I finally got around to clearing all of the dead poppies out of my garden today. While I love the way they look bundled together in a vase, I'm wondering if I maybe should have left them where they were. Closer inspection revealed masses of ladybugs in various stages of development all over them. There were some still in the larval stage (see that little guy on the stem just below the head in the picture below?)...
and some emerging from their pupae (blurry orange thing below). I guess all that ladybug love I've been witnessing in the garden is paying off,
But now I've gone and pulled out all the poppies that were so attractive to them. I knew it was important to leave dead plants in the garden over winter for the ladybugs to nest in (I even have a ladybug house attached to the fence), but I never even thought about the reproductive stages. I guess I'll be leaving the stems and heads outside until everyone's finished doing their thing.
I hope this means that my aphid population will be significantly lower next year, with this huge army of carnivores on my side!