Barry Severn, who lives in the Toronto area (Zone 5), shared these portraits of small wildlife visitors in the garden. No matter how small your garden is or where it is located, you can make it a great habitat for insects like these.
An elegant black wasp, maybe a spider hunter, on what looks to be the flowers of golden alexander (Zizia aurea, Zones 3–8).
A bumblebee on a zinnia (Zinnia elegans, annual).
A red admiral butterfly on a buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis, Zones 5–9).
Many bumblebees on showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa, Zones 3–8). Goldenrod has a bad name because it blooms during hay fever season, but ragweed is the culprit behind all the sneezing. The species Solidago canadensis is quite weedy, but species such as showy and stiff goldenrods are well-behaved. And as you can see from this image, bees love them.
A red admiral on a purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9).
A swallowtail butterfly nectaring on a purple coneflower.
Monarch butterflies feed on a fall-blooming aster. Later-blooming plants are important food sources for monarchs as they migrate south to overwinter in Mexico.
A tiny hover fly. These little flies are harmless and great pollinators, but their black-and-yellow coloration makes them look like a stinging wasp to scare off potential predators. The enormous eyes are one giveaway that it is a fly, not a wasp or bee.
A wasp resting on a corn leaf.
A wool carder bee on a late-flowering low sedum.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
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