The garden has been full of honey bees, ladybugs, and other pollinators all summer. This is the first year I've seen such large butterflies. A few days ago this butterfly went to town on the marigolds. Usually as I creep outside with my camera they flit away, but not this time!
This morning, I found a butterfly and moth research website powered the Big Sky Institute at Montana State University. The site helped me to identify my butterfly by narrowing down, the state, wing coloring and markings, and wing shape. After a few minutes of clicking through images of other Maryland butterfly species, I found mine! The butterfly in my garden is a Pipevine Swallowtail and is found all across North America.
I'm not sure if it's the digging in the dirt with my (bug obsessed) son, or just the extra time in the garden, but I find myself learning something new about nature each day. There are still a few creepy-crawlies that I'll squish (stinkbugs) or swat at in an instant. But now, I inspect and research the bugs in our garden. When in doubt, I'll debate the bug's merits with my son and we decide on whether it's a good bug or a bad bug.
The Pipevine Swallowtail is certainly in the good bug category, and is an awesome pollinator. The butterfly swooped through all of the plants in the garden looking for nectar, and probably a place to lay some eggs. This butterfly spent close to 20 minutes in my garden, 10 of which were spent with me annoyingly taking pictures. Having flowers in and around my container garden certainly helped to attract the butterflies, ladybugs, bees and others up to my deck garden this year.