Sunday, August 17, 2008

Backyard Biodiversity at 7pm

If you want biodiversity in your backyard, plant a Eupatorium. This one happens to be boneset, perhaps the most magical of all Eupatoriums in its allure for pollinators. The progression in my backyard begins with JoePyeWeed, shifts to boneset and mistflower, then finishes off with Late-Flowering Thoroughwort. All of these have tiny, shallow flowers that appeal to an unusual range of insects.

Boneset rewards anyone willing to stand still long enough to watch at close range the comings and goings at this five foot high fast food joint. There's the usual honey bees and bumblebees hanging out, but then what are all these other creatures in wild outfits? A wasp with blue iridescent wings and brown abdomen. Another wasp with an improbably thin waist. And then another bug of mysterious identity, a couple kinds of moths, and a ladybug cruising up and down the stems in search of a meal.

I have no names for most of these, only a sense of wonder at all the varied life that meets for dinner on a boneset, at 7pm on a Sunday evening.


  1. Great post Steve; I'm looking forward to getting a garden of my own so I can seek out your advice for what to plant. Here in Warren, VT there are some fine wild flowers around which I'll get out there to ID. Thanks for the walk the other day.

  2. I came upon your blog in the midst of insomniac googling and was really delighted to see your boneset postings. I live in Maryland, just outside DC, and although my garden is full of native goodies, nothing draws those pollinators like my boneset plants. I've been tempted to catalogue them but haven't taken the time.