I have now finished planting all the native plants in my part-sun garden and my shade garden (above)! Now on to the full sun garden!

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