January 14, 2021
Beetles often bury themselves deep in flowers. This is Brachyleptura rubrica peeking over the edge of a Hydrangea quercifolia flower cluster.

Beetles as Pollinators

While bees and butterflies are the pollinator darlings, beetles also provide essential pollinator services and deserve a little more respect. Beetles are fascinating and easy to observe, being colorful (usually) and relatively sedentary. Beetles (Coleoptera) were some of the first pollinators, having evolved with early flowering plants long before bees appeared.
December 5, 2020

Why Plant Winterberry Holly?

Winterberry Holly is a great native shrub that gets well deserved landscape attention because of its gorgeous heavy red fruit set during (guess?) – winter! Aside from being ornamentally attractive, it’s also a great plant for wildlife that live in your yard. Winterberry is used by wildlife for food and protection (especially birds) and is a pollinator powerhouse for small insects for a brief intense period during flowering.
October 31, 2020
Fall leaves on the ground

Leave the Leaves

It’s fall and the leaves are decaying from their rainbow of reds, yellow, and oranges, and of course falling. But should you leave the leaves on the ground? The simple answer is yes, you should in most places. We’ll cover why to leave the leaves and recommendations for what fall clean-up should still include.
October 21, 2020
This Pumpkin Spider's eyes are pointed down to her web while waiting for prey in her retreat.

Secretive Pumpkin Spiders

For those of you who are afraid of spiders, realize that she is more likely to see you first and go hide in her silken retreat! She’s a beautiful spider by any of her names – Pumpkin Spider, Marbled Orbweaver or Araneus marmoreus.
September 13, 2020
Does this Scudderia Katydid nymph realize it's not camouflaged in this daylily?

Katydids – Seen Rarely, Heard Nightly

Katydids are rarely seen, even though they’re part of the mesmerizing chorus of insects we hear every summer night. It’s late summer. As the sun sets, the chorus of insects begins and continues throughout the night so intensely that I can hear it through closed windows.
August 19, 2020
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails nectar on Joe-Pye Weed that can be found in woodlands or on edges. This is under a Tulip Popular that is a larva host plant.

Watching Swallowtail Butterflies

The whimsical flutter of swallowtails over a field of flowers is magical and soothing. During this pandemic summer, I am enjoying watching swallowtail butterflies. ... Swallowtails are the large butterflies of summer no matter where you live in the US.
July 28, 2020
Purple Coneflowers in full flower and bud.

The Popular Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) deserves its status as one of the most popular mainstream native wildflowers for gardens. For starters, it produces beautiful garden worthy flowers, even in its wild species form. It’s planted extensively inside and outside its native range, is represented by over 100 cultivars and hybrids in the trade, and is farmed and sold as one of the top herbal medicines. But it’s also great for wildlife as the flowers attract a diversity of pollinating insects and seeds attract birds.
July 9, 2020

The Dainty but Ferocious Damselfly

The very name Damselfly creates a docile image of these small insects that live in and around our pond. But this is no damsel in distress.