My bird and butterfly garden is looking so beautiful right now! (Wish I could show you a couple pictures, but my partner is away with the camera). It looks like one of those lush, floriferous cottage gardens you see in pictures. It is two 20' by 3' strips with a path down the middle, leading to an arch, which leads to the wild hillside part of the yard.
Blooming in it right now are trumpet honeysuckle on the arch, anise hyssop, black eyed susans, purple perennial salvia, red annual salvia, lots of gayfeather, bee balm, obedient plant, whorled and regular milkweed, tansy, iron weed, joe pye weed, purple sedum, velvetleaf, alyssum, broom corn ... Everything is big and flowering madly with all the rain we've had. And it has a finch feeder and a humming bird feeder on shepherd's hooks stuck in with the flowers, so it has brilliant goldfinches and hummingbirds darting in and out.
The ironweed is amazing, so tall and such an intense saturated purple color and swarming with life. I don't usually see it on the list of things to attract beneficial insects, but clearly it is - another one of those things with nectar in tiny florets. It had more honeybees working it than I have seen all season (completely ignoring the anise hyssop, which usually they like), a couple sizes of bumblebees, a bunch of little things that I think were hover flies (hard to ID, since they never hold still). And a weird creature that I will try to identify.
I'm back having found my insect, this guy:
https://www.uark.edu/ua/arthmuse/images/ ... lmothb.jpg
Ailanthus webworm moth:
In their native habitats of Central and South America, Ailanthus webworm caterpillars build communal webs in native trees of the family Simaroubaceae. The species has spread north through much of the United States, where its caterpillars utilize primarily an introduced simaroub, Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima. Tree of Heaven is native to North China. It was planted extensively in Europe in the 1700s and soon made its way to North America, where it is now naturalized along fences, roads, and in waste places. The colorful adult Ailanthus webworm moths are pollinators, often seen visiting flowers of many different species during daytime.
I do have tree of heaven on my property, though I'm gradually trying to get rid of it. My specimen of this moth was almost an inch long, brilliantly colored, almost looked shiny where the sun hit it. Because it keeps its wings so tight to its body and rolled in, it looked more like a caterpillar at first, until I looked closely and saw that they were wings and it had legs.
Interesting that a south American moth has learned to utilize a Chinese tree! I guess it worked because the Chinese tree is in the same family as the South American native tree they evolved with. When I saw it, it was doing the pollinator thing, visiting the ironweed flowers.