I'm behind on posting but still wanted to put up these photos I took 10 days ago. Our back pasture was filled with thistles covered with many swallowtails (giant, spicebush, tiger), fritillaries and other butterflies. Talk about a butterfly garden!
The spicebush swallowtail is our most often seen butterfly, probably because we have a lot of spice bush, its host plant, in the woods.
These butterflies are also quite common maybe because their host tree, yellow or tulip poplar, is in abundance.
Great Spangled Frittilary
I believe the thistle is a bull thistle, an alien plant.
Orchard Mason Bee
Bees also love the thistle. I saw bumble bees, orchard mason bees, and many smaller bees but no honey bees.
Thistles are not a flower I would want around my house because of the thorns. But I don't have a problem with letting them grow in the pasture for the insects.