The Bee Fly, or Bombylius, is a frequent visitor to the Urquhart Butterfly Garden. Mark Williams created this stunning feature all about this fascinating insect. Thank you to Mark for sharing this delightful video with us!
Bombylius (commonly named the large bee-fly or the dark-edged bee-fly) is a parasitic bee mimic fly. The fly derives its name from its close resemblance to bumblebees and are often mistaken for them. It exhibits a unique flight behavior known as “yawing” and plays a role in general pollination, without preference of flower types. The fly does not bite, sting, or spread disease. However, the fly uses this mimicry of bumblebees to its own advantage, allowing close access to host solitary bee and wasp nests in order to deposit its eggs. After hatching, the larvae find their way into the nests to parasitically feed on the grubs.
Mark Williams, a frequent visitor to the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, created this beautiful video from his observations at the garden this year and last. It showcases some of the great diversity of insects and plants you may find as you wander through the paths. Thank you to Mark for creating this delightful video of life at the garden.
The Urquhart Butterfly Garden website is off to a really late start this year, however we hope to make up for lost time with more postings and more photos than ever.
Unfortunately we are unable to hold our usual Summer Series due to COVID-19, but we do hope to hold a modified Photo Contest – watch this website for further information.
We have been gardening since early April, getting the garden ready, pruning, separating perennials, removing invasive species and generally cleaning up.
We usually grow many of our annuals from nursery stock, but last year a decision was made to ask two local organic growers to grow plants from seed. We also overwintered the Lantana and some of the Salvia Black and Blue. The Lantana was planted at the UBG on June 5 and should be successful, but the Salvia did not fare so well. This all means that many of our plants will not flower until later in the season.
We hope to see you at the Garden, and please share your photos with us!
A Free Workshop on Saturday August 17, 11 am
Brenda Van Ryswyk is an expert on dragonflies, and she is coming back this year
by popular demand!
Photo by Michelle Sharp UBG August 2019
Dragonflies have lived on earth for 300 Million years, and during this time have
honed their extraordinary skills, which include being able to see in all directions at
the same time, and the ability to hover like a helicopter.
Dragonflies and Damselflies are fascinating to watch, with their extraordinary
displays of speed and agility in the air, and some species can fly for many
thousands of miles. However, don't be deceived by their agility and beauty,
because they are also very powerful hunters, and gobble up scores of smaller
insects as they zip through the air.
This free workshop on August 17 th at 11 am is suitable for young and old.
– Please bring a chair
– The workshop will be cancelled in the event of rain
– Lots of free parking and on a bus route
The Summer Series 2019 is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton
Joanna Chapman, Coordinator, Urquhart Butterfly Garden,
Guided Butterfly & Moth Identification Walk
& Plant Sale
Saturday August 10, 11am
Accomplished Naturalist Matt Mills, will be pointing out all the interesting
butterflies and day-flying moths, that can be seen at this time of year. Matt’s guided
interpretive walk will be on Saturday August 10th at 11 am.
“The Urquhart Butterfly Garden changes from day to day, and with the changes
come different butterflies seeking their host or nectar plants” Matt said recently
when chatting, and he pointed out that the Buddleia is now in flower which attracts
many nectar seekers.When choosing nectar plants it is important to be selective, because some flowers look terrific but do not provide the nectar that butterflies are seeking.
This is especially true of hybridized and treated plants. Matt grows many native
plants from seed which he has carefully collected and all are ‘butterfly friendly’.
Following the Workshop there will be a ‘cash only’ plant sale.
The guided walk takes about an hour. It is recommended that you bring a chair, and
wear a hat. The event is cancelled if it rains.
The Summer Series is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community
We are off to a late start this year! However, on one of the few really nice warm days, about two weeks ago, there were lots of American Ladies laying eggs on Pearly Everlasting, a couple of Painted Ladies on Thistle, and Red Admirals egg laying on Stinging Nettles. With all this rain, it seems unlikely for the eggs to have survived, certainly there are no signs of caterpillars, yet.
You may have noticed a new person working at the Urquhart butterfly Garden, her name is Alicia (Ali). She comes with great training in gardening and permi-culture, and will be taking on a lot of work for the garden this year. Alicia will be keeping the daily records up to date and posting photos among many other things.
Let’s hope for sunnier days and lots of butterflies.
Take a look at our two newly posted photos by Michelle Sharp, taken this past winter in the garden.
You cannot have Monarch Butterflies without milkweed. Doreen Nicoll has recently become a heroine for monarch butterflies, by insisting on her rights to grow milkweed in her naturalized garden in Burlington.
Doreen Nicoll has long understood that to garden with nature and not against her is the best thing for our planet. She also knows that native plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees of all species.
Monarch caterpillar photo by Michelle Sharp
Doreen will be the first presenter in the Summer Series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and her topic will be Monarchs and Their Milkweed and naturalized gardening. She has a wealth of information and is fun as well!
The session will begin at 11 am Saturday on August 4 and last approximately one hour. Please bring a chair.
If it rains the session will be cancelled.
For more information about the Urquhart Butterfly Garden please visit urquhartbutterfly.com.
The Summer Series is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation.