In the Midwest, Master Gardener J. G. has planted a complete banquet for pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies. There are plants for all stages in an insect’s life. One section of her garden is devoted to native prairie plants, such as the common milkweed, which has a wonderful fragrance and beautiful flowers. Monarch caterpillars are dependent on milkweed leaves and flowers for food, and other insects drink the nectar. The garden is a certified Monarch Watch monarch butterfly waystation that provides milkweed, nectar sources and shelter for monarchs as they migrate through North America.
Honey bees were busy getting nectar and pollen in the milkweed flowers when we toured J.G.’s garden. One honey bee wasn’t so lucky. A crab spider grabbed it and paralyzed it for its own dinner. Crab spiders don’t spin webs but hide on plants, waiting for prey to visit.
It was a hot, humid day, and few butterflies appeared. J.G. called out the names of the few that passed through — fritillary, painted lady, skipper. I recognized a Monarch butterfly that flitted over the milkweed, settling just for a moment, before leaving.
To learn more about butterflies in the Kansas City area click on this links and do a search on butterflies: Johnson County Extension Office. Other useful links: Monarch Watch and look for Bug Girl’s Blog, Anna’s Bee World and Pollinator Partnership in my blog roll. If you’re buying from Amazon.com, use the Monarch Watch portal on my blogroll. I’ll be posting more about J.G’s garden, including her leaf cutter bee boxes.