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This glossy Abelia, Abelia Grandiflora, is centered under the front porch, and does an excellent job of hiding the porch foundation. In mid-summer, it comes alight with thousands of small white trumpet-shaped flowers, with a peculiar, though not unpleasant fragrance. It attracts bumblebees by the hundreds! A close-up of the flowers is shown below.
The abelia is also very attractive to some butterflies; quite often, a half-dozen or more of tiger swallowtails are fluttering around the blossoms.
In the middle of October, 2000, the abelia has been in bloom for at least four weeks and is still going strong.
It's July of 2003 and the abelia is in full bloom, much to the delight of the butterflies.
Here we are in late august; the abelia is still in bloom, perfuming the garden with its honey scent, and attracting lots and lots of tiger swallowtail butterflies.
It's August 2004 and the Abelia is in full bloom, scenting the garden air and attracting hordes of bumblebees and tiger swallowtail butterflies.
One of the nice things about the abelia is that it stays in bloom for a long time. It's now more than a month later and it's still going strong! Everyone who visits immediately notices the fragrance.
After giving the abelia a severe pruning in the spring of 2006, it's grown back nicely and now, in mid-July, it's in bloom.
It's now late July and the abelia is still in full bloom and is attracting many tiger swallowtail butterflies.
Here, one is poised upside-down with its proboscis inserted deep into the flower.
Here's a good shot of the underside.
It's Sunday, the 20th of August. During a stroll through the garden, I noticed something fluttering around the abelia that wasn't a tiger swallowtail. I ran for the camera and was in time to get a few pictures of a small brown butterfly. While it wouldn't open its wings for me, from these photos I was able to identify it as a silver spotted skipper, a butterfly that I haven't seen very often in my many years in New Jersey.
The abelia also attracts many other insects. The bumblebees are a laugh -- they bumble around the bush and it's funny watching them trying to get their large heads as deep as possible into the flowers.
While shooting the photos above, I noticed a tiger swallowtail in the abelia, but this one was different, still and lifeless. As I reached in for it, I encountered a spider web and, indeed, the swallowtail was wrapped with webbing. Here's the poor thing as I found it:
And here, judging by the location of the web and its occupant, as well as the occupant's disposition, is the culprit. WARNING: if you have arachnophobia, do NOT scroll any further down this page!
Later on in the afternoon, I was outside again, camera in hand, when two more visitors came to the abelia. The first looks to be another type of skipper butterfly, though which type I don't know.
The other isn't a butterfly, but rather a moth. A very peculiar moth that thinks it's a hummingbird! It hovers in the air, it's rapidly beating wings making a humming sound, and you could mistake it for a small hummingbird if it wasn't for the antennae! As it happens, it's a hummingbird moth, though since I was unable to freeze the wings in motion (even at a shutter speed of 1/125th second), I can't really say which one it is (if I had to guess, I'd guess the clearwing variety). Here are a few photos of this very unusual visitor to the abelia.
Using a shutter speed of 1/350th second, I was able to freeze the motion of the wings. Here are a few shots. Its clearly a clearwing hummingbird moth.
Back to the tiger swallowtails ... occasionally, you see a dark-form female. Quite often, you'd be tempted to confuse it with a black swallowtail, but it's pretty easy to distinguish them from the underside of the wing. Here's a dark-form female, both from the top and from the underside. This poor butterfly has been through the wars -- wings worn and tattered -- but it's a good example of this variety nonetheless.
The beginning of July 2007 bring the start of the Abelia's bloom.
As always, the abelia attracts beautiful winged visitors. First the underside ...
... and then the upperside of a beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly.
It's the July 4th weekend 2011 and the abelia is in bloom, scenting the front porch with its honey aroma and attracting scads of bumblebees.
Here's a silver spotted skipper butterfly that was drawn to the abelia.
I was able to catch a clearwing hummingbird moth visiting the abelia as well.
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