Lately the Front Garden has had so many little creatures flying about that it’s almost impossible to make it to or from the front door without getting hopelessly distracted. Let’s have a review of some of the creatures who been doing the distracting.


Monarch Butterflies have been a pretty constant presence over the past few weeks. Not in big numbers, but there always seem to be 2 or 3 flying about. This one is nectaring on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) adjacent to some ‘Casa Blanca’ Lilies.


The Monarchs seem much more comfortable with people this year. I can stand just a foot away filming them with my phone and they don’t seem to mind my presence at all.


American Ladies have a more intermittent presence, but they are a fairly common sight. Incidentally, the ‘Zowie! Yellow Flame’ Zinnias are serious butterfly magnets this year, giving the Mexican Sunflowers a run for their money.


It was hard to get a picture with the upper wings, but this gives you a peek.

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Red Admiral on Zinnia.

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As with the Monarchs, there always seem to be a pair of Black Swallowtails about, but this year they seem particularly hyperactive. This was the best picture I could get.

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Silver-Spotted Skipper on Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Skippers are small, somber butterflies. This is about as flamboyant as they get.

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This is some kind of Hummingbird Moth. Sorry the picture is so fuzzy. We were being visited by a driveway contractor when I spotted this guy. I made the contractor come over and pretend to be interested in the Hummingbird Moth before he could make his pitch.


I haven’t put much effort into keeping track of the different bees in the garden this year. One thing I can say, though, is that the bumblebees have been practically swarming the Monardas, both Wild Bergamot and Bee Balm (Monarda didyma).



This bumble seems to be licking his plate clean.


Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are whizzing around the Front Bed more days than not. They are especially interested in the Monardas, Zinnias, and Mexican Sunflower.


She’s just too busy to notice me.

Well, that’s it for now. Have you been seeing lots of pollinators in the garden this year?

29 Comments on “Things That Go Buzz in the Sunshine”

  1. A lovely article – photos and descriptions. In my yard I have all of these creatures but one. I haven’t seen a Hummingbird Moth yet.

    I have a very large hydrangea which looms over my back door so much that I had to trim away enough of the blooms to create a tunnel to the gate. The bees are everywhere! Everyday one or two bounce off my head as we attempt to pass each other. As long as I don’t react and keep going it’s all good. They do the same.

    I’m thoroughly enjoying my yard this year.

  2. Wait until you see the skipper I found — you’ll re-evaluate the “somber” part of your description. When I was out and about last weekend, I saw more swallowtails than I’ve ever seen. As soon as I figure out which east Texas plant they were swarming, I’ll share that, too. All I know is that it looked like sweetspire, but wasn’t, and the fragrance was wonderful. After a slow start to the season, there are butterflies everywhere. I’ve not seen so many Gulf fritillaries, but I’ve not been around the Gulf quite as much as usual.

  3. Your garden is a pollinator magnet! It is such a treat to see all these beautiful insects. I planted a special garden for pollinators which was full of bees and butterflies in the last few years. Then this year new neighbors moved in and began a “mosquito control” service. I have far, far fewer insects of any kind, and I’ve actually been finding dead butterflies. I’m heartbroken.

  4. What a great post full of pollinator photos! I see regular yellow swallowtails flitting through my garden every day, but they never stay still long enough for me to photograph them. We don’t get Monarchs here, unfortunately.

  5. Fantabulous photos. Thanks so much to both of you for taking the time to get these great shots.

    American ladies are something I rarely see, though lots of other kinds of butterflies are around this season. Monarchs are mobbing the peaking Joe Pyes this week, and luckily the common milkweed foliage has bounced back enough from intense spring-early summer deer chomping (!!) to provide good eats for their next generation, the long-distance migrants. The deer chomping did prevent milkweed from blooming, though, so no seed. Hard to imagine we’ll have many springs moist and cool enough to make the leaves and stalks palatable, so not going to get alarmed just yet. But I’ll be caging any other milkweed I plant until it’s well established.

  6. Wonderful photos Jason. We have had so many different sorts of bees this year – heartwarming after all the talk of pollinators dying off. Same butterflies as you as well – Red Admirals galore and what we call Painted Lady as well as a couple of Old World Swallowtails (the yellow ones). Love your zingy orange zinnia too. 🙂

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