If You Plant It, They Will Come…
“It” meaning bachelor button flowers, and “they” meaning Painted Lady butterflies. The first flowers to bloom in my garden this year have been bachelor buttons. Much to my surprise, Painted Lady butterflies have been appearing earlier than ever. First there was only one. Then a few days later… as many as eight at once! It seems the big draw has been my bachelor buttons. Sure glad I planted them!
Lilacs Work Magic Too
Another big draw has been my lilac bush. It stands over 7 feet in height. Perhaps it’s the incredible scent the lilac produces, or maybe it’s the eye-catching splash of color that appeals to the Painted Ladies. Whatever it is, these winged beauties have been coming quite frequently to my lilac to feed. They linger there pretty much all day long.
Telltale Wing Pattern
I’ve noticed that many of the Painted Ladies this year already have wing damage. I’m not quite sure why that is. Perhaps the cold spell that followed our early spring weather has something to do with it. One thing for sure, the Painted Lady’s dotted wing pattern makes it easily recognizable. The large distinctive dots have proven to be a good detail to use for identification when referencing the National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to Butterflies.
While my bachelor buttons and lilac have been quite appealing to the Painted Lady butterfly this spring, my rock walls have also been very popular. Maybe the butterflies enjoy the warmth of the rock’s surface as it soaks up the day’s sun, or maybe they simply need a place to rest after chowing down in the garden. Whatever the reason, it makes for a great texture shot — especially when I can get nice and close with my macro lens.
Who’s Coming Next?
The rest of my garden is still very much in growth mode. This year I’ve planted several new perennials. I can’t wait to see what kind of butterflies — and other winged visitors — the new plants attract. If I’m lucky, there just may be a few hummingbird shots in the near future.
~ Liz Mackney