If you are interested in plants and you get the opportunity, visit the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Dallas, Texas. I visited last weekend and it was gorgeous.
It was also a great opportunity to study insects as well as plants.
Take this painted lady butterfly. It is feeding on the nectar from a zinnia. Butterflies are attracted to flowers with a wide, flat place to perch.
This butterfly is sitting on the petals of a coreopsis or tickseed flower in a similar way.
Do you recognize it? It is a variegated fritillary. The larvae feed on passion flowers and also purslane, both of which were growing in the gardens.
Having a diverse collection of plants increases the likelihood a butterfly will find the right ones to complete its life cycle.
Here a duskywing skipper is resting on a columbine leaf. If this is a wild indigo duskywing, it's larvae feed on wild indigo and lupines. Lupines were growing in the rock garden nearby.
The plants do not need to be unusual. Even common ornamentals like this old-fashioned rose can support insects.
We found this honey bee in the children's gardens, gathering nectar from a cilantro plant that had been allowed to flower. Growing herbs is a good way to support pollinators.
From the plant's perspective, a diversity of local pollinators like this flower fly can also ensure that a plant is properly pollinated.
Plants and insects go together, so growing a variety of plants in a garden is win-win.
Have you ever been to the Dallas Arboretum?