I have long been interested in gardening for wildlife, so Asclepias was one of the first seed packets I ordered. Unfortunately I had no luck with my haphazard scatter-the-seeds approach, so I was thrilled to finally pick some plants up--and see the results, a visiting monarch.
Not only are the multicolored blooms gorgeous, they are the host plant for monarch butterfly larvae. I hope to see some of the cool striped caterpillars, but I hope this is not a dangerous spot, as it is near the vole habitat, and I read that mice eat monarch caterpillars. A marauding neighborhood cat has taken a toll on the voles, who feast on my compost and bird seed but seem to leave the garden alone (but a sad aside, I think the cat killed a baby robin the other day).
Surprisingly, I have not seen many butterflies on the joe pye weed, but I am enjoying the tall blooms.
But it is all about the bees lately. Look at the gobs of pollen on this one (on a blazing star):
They also really dig the summersweet (Clethra). Clethra takes forever to leaf out in spring, so plant it it the back of a border, but it more than makes up for that with its fragrance, so put it where you'll enjoy it.
I hope the bees are visiting the cucumber and winter squash flowers:
Look, recovering from the squash vine borer attack just fine!
They certainly love the lavender.
I need many more small flowered perennials to attract the good guys. My plan is to fill out my beds with Agastache and yarrow, or maybe Salvia and Penstemom too, but it will have to wait until early fall, when this heat wave and drought breaks--and hopefully some nurseries will be having sales then too.