Butterflies and Other Winged Wonders in the Garden

Butterflies and Other Winged Wonders in the Garden

One of the greatest pleasures of the garden is being able to see wildlife. While there are many kinds of wildlife from birds to bunnies and squirrels to deer that are regulars around us, the most common form of wildlife in our garden are the butterflies. Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order of insects and are drawn all the nectar in the flowers that we as gardeners plant. It’s a good bet that if you have flowers blooming then you have butterflies about! Here’s a look at a few that have been in our garden lately.

Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus

The Tiger swallowtail is one of my favorite butterflies because of his interesting stripes. This one is enjoy our butterfly bush in the Birdbath garden. Even though I call it a birdbath garden I could probably call it a butterfly garden as well. All the flowering plants in it are very good butterfly attractors: Butterfly bush, coreopsis, echinacea (coneflower), and Salvia nemorosa (see the Birdbath garden layout).

The Black swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes

The Black swallowtail butterflies are everywhere in our garden. They seem to enjoy feeding off the ‘Homestead purple’ verbena the most but frequently venture over to partake of our asters and butterfly bushes.

Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing Moth – Hemaris diffinis

This little bumblebee look-a-like and his cohorts are even more common than the Black swallowtails in our garden. At first glance when the Clearwings are flying around you might mistake them for bumblebees but after you listen to them you will notice that they don’t have the same buzz. Unfortunately they fly around as fast as the bumblebees do which makes photographing them difficult. Gail over at Clay and Limestone talked about them last week and even posted a video of one sipping some nectar at a monarda!

Can’t you just hear this one saying “Mmmmm verbena!”

Is this a Great Spangled Frittilary? I’m no butterfly expert but I think that’s who it is. This little butterfly is all over our ‘Oranges and Lemons ‘ gaillardia. What do you think?

The dragonflies have been quite common this year. They are good to have around the garden since they like to eat mosquitoes and gnats. Feast away Mr. Dragonfly!


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I loved all your “Winged Wonders”, very aptly named post today. I especially am fond of the Black Swallowtail, a frequent visitor to my garden as well.

  2. Dave,

    Isn’t the rain wonderful! I hope you’ve gotten as much as we have.
    You’re winged wonders are delightful…I can’t ever get a good shot of dragonflies…but lately the butterflies are cooperating. You are so right, the clearwings are much more plentiful in the garden then the butterflies. They are great pollinators and happiest around the monardas over here. Thanks for the link.


  3. They are all so beautiful and quite common this year. How does your oldest daughter like them all? Getting dad to catch some?

  4. What wonderful pics Dave. My problem is two fold, one, to get the ittle creatures to stay still long enough to photograph them and two, to have the camera ready when I see them. Your blog is an inspiration, it has inspired me to have a go myself.

  5. My favorite butterfly has to be the first one that you posted. It is magnificent and so beautiful too.

  6. Spectacular photos! Butterflies are truly gifts of summer. 🙂

  7. I think the dragonflies can be as pretty as the butterflies. Those are great shots.

    I love to see the monarch butterfly in my garden. I tell myself every year to read up on them so I can join in the butterfly and bee fun. I know so little about any of them. I just know my own when I see them in my garden.

  8. Perennial Gardener,

    I’m glad you liked it! Those black swallowtails are fun to watch.


    I’ve enjoyed the rain but I still want some more! the grass is greening again but I’m afraid the rain was just teasing it.


    She loves to chase them! I took several pictures of her following the butterflies on the gaillardia. I think she wanted them to land on her.


    Thanks for the kind words! I take many picture but only show the good one’s. Sometimes I have to take 3 pictures of the same kind in order to get one that I like. Just keep trying for the little butterflies, they don’t hold still for long!


    It’s my favorite also! The stripes are pretty cool.


    Thanks! They are one of those gifts of summertime. They are kind of the aerial aspect of gardening!


    I’d love to see the monarch in our garden also. I saw one this summer but haven’t seen any since and didn’t have my camera with me at the time. Sometimes timing is everything!

  9. Dave I think the one butterfly is the Variegated Fritillary! I have a pretty good book on them and that is how I docutmented so many on the “Flying Flowers” posting I recently did…

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