Posts Tagged ‘white admiral butterfly’

White Admiral on Cacalia atripilicifolia

White Admiral on Cacalia atriplicifolia


Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea ‘Alba’

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White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis), wings open.



White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis), wings folded.


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Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

When I’m walking or working in the garden, I always keep my camera close at hand, because you never know who you might see. The garden plays host to an awesome assortment of creatures. Many garden inhabitants live hidden lives and remain invisible, their presence undetected by we mere humans. Others are more amenable to photography, or at least are engrossed in their own activities and pay no heed to the photographer.

No pesticides of any sort, toxic or organic, are used in my garden. Life is too precious. Plants that don’t thrive in this ecosystem are replaced with more tolerant species. Here is a selection of photographs of garden life. It is by no means all-inclusive. Some visitors are heard, but not seen, so the closing entry is a short recording of a black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus), ho-ho-hoing softly from shrubbery.


Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

white admiral

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)



Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)


Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)


Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)


Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)


Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)


Skipper sp.


Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)


American Toad (Bufo americanus)


Baby Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)


Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)


Dragonfly, Meadowhawk sp.


Virginia Ctenucha moth (Ctenucha virginica)


Yellow Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) with prey

mountain ash sawfly larvae

Mountain Ash Sawfly larvae (Pristiphora geniculata)


Bumblebee (Bombus sp)


Mayfly (order Ephemeroptera)


Hummingbird Clearwing Hawkmoth (Hemaris thysbe)


Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)


Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris ) female


Cedar Waxwing pair (Bombycilla cedrorum)

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Daylilies are like eye candy for humans, but they’re not a big draw for pollinators, in spite of the impression this skipper resting on Broken Heart might give. For bugs, I have other plants. A favorite of both me and the insects is coneflower, or echinacea.


Echinacea mixes well with daylilies and other perennials and is a big draw for butterflies. Two nice varieties for mixing with other plants are Ruby Star and Magnus. They’ve both been reliable bloomers in my garden. In the photo above, that’s Ruby Star near the centre, and Magnus on the far left.


Here’s another shot of Ruby Star mingling with daylilies. The yellow flowers are Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Nights’. Ruby Star stands about 40 inches tall.

Magnus is very similar, perhaps a few inches shorter, and has reddish stems. Here’s Magnus blooming with the plumes of Giant Fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) and a phlox variety in the background. The thistle-like flowers are Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’. To the right is the switchgrass Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’.


For a shorter coneflower, Prairie Splendor is an excellent choice. This clump, being watched over by Charlie Bird (Jake the Rake?) stands about 24 inches tall.


Close to Prairie Splendor is a double echinacea, Pink Double Delight. It’s been in the garden for a few years and has done well. Like its neighbour, it is about two feet tall. Here is a Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) enjoying the flowers.


I’ve had fun growing some of the new echinacea hybrids that have arrived on the market in the last few years. They feature some unusual non-traditional colours and many have pompom or mophead flowers. One of my favorites is Hot Papaya, which I’ve had for a few years.


New this summer was the orange Marmalade. I added it to the Red and Gold border.


Many ‘green’ flowers have only a slight hint of green. However, Green Jewel is quite emphatically green. I love the complexity of the pattern in the flower head.


This little white coneflower is Meringue. It’s a compact plant, about 18 inches tall.


Meringue was a favorite white until I met Milkshake. Milkshake is about twice as tall as Meringue, reaching 3 feet. I find that, from a distance, the yellow centres of the flowers give them the appearance of egg whites with the yolk in the middle! This flower has a White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) butterfly visiting it.


Milkshake provides a backdrop for the pink flowers of Secret Romance, another favorite.


I’ll close with this picture of a rather battered Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on Prairie Splendor.


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I haven’t walked down to the pond in a while, partly because it has been so hot that I couldn’t find the energy, and partly because the bugs have been so fierce this year, I was afraid I might be carried off by a giant mosquito. As it turned out, when I did take a stroll down there the other day, the mosquitos weren’t bad at all.

Perhaps the tree swallows can take credit for the bug control service. I was surprised to find that there were still nestlings in the boxes. Tree swallows usually just raise one brood a year. It’s possible that a first nest failed, or that the abundance of insects this year has resulted in the swallows raising a second brood. Either way, the parents were still busy collecting insects on the wing over the pond.

As I’ve got to know dragonflies better, one of the things I’ve found interesting is the way the dominant dragonfly species changes over the course of the summer. There are always dragonflies about, but not the same species. Right now, there are a lot of twelve-spotted skimmers (Libellula pulchella) patrolling the pond.

I like these dragonflies because they are large and conspicuous, and easy to identify, with their three black patches on their wings. They have chalky-white abdomens and yellowish side stripes on their thorax. Females are similar, but lack the white patches between the dark patches on their wings, and have a brown abdomen.

Another positive attribute is a penchant for perching, making them highly cooperative photography subjects. The twelve-spotted dragonflies weren’t the only skimmers to be found along the pond. The grasses at the margin of the water were host to many yellow-legged meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum).

They are somewhat smaller than their twelve-spotted cousins. The males are orange-red, but I saw mostly females, which sport a yellow abdomen and clear wings.

There was lots of other life. As I approached the pond, several turtles slipped into the water and disappeared. Certainly, I was not only the watcher but also the watched.

These ants were busy working industriously on a dogwood branch. I assume they were after aphids or some such, but couldn’t actually see what was attracting them.

Several White Admiral butterflies (Limenitis arthemis) were flitting about.

It was hot in the sun, and I didn’t visit for long. I retreated to the shade of the house and left everyone to get on with their busy lives.

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