While I love showing off the big beautiful blooms of my garden, there’s a whole other world in there, beneath the petals and the leaves.
A vast city of tiny creatures making their way through nodding skyscrapers of flowers.
I’ve shown you all the butterflies that stop in and say hi, but if you look closer, you see some real magic…
Crab spiders are abundant in the garden .It’s not uncommon to find one hiding in the petals of a coneflower or tickseed (as seen here). What is unusual is to catch it eating a meal of stinkbug. Even more unsual is to see it eating a meal surrounded by a bunch of baby fly minions…
Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it before! Lets also note that the spider is smaller than the nail on my smallest finger… so those flies are TEENY!!!!
And just as fascinating…
These guys are so small that I wouldn’t have noticed them if there hadn’t been so darn many of them!!! They are Milkweed Aphids. Sadly, if I wanted to keep my milkweed, I had to give them a good dunking in some soapy water. If they get out of control, no more milkweed.
And here’s the reason I’m so keen on keeping that milkweed.
It’s only my first year with the plants, yet the Monarchs laid eggs, and at least one hatched into and became a nice fat caterpillar!!!! He’s since disappeared so I can only hope he wandered off to make his cocoon, and as I write is working on becoming a beautiful butterfly.
There’s a new one on another bit of Milkweed on the other side of the yard, so I’m keeping an on him as well.
But as I said, butterflies aren’t the only pollinators we cater to.
This plant is called Boneset. It’s one of the native plants I put in this spring. It’s not very showy, and it’s flowers are kind of odd looking. But it’s ALWAYS covered in bees, wasps, and hoverflies.
This plant is a pollinator powerhouse!!!
And check out this neat guy hanging off a Cosmos bud
He’s a Green Lacewing. It’s not a great picture, but he was hard enough to see, let alone get a good picture of.
And while honey bees are abundant, we see loads of native bees.
These shiny black-bummed Carpenter bees are easy to mistake for Bumblebees, though they are much bigger… and of course, have a shiny black bum!
I don’t know what kind of bee this is… I can’t tell what’s under all that pollen! It looks like he rolled in it!
But nothing is sweeter than these little bees I keep finding asleep in my sunflowers at the end of the day.
I’ve never seen it before, but it happens pretty regularly. Now I check the sunflowers every evening, and there’s almost always one bee who’s settled in for the night. But one evening…
There were three!!!!! Can you bee-lieve it???