The Butterfly Garden. Winged Enchantment.
The Beauty of Butterflies
How to Plan a Butterfly Garden
Butterflies are some of the most beautiful creatures of the natural world. They will come to you if you plant the flowers they love. Warmer parts of the world are blessed with more varieties but even temperate Northern Gardens can attract many visitors with a little judicious planting.
There are four stages in a butterfly's life and you should aim to cater for them all. The butterfly will look for the food plant for its caterpillars on which to lay its eggs. This plant need not be the same one that the butterfly needs to have nectar to drink. Whereas Hummingbirds like flowers with long tubes to drink from with their narrow beak, butterflies like fluffy flowers with lots of pollen and nectar.
The Butterflies native to a particular zone varies the length and breadth of the USA. The North American Butterfly Association has produced leaflets that list the Caterpillar food plants and the Butterfly nectar plants that are associated with each zone. this is their website http://www.naba.org/pubs/bgh.html
It is pretty safe to say that nearly all butterflies love Butterfly Bush or Buddlia and Ice Plant. My garden has a hedge of Japanese Honeysuckle which attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds. Marigolds and Rudbeckia are a safe bet too. Dahlias are much enjoyed .The Lavender bushes in my garden are always eagerly visited. My neighbour's garden has wonderful crimson Bergamot which is also a favourite. Less agreeable is the visit of the Cabbage White butterfly to your vegetable plot. All gardeners know the sad results. By and large this is the only downside. The majestic Monarch butterfly likes the Swan Plant or Milk weed, I have written about raising the Butterfly from tiny eggs to fully fledged butterfly, do check it out. sadly,of late, farmers have been spraying to eliminate the milkweed with dire results for the poor Monarch butterfly. Milkweed is quite pretty in the garden and well worth growing, especially if you have children to watch the miracles unfolding. care must be taken as milkweed in itself is poisonous. the caterpillars eat the poisonous plant and become poisonous themselves. The bright black and yellow stripes warn off hungry birds.
Make sure you have plenty of all weather seating so that you can enjoy the peace of watching the beautiful creatures feeding and flying from plant to plant. In Wales my garden has a mature wild Lilac bush that is actually noisy with the buzzing of the bees and is full of Butterflies too. I wrote a poem about it in my hub on the stone cottage in the Preseli hills.
If you are lucky enough to watch the whole life span of a butterfly it is both amazing and educational. The Butterfly Garden is a place of Tranquility and wonder. Enjoy!