Forum Posts

Kimberly Simmen
Aug 24, 2022
In Native Host Plants
My absolute favorite butterfly! What's your favorite butterfly? I found these on Ptelea trifoliata - Hop Tree. A fantastic, small understory tree growing 15-20'. Great for dry shade or moist shade. Flowers in June are a must for early native pollinators. Pictures: KMS Native Plants LLC
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail! content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Alternatives to Invasives
This beautiful native vine is a great substitute for the invasive Lonicera japonica - Japanese Honeysuckle. Our native honeysuckle is a hummingbird magnet and a host plant for the Snowberry Clearwing Moth. Best flowering in full sun but it will take partial shade and average, well drained soil. It needs a little help to get started climbing but once it gets established it will take off. Full Bloom Flower bud Snowberry Clearwing Moth Caterpillar munching on its host plant Lonicera sempervirens
Lonicera sempervirens - Coral Honeysuckle content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly on Echinaca purpurea 'Cheyenne Spirit' - Coneflower Cultivar
Pipevine Swallowtail content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Host Plants
A quick video of a Black Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on its native host plant, Zizia aurea - Golden Alexander. It's amazing how fast they eat.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
So excited to get this video of a Carpenter Bee nectar robbing Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' - Beardtongue Cultivar. Nectar robbing is when a bee (usually Carpenter Bees but also ants, birds and moths) drills a hole in the corolla of the flower thus bypassing the reproductive organs of a flower to steal the nectar. Some say this leads to less seed production. Others say this increases seed production because bees that do go in the flower need to visit more flowers in order to get more nectar since the supply is diminished by the robber. Something to think about.
Nectar Robbing content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
All Hairstreaks will move their hind wings up and down when perched. If you notice, the tails on the hind wings look like eyespots. This 'false head' is believed to attract potential predator's to this part of the body. If attacked, this part of the wings may be torn away to escape. The plant in the video is Asclepias incarnata ssp pulchra - Showy Swamp Milkweed.
The Red-banded Hairstreak content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Critters!
Caught these two Carpenter Bees mating in the Native Plant Pickup Yard.
Carpenter Bees Mating content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Critters!
Monarch Butterflies Mating content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
Good Look at the Tongue of the Bumble Bee content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
This beautiful Red-banded Sand Wasp is an amazing pollinator. It is also a predator and found a tasty Tomato Hornworm (which will turn into beautiful Hawk Moth) for her offspring. She will drag this into her burrow and lay an egg on the paralyzed caterpillar. When the egg hatches, it will consume the paralyzed caterpillar and mature into the adult form by the time it is finished. A good look at the powerful mandibles (jaw) of the Red-banded Wasp on Monarda punctata - Spotted Horsemint. Red-banded wasp on Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower.
Red-banded Sand Wasp in Action content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
I still can't believe I caught this on video. I was about to throw out these old bamboo stakes and this little bee came in with her freshly cut leaf. Needless to say, they are now a permanent ficture on this patio table.
Leaf Cutter Bee content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
This female bumble bee is having a grand time pollinating this Prairie Rose.
Happy Bumble Bee and Rosa virginiana - Prairie Rose content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 08, 2022
In Native Pollinators
The Great Black Wasp with pollinator magnet Monarda punctata - Spotted Horsemint
The Great Black Wasp Video content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Dec 30, 2021
In Native Plant Forum
Winter is a great time for planning your native garden for the upcoming season. If you have questions, please ask. Wild Cherry and Eastern White Pine
Planning the Garden in Winter content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Dec 30, 2021
In Native Critters!
The firefly that doesn't light up and is active during the day. I was eating an apple when I found this one and it was very happy that I shared a piece with it.
Winter Firefly content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Dec 30, 2021
In Native Host Plants
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar on one of it's host plant, Ptelea trifoliata (Hop Tree or Wafer Ash). Native to Long Island, this underutilized shrub should be in everyone's yard even if it's just to get these adorable caterpillars. The greenish yellow flowers in June are covered with pollinators. Flowers are followed by showy 'wafers' that hold the seed. Growing 15-20' tall in full sun to full shade in dy to wet soil, it fits almost everywhere. Wafer Ash is also the host plant for Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail and several moths.
Wafer Ash for Swallowtails content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 23, 2021
In Native Pollinators
Leafcutter Bee on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Sachem Skipper and a Hover Fly on Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) Four-Toothed Mason Wasp on Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice' (Ruby Spice Sweet Pepperbush) Monarch on Conoclinium coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum) Common Hover Fly on Diervilla lonicera (Bush Honeysuckle) Blue Winged Wasp on Clethra alnifolia 'Summer Sparkler' (Summer Sparkler Sweet Pepperbush) Scollid Wasp and Sand Wasp on Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Threadleaf Mountain Mint) Scollid Wasp on Erigeron pulchellus 'Lynhaven Carpet' (Robin's Plantain) Green Metallic Sweat Bee on Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower) Carpenter Bee on Asclepias incarnata ssp. pulchra (Swamp Milkweed) Sweat Bee on Ratibida pinnata (Grey-headed Coneflower) Pearl Crescent taking a break on Baptisia australis (False Indigo) Potter Wasp on Aster umbellatus (Flat-topped Aster) Carpenter Bee on Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master) Horace's Duskywing on Echinacea purpurea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Coneflower) Cuckoo Sweat Bee on Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) Eastern Tailed Blue (female) taking a break on Luzula acuminata (Hairy Woodrush) Carpenter bees on Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Mydas Fly on Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Threadleaf Mountain Mint) Gray Hairstreak on Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (Yarrow) Bumble bee on Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite' (Aromatic Aster) Wedge-shaped Beetles on Pycnanthemum curvipes (Stone Mountain Mint) Great Golden Digger Wasp on Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Threadleaf Mountain Mint) Banded Longhorn Beetle on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Thread-waisted Sand Wasp on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Sachem Skipper on Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) Plasterer Bee. These are usually the first pollinators of the season in mid to late March Silver Spotted Skipper taking a break on Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset) Eastern Bumble Bee on Chelone glabra (White Turtlehead) Longhorn Flower Beetle on a not native rose (Knockout) Common Thread-waisted Wasps mating on Pycnanthemum muticum (Blunt Mountain Mint) Zabulon Skipper resting on Ratibida pinnata (Gray-headed Coneflower) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on not native Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' (Slender Deutzia) Noble Scollid Wasp on Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Threadleaf Mountain Mint) with a Tumbling Flower Beetle (the small black insect in pic) Bumble Bee fighting its way into Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia) All photos are property of:
Pollinators! content media
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Kimberly Simmen
Jan 04, 2021
In Native Plant Forum
I'll start with my favorite native sedge, Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge or Oak Sedge) It's native to Long Island and is found in partial shade to full shaded locations in dry to moist soil. Grows 6-12" tall. Mix with native Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern), Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower), Iris cristata (Dwarf crested Iris and another of my all time fave natives), Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold) and Heuchera americana 'Dale's Strain' (Foamy Bells). The dried foliage is used by birds as nesting material. Oak Sedge makes a great substitute for Asian Liriope muscari (Monkey Grass) and Ophiopogon japonicas (Dwarf lily turf). My favorite native perennial is Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Threadleaf Mountain Mint). It's native to Long Island and is found in dry to moist soils in full sun to partial shade. Native pollinators cover this fantastic nectar source with its tiny white flowers and purple specks from late June through September. The fine textured foliage ranges from 20-30" tall and mixes well with other native perennials like Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Solidago species (Goldenrod), Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower) and Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot). Makes a great container plant and a fantastic cut flower.
What's Your Favorite Native Plant! content media
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Kimberly Simmen

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