Certification includes gardening without chemicals, planting native plants and conserving water. A yard that provides food, water and areas of cover for wildlife is essential.
Our Butterfly Bush is not native and is listed as invasive by "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas". I am having a little trouble removing this beauty due to the many visitors this summer.
Tiger Swallowtail. Butterflies enjoy the nectar of this bush, but don't lay their eggs here. This year we planted 3 Pawpaw trees, which are native. Pawpaws also provide the only foliage that Zebra Swallowtail butterfly's larvae eat.
Praying Mantis on Butterfly Bush. The Praying Mantis feeds primarily on other insects, using their camouflage to blend in. If an insect, or a small reptile is in striking distance, the Mantis uses its pincer-like front legs to catch and devour the victim.
Praying Mantis have also been known to catch small birds. Yikes! Warning to our yard Hummers!
Female Praying Mantis are perhaps best known for sexual cannibalism of their mate.
Praying Mantis are not endangered, but they are threatened by habitat destruction, so we are quite pleased he enjoys hanging out in our habitat.
Red Spotted Purple. The red spots are under his wings. These butterflies enjoy rotting fruit, sap and carrion. Apparently it found one of those in our front yard mulch.
Male cardinal on one of the branches of an oak tree that fell in our back yard last winter. We decided to leave the tree as is and the birds are feasting on insects the decaying tree attracts.
So what's up next for our little habitat?
One of our favorite places in the world, The Adkins Arboretum , is having their annual native plant sale in early September!
And... I am hoping that Cute Husband remembers our 38th month anniversary next month and presents me with this cool bat box....!