My Butterfly Garden - An Experience and Love for Butterflies

A beautiful butterfly visitor to my garden.  They love the zinnias! See more photos below.
A beautiful butterfly visitor to my garden. They love the zinnias! See more photos below. | Source

My Butterfly Garden in the Midwest USA

About 9 years ago, my family and I moved to the Midwest USA. We now had a whole new area to explore and grow into, etc. One of the first things my younger son and I did at the time, was to go to a Butterfly House, which is a butterfly conservatory. It sounded nice, and I took my camera. I had no idea HOW much I would come to love this place. I bought a membership there, and when I saw my digital pictures, I was floored all over again at how beautiful the butterflies were from around the world.

One time, on our way out, we noticed an outdoor display garden that included local flowers and host plants for butterflies at all stages of their development. This was just the beginning of my learning experience with butterflies. The ideas began to flow about starting my own butterfly garden.

As beautiful as butterflies are, I learned a lot more about them, like the fact they make great pollinators. To me, butterflies are like flying flowers :) They bring a peacefulness and joy and I have to refrain from getting out my camera all the time!

I picked up some literature from the book store and pamphlets they had there for my beginning ideas. I went also to the local conservationist habitat and got more information and was so happy they had some there as well. I began a journey on finding out what a butterfly garden would look like in my area, and started dreaming and researching online. One of my favorite resources was our local botanical garden. I loved to see what they had planted there, and it takes out a lot of the guesswork. In general, keeping an eye out for what plants and flowers butterflies are spending time with in nature, is the best way to know what butterflies like. :)

The next step, was for me to dig up big chunks of grass in the backyard. It was hard work but I was excited. I never realized how much money one could spend on garden supplies, soil, plants, and tools. WOW, were my eyes opened, and I started slow. Butterflies like warmth, and need the air to be a certain degree of warmth before their bodies can even fly at all. They don't like too much wind either. Anything that is sunny, yet blocked from big gusts is best. Now, my garden provides this much needed barrier, as some of the bigger plants have matured.

Some of my very first flowers to plant were, purple cone flowers also known as echinacea, Black eyed susans, zinnias, cosmos, and one host plant in particular, swamp milkweed, which produces pretty pink flower clusters. Another flower they love, is lantana, but you have to plant that yearly in your time zone. One way to cut costs, if need be is too use seeds, and get an early start indoors. I also put some big stones into the garden. They double as stepping stones and are beautiful smooth rocks. When these get wet, the butterflies love to land on them and warm themselves and/or get moisture from them.

As they say, if you plant it, they will come. The butterflies did come to the garden. Butterflies came that first year, and you can imagine my excitement as they did. Hard work paying off feels great. I took many pictures which I hope to post soon. We have had many bumble bees and honey bees visiting as well, which makes me happy they found a source for what their needs are. I will also update my changes over the last couple years to the garden and talk about my maintenance of it. It is always a work in progress.

One of my top memories, is seeing Monarchs come through for both the flowers, But also for a place to lay their butterfly eggs on a host plant. They do this, so that when they fly away and the babies are born, the larvae immediately have food to eat. Butterflies have tiny sensors on their bodies to detect if a plant will be a suitable host plant and can tell from stopping on a plant for just a second or two. I thought this was amazing. They lay the eggs in many different areas, not in one big clump. This helps their survival rate. Depending on the predators in a given spot, they have more chance. The small caterpillars, focus solely on chomping down their favorite leaves until they can't eat anymore, and I have seen them in action! When they are full, they get busy and I see them disappear, and later, they turn into butterflies when they are done transforming in their cocoons. It is such a miraculous process and a true beauty and joy of nature to behold. It makes my heart so happy to observe it.

Some pictures from my butterfly garden :)

Smaller butterflies and moths also visit the garden. I wish I could see all that goes on at night though, as the coolest moths come out then :)
Smaller butterflies and moths also visit the garden. I wish I could see all that goes on at night though, as the coolest moths come out then :) | Source
Another visitor, to another zinnia
Another visitor, to another zinnia | Source
Another type of butterfly, sunning on the pool edge, right on border of the garden.
Another type of butterfly, sunning on the pool edge, right on border of the garden. | Source
This one, spent a lot of time on the wet dirt area, and was just beautiful to me!! Sometimes, butterflies need the salt and other things found in dirt or areas near ponds or lakes.  Often they will do something called "puddling" together. They absorb
This one, spent a lot of time on the wet dirt area, and was just beautiful to me!! Sometimes, butterflies need the salt and other things found in dirt or areas near ponds or lakes. Often they will do something called "puddling" together. They absorb | Source
This one is so tiny, but the color is so beautiful to me.
This one is so tiny, but the color is so beautiful to me. | Source
Source
Caterpillar Stage :)
Caterpillar Stage :) | Source
Source

Where I have my current butterfly garden

A markerSt. Charles, St. Charles, Missouri -
Saint Charles, St. Charles, MO, USA
[get directions]

© 2009 Paula

More by this Author


Please leave a comment, and thank you for visiting. :) 44 comments

PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 7 years ago from USA

wow great hub!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Thank you so much :)


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

I really enjoyed this hub! I am actually about to release a Monarch here. I have 20 chrysalises hanging in a large plastic empty water bottle from caterpillars I reared and the first has just hatched out. I only have a balcony but am able to grow Milkweed on it.


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

There is a butterfly garden in Wales, and I love to visit.... The colours of these butterflies are lovely. I can imagine them on gift cards


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

To Brenda, thank you so much for your kind words. I too loved the colors. I would love to visit Wales one day, and if I ever do, I will look up the butterfly garden when I am there. Thank you for your comment.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Bard, Thank you so much. How beautiful to see the miracle and transformation of life that a butterfly goes through, up close and personal! You must take some pictures, when you release your monarchs. Wow, I would love to experience that. With the milkweed, you can't go wrong. I am glad you can grow it on your balcony.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Wow. What a wonderful garden. I really wish more people had butterfly gardens. Some do and have no idea (that's always a fascinating discovery.)


k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California

I love the photos, what a beautiful garden! This is a very interesting hub. I may need a butterfly garden, also! :D


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

Beautiful pics!! I too love butterflies their color is beautiful.

dori


MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 7 years ago from Earth

Gorgeous photos. I also caught a shot of the very last butterfly photo you have. I wish there was a way to upload it to your comments to add to the butterfly pics! The first pic is spectcular, do you use macro lenses?


JonTutor profile image

JonTutor 7 years ago from USA

I have never been to a butterfly garden...would love to visit one given a chance....gr8 pictures.


Ashley Joy profile image

Ashley Joy 7 years ago

These are some beautiful pics! The midwest does not usually have the grand views that people photograph but it does have lots of small interesting things that you can enjoy shooting.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Yes Ashley, I would agree with what you say about the midwest, as I grew up in California, not far from the coast. I have been to some other places too. Thank you for your words.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Jon, Yes you need to go sometime to a butterfly garden. The only downside I have found is that they can be humid, and warm, but its not too bad. Seeing the butterflies makes up for any downside.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Mellas Views, I don't have a special macro lens, no.. It was taken on a macro setting though. That was in my back yard, on a zinnia planted from seeds, my favorite kinds :) I wish to see your butterfly pics that you mention. I will have to come see if they are on your hubs. Ocean


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

My favorite pic is the last one. What a beautiful blue color! I didn't know you could actually build a butterfly garden so thank you for this most interesting hub. Obviously it was worth all your hard work.

~Jen


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Jen, thank you so much, yes it was worth it, and I would highly recommend planting a few plants or flowers to encourage such beauty to come around. :)


awcase profile image

awcase 7 years ago

oh i love the blue colored one so beautiful. this is wonderful woohoo


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Awcase, I love the blue one too, I was so excited it stayed still long enough for me to get a picture of it :)


poetlorraine 6 years ago

such lovely pictures, thanks for this


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Beautiful pics - we created a butterfly garden for my boys to enjoy and appreciate nature - a beautiful place to be. Thanks for sharing.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Ocean, what a lovely hub and the pictures of the butterflies were superb! I wrote a hub about attracting birds to the garden and think this would be a nice link. Hope you don't mind.


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

I love butterflies and your pictures are so beautiful.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Thank you, Poetlorraine :)


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Billyaustindillon, I bet your boys love the butterfly garden you did, I think that's wonderful that you grew one. I wish I could see it!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Dolores, I don't mind at all, and thank you for stopping by and your kind words :)


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Daisyjae, thank you very much


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

What a lovely article!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Les Trois Chenes, thank you so much!


boxxies profile image

boxxies 6 years ago

Lovely to look at all those flowers and butterflies.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Boxxies, thank you so much for your comment and stopping by my hub.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

@ Phoenix, Thank you Phoenix!

@ Bard of Ely, that is so awesome about releasing a monarch. I would have loved to see that! The milkweed is great for the smallest of places, you will get results!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Phoenix, Thank you!

Bard of Ely, that is so awesome about releasing a monarch. I would have loved to see that! The milkweed is great for the smallest of places, you will get results!


6hotfingers3 profile image

6hotfingers3 5 years ago

Such a beautiful and relaxing hub. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. Great hub!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Thank you 6hotfingers for your kind words! So glad you stopped by :)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

I love your hub! I love butterflies anyway, and having a b.garden has always been my dream. Beautiful hub, really enjoyed the photos. Congratulations on hitting over 300 hubs! Very impressive. :)


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Denise, thank you so much for your very kind words! I hope one day your dream of having a butterfly garden comes true. Technically, you can start having a very small butterfly garden simply by planting one or two flowers that attract butterflies. You can even start with just zinnia seeds, which are beautiful flowers anyway for any space, but attract butterflies. So glad you stopped by, a fellow lover of butterflies! :)


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 5 years ago from Bristol England

Stunning photos, a beautiful hub


nifty@50 profile image

nifty@50 5 years ago

The beauty in nature convinces me of a creator, who has given us reason to celebrate and marvel at life around us. Great hub oceansunsets!


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

This is such an interesting hub. I enjoyed every minute of it. The photos are stunning!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I've always been fascinated with butterflies and more recently have started (trying) to photograph them. They are so elusive but I finally learned that the best thing I can do is just stand still when they are flitting about and wait for them to land in front of me. After many attempts, I've gotten a couple of pics that I was happy with. Your photos are stunning, especially the first one of the Monarch enjoying a pink zinnea. The wings look like stained glass.

I've yet to visit a butterfly conservatory but it's something I'm going to try to do. The closest I've come to the thrill of seeing so many at once was on a Hilton Head Island vacation in early fall. I walked out of my condo and past a block long path of blooming shrubs and what looked like hundreds of butterflies flew out of the shrubs simultaneously and all around me. Ah...butterfly heaven at a totally unexpected moment!!! Pure bliss.

Thanks for sharing this information with us.


mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida

As a lover of the beautiful Butterfly, I really enjoyed reading this. Your photos are splendid! Here in S. Florida we are blessed with many species. I have plants in my garden that they frequent. I took the liberty of linking this Hub to my Life Cycle of the Butterfly. Thanks.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

JayJay, thank you very much for your visit and comment! :)

Nifty, I totally hear you and agree with what you say there. The beauty in life around us points to something for sure, and can bring us such joy. :)

Mrs. J.B., thank you so much for your comment and kind words. That means a lot, thank you for stopping by.

HappyBoomerNurse, thank you for sharing your experiences there! I would have loved that moment too, pure butterfly heaven! Your visit and comment are much appreciated, thank you so much as always.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Mary, thank you so very much! I am glad to meet you and look forward to hearing more about your love of butterflies through your hubs. They are amazing creatures, I can't say enough about them. I appreciate your visit here. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working