Airbnb for Birds and Butterflies

I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered.

The Eastern Columbine is a herbaceous perennial plant that stole my heart with its delicate, lobed leaves and unique bell-shaped flowers the first time I saw it growing in the garden at Leonard J. Buck Garden. The flowers are a fiery red and yellow combo, sometimes an alluring all-red or all-yellow look. These beauties bloom in the spring and early summer.

Hummingbirds can't resist its sweet nectar, nor can bees, butterflies, or hawk moths. I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered. It's even a tasty treat for birds like finches and buntings. Eastern Columbine is a self-seeder. Several colonies have formed in every one of my garden planters and have spread to the small garden at the front of my home. Eastern Columbine will stick around for the long haul.

Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) · Sunday 7 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Eastern Columbine is an easy-to-grow plant that thrives in various habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and even along roadsides. I'm not a seasoned gardener, but I can enjoy the lovely flowers in the container garden meadow I planted. The container garden is set up to provide the meadow plants with well-draining soil. The west-facing patio gives the container meadows partial shade from the roof of our home in the morning, but the containers bask in full sun in the afternoon.

Beneficial insect

I know what the flower is but what is this insect?

I don't remember when I planted the Heart-leaved Aster in the planter on the balcony, but this fall, I have been rewarded with a beautiful display of little white flowers with a pink centre. The flowers attract insects, providing me with plenty of macro photography opportunities (and an exercise in patience). This is the best of 25 images.; 23 were deleted.

I know what the flower is, but what is this insect?

Heart-leaved Aster

I planted calico aster in a native plants planter on my balcony. Over several years, I have established a small colony of allium and columbine, sometimes attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

I can't recall when I planted the lovely calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. lateriflorum). This summer, when I spotted this native plant from New Jersey in my patio planter, I decided to let it be. And now, it has finally burst into bloom, rewarding me with numerous delicate flowers.

According to the Jersey Yards website, the calico aster showcases charming white flowers that typically bloom from September to October. Not only does it provide nectar for native bees, but it also attracts beneficial insects that prey on garden pests in your yard. Additionally, it serves as a host plant for the caterpillars of the Pearl Crescent butterfly. You can utilise the calico aster in various ways, such as planting it in borders, grouping it for hedges or screens, or lining your walkways.

In my balcony's native plants planter, I've cultivated a small colony of allium and columbine over the course of several years. These plants have occasionally lured butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds, making my little garden a delightful hub of activity.

I used my trusty Fujinon MCEX-16 extension tubes and my XF16-55mF2.8 R LM WR lens. It's quite a challenge, though. Even the slightest breeze caused the stem to sway, disrupting my shot. I'll try it again when the air is calmer and still.