One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.
You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.
Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.
If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.
The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.
Cornus florida ‘rubra’
*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.
Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden
Bluets, also known by the charming name Quaker Ladies
The first day of spring! It’s official although, with temperatures hovering in the twenties, its hard to believe. Close your eyes and imagine along with me pink and orange tulips, spring dresses, (stick with me here–just don’t look out your window at the still high drifts of snow) fields of bluets, sailboats in the harbor, windows open, the music of buzzing bees, shoots of new green grass, blue skies, robin bird songs, the smell of freshly tilled earth, fog horns in the distance, baby birds, misty warm April showers, the sweet scent of jonquils, bird’s nests along the meadow’s edge, the song of the Baltimore orioles returning, walking along the beach (without bundling up), friendly Red Admiral butterflies, lilacs, plum blossoms, magnolias in bloom, dogwoods in bloom, orange poppies, sweet pea tendrils, and sweet alyssum (see there, its not that hard).
Hurry Up Spring!
Tulips at The Mary Prentiss Inn
Cornus florida rubra
Blue Lilac ‘President Grevy’
Rosa rugosa and Bee
Lilacs flower in an array of beautiful hues
Bluebird Nesting Box and Bluets
At this time of year, when you pass by a field with patches of white, stop and have a closer look. The Bluet’s tiny florets are actually a dreamy azure blue; the little bunches also “quake” in the seasonal breeze! Also called Quaker Ladies, the sweet petite blossoms attract Little Carpenter bees, Green Metallic bees, small butterflies, and the Meadow Fritillary Butterfly (Boloria bellona). Both nectar and pollen are the pollinator’s floral reward!
Azure Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)
Ipswich River Canoers and Bluets at Willowdale Estate