One of my favorite things about living in Florida is the wide variety of plant life and vibrant colored flowers. They range from muted natural colors, to pastels, to rich bright colors. Some allow you to enjoy their beauty for days and some only give you a glimpse for a few hours. Even better is the feast for the eyes just about everywhere you go. You can find wildflowers lining the highways, tropical plants carefully landscaped in neighbors yards and flower gardens circling trees and bordering houses. For the most part you can find some beauty at all times of the year, but the best time is the spring. Everyone gets the fever to plant their gardens and freshen up their landscaping. The outdoors comes alive with color and wildlife.
With all these flowers comes the array of insects they host. Some are good neighbor hosts and some are not. Bees and butterflies dance about all the blooms. Lady bugs feast upon the pests safely and without the need for pesticides. Dragon flies fill the air snagging gnats, mosquitoes and flies from the sky above. Beetles burrow about the ground, and even spiders find the branches an opportunity for easy feasting. Such an array of life and color dancing in harmony all found in one small garden.
I love spring because it means the return of butterflies. Of course you can see a few species of butterflies anytime of year, but spring brings about the variety. I personally have begun planting host plants along with preferred nectar plants to attract and multiply my yards population. We started with Monarchs and introduced painted ladies and swallow tails last year. We hope to host the zebra butterfly this year. A host plant is the plant in which they lay their larvae and later attach their chrysalis on before they become a butterfly. It’s an amazing delicate process of life in two very different stages.
(NOTE: Images above can be viewed larger in the photo gallery.)
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