Our St. Paul Front Yard August 3, 2005

I decided that every once in a while I should write a blog entry about our yard in St. Paul – so here’s one for the beginning of August. The hot weather has been good for the prairie plants and butterflies in the front yard. All the photos were taken in the last week.
This is a picture of the front garden – it’s pretty overgrown but I’ve been clearing the path so I can at least walk through it. Most of the plants are native to the area, and I’ve grown about half of them from seeds that I collected. (Mike loves it because we don’t have to mow anything.)

I have one small area where I plant herbs and a few cherry tomato plants. The main herbs are dill, parsley and fennel – for the butterflies, not for me. Black Swallowtail caterpillars eat plants in this family, and they seem to especially love dill and fennel. I hadn’t seen Black Swallowtail caterpillars all summer, but last week I noticed that in my tiny patch of dill – less than a foot square – there were at least 8 caterpillars, all different ages (and instars).

Black Swallowtail

One of the older caterpillars – almost ready to make a chrysalis.

There’s plenty of milkweed – both Common Milkweed and Swamp Milkweed for the monarchs.

Swamp Milkweed

This is an old, tattered Monarch that’s been defending the whole yard from invaders for about a week – he’s been chasing other butterflies, bees, wasps and even people.

Here’s a juvenal White-faced Meadowhawk.

And my Snowberry bush in bloom.

This is one of my favorite natives – Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis). It’s endangered in Wisconsin, and although is reported to grow in the wild in Minnesota, there are no specimens in the herbarium. It grows very well in my yard and I find volunteers in other parts of the garden.

I have a big patch of Grass-leaved Goldenrod that has goldenrod soldier beetles crawling over it.

Here’s what I think is a Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) on some Butterfly Weed.

This is a beautiful metallic blue wasp (unidentified) on Mountain Mint.

And a Red Admiral on the Purple Coneflower – the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) isn’t native to this area, but it’s a great butterfly flower.

I also have Yellow Coneflower, which is native.

Today I saw a Silver Spotted Skipper.

And an American Painted Lady.

Earlier in the year I found American Painted Lady caterpillars on Field Pussytoes. Lots of people have Pussytoes in their lawns – I often see the plants with the little webs that the American Lady caterpillars make on the ends of the stalks.

This shows the under side of the wings of the American Painted Lady.

And here’s a spectacular Tiger Swallowtail on the Ironweed.

I’ve also seen lots of Cabbage Whites, some Blues, an Orange Sulphur, and a few Clearwing Hummingbird Moths, but they’re less interested in having their photos taken.