What bugs like

August is the time of year where birdsong disappears and bugsong comes on strong.  In honor of this insect-filled season, here are some of the bug favorites in the garden:

Spotted Joe Pye weed?

Joe Pye weed always seems to have a lot of flying visitors when it blooms. This isn’t the big sweet Joe Pye (Eupatoriadelphus purpureus) in the side yard, though, but a brand new plant by the pond that I don’t remember ever planting. The purple stems make me think this is spotted Joe Pye (Eupatoriadelphus maculatus).

Fennel in bloom

Another plant I never planted is the 6′ tall fennel up by the house.  There’s a cloud of tiny insects around it this time of year.  I don’t blame them – I’m always snacking on the foliage, and the seeds are delicious come fall.

Purple coneflower

The purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are being visited quite a lot as well. One of the few birds making themselves known this time of year are the goldfinches, and they’re definitely keeping an eye on the progress of the seeds here.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Firstly, I now have Toni Basel’s “I Know What Boys Like” stuck in my head, and it really doesn’t belong in there! I love Joe Pye wee and fennel is also good eatin’ for butterfly caterpillars. Noogie!


  2. Posted by lakechicagoshores on August 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    OK, now I have that song going through my head, along with images of dancing bugs! 😀


  3. I had JPW for about a season. In one season it grew to about 6 feet tall and about that wide, from seeds. Having a small garden I had to get rid of it but wish I had the room for it.

    Nice list.


    • Posted by lakechicagoshores on August 12, 2009 at 9:52 am

      The spotted Joe Pye near the pond is a wee little thing, only about 2 feet tall. The sweet Joe Pye in the side yard is as big as the stuff you grew, but since very little grows there (15 feet between houses with a huge magnolia growing in the middle – it’s so dark!) I let it be.


  4. Yep, I have the song in my head now too! It’s amazing the bugs all over the Joe Pye weed here. Last weekend there was a house wren all over the coneflowers eating the seeds. It was probably more than one of them – it/they was/were there for hours.

    It’s also amazing how many bugs are in our little veggie bed especially inside the squash blossoms. It’s not unusual for one blossom to have 3-6 different kinds of pollinators and friends inside a blossom at a time. The blossoms are very fragrant but I check first before sniffing them so I don’t get a bee up my nose!


    • Posted by lakechicagoshores on August 15, 2009 at 11:49 am

      I haven’t seen any birds on the coneflowers yet, but the goldfinches are swooping around quite a bit. Rather like the robins with the serviceberry, they must be checking for the perfect amount of ripeness before swooping in and eating.

      Sounds like the squash blossoms are a whole community! I’m going to have to find one so I can peek inside….


  5. […] Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) […]


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