Start A Butterfly Garden!

by Bonsai 150 Replies latest jw friends

  • Bonsai

    Time to take a break from debating religion. Take in a breath of fresh air and be healed by the wonders of nature around you.

    How many of you have a garden? How many have a nice flower patch to go with your vegetable garden? If you are like me and itching for spring, take the time now to plan out your flower bed and plant showy flowers that attract butterflies. Throw in a couple host plants and your butterflies will stay in the area and thrive.

    The last couple of decades have seen a drastic reduction in the number of butterflies in nature worldwide. Indiscriminant use of pesticides, insecticides and mowing fields and meadows has led to a serious drop in the areas where butterflies can thrive and reproduce for the next generation. They are under serious attack on all fronts. I find this such a shame. These beautiful, colorful creatures don't bite, sting or harm anyone. Most butterfly caterpillars don't even feed on vegetable crops.

    Butterflies are very important to the ecosystem. They pollinate our plants so we can get fruits and seeds. They provide enchanting colors that flit through the sky and through our yards. Their larvae are also an important food source for birds and animals.

    By sectioning off just a small garden area reserved for butterflies and their host plants/nectar plants you can help rejuvenate the butterfly population in your area.

    In my area ( Hardiness Zone 8b) i have found three particular annuals that butterflies adore. They are Zinnias, Tithonia (Tithonia rotundifolia) and Cosmos Sulphureus 'Cosmic Orange'.

    Three perennials that butterflies love are Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Brazilian Verbena (Verbena Bonariensis) and any red or purple variety of Phlox (for those with cool, short summers).

    Three shrubs that butterflies love are Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii ), Lantana (Lantana Camara) [especially the yellow and red variety] and Duranta (Duranta erecta)

    Note: Some of these plants are invasive in the tropics and sub-tropics. There are non-invasive hybrids available at home centers that are inexpensive and worth the purchase.

    I'd like to know if any of you have had any success in your area attracting butterflies to your garden over the years. If so, what flowers did you plant to attract them? In my area I enjoy almost 30 kinds of butterflies (sadly we don't have hummingbirds in this country, though).

  • cofty

    Great ideas thanks.

    Every garden can provide a little oasis for butterflies and bees. We grow a patch of wildflowers that is buzzing all summer.

  • Bonsai
    Good point Cofty. I forgot to mention bees as well. It seems that honey bees are on the decline in many countries as well. Creating a little nature oasis for them can only be good in the long run for us humans as well.
  • John Free
    John Free

    Very refreshing post! I will be sharing it with the family later, it sounds like a nice project. -on a side note one of the first things we did after leaving the Borg was buy 3pairs of walking boots, instead of being bored in KH on Sunday mornings we saw some of nature's wonders last summer.

    Again, thanks for the suggestion!

  • FindTheLost
    Here is a secret for bringing in Orioles if they are in your area...put out some grape jelly. I usually go through a quart every 2 weeks feeding those lovely creatures.
  • Bonsai
    Good idea John Free. It always seems like Sunday is a sunny day. I don't miss watching a beautiful Sunday pass away from a small window in a kingdom hall, all while being blasted from all the artificial lights in the main room.
  • Bonsai

    FindTheLost. Thanks for the idea. Let's make this thread about attracting birds and hummingbirds, too.

  • FindTheLost

    Thank you Bonsai. We all need a bit of nature to watch and enjoy. It also is a good way to share gardening ideas with spring just around the corner...sighs 3 months and counting down.

    Here is another tip:

    If you have "ant" problems, plant some peonies away from your house. Ants and peonies have a symbiotic relationship.

  • kaik

    I have snow on the ground, so I do not even know the damage I have from the winter storm. I live in subtropical climate, and I have many subtropical evergreens (gardenias, camellias, and crape myrtles). I generally did not experienced issue with snow to kill a plant, just breaking it under the weight. Sudden deep late season freeze like last year caused a loss of six well established gardenias. My first step for the start of the season generally begins with pruning that I do in February. By end of the month I usually get early spring bulbs out like crocus and muscari.

    I had issue with one flower that previous owners planted and became invasive, and on top if it causes allergies. My mom develops severe rashes from them, so I eventually had to use chemical warfare and indiscriminately sprayed herbicide to get rid of them. Otherwise I am avoiding using chemicals, because I am cancer cautious.

    I see a big problem in the environment is a loss of bees. I am thinking about building a beehive, but it is bureaucratic issue (because of mites). I even have a place where to put it on the backyard. I have on my backyard a nest of wild bumblebees and yellow jackets. My goal is to have a yard blooming from frost to frost and have bees feed on it through the year. I see sometimes wild bees sitting on my blooming flowers even at the beginning of December.

    I find crape myrtle, french hydrangea, and chaste trees attracting butterflies. I was not very successful in growing butterfly shrubs (buddleia) and over the years I lost every single of them. I also have hummingbirds but they seem to be more attracted on my neighbor backyard. My ideal garden is French Provence with wine, gardenia, hydrangea and lavender, but I also love camellias. I got some of them through catalog and so far I was very successful with them. My grandmother was vivid gardener. She lived in the warmest part of the country where she had almond and peach trees on courtyard around the well and house surrounded by vineyards. Everywhere she had marigolds, lavenders, and many to me unknown flowers. She had geraniums in the windows. My uncle had beehive there and further up was mile long orchard with apricots. However, I am hesitant to plant any fruit trees, because I do not want to attract any rats.

  • Xanthippe

    I love butterflies and I do get a lot of bees in my garden. I have a Buddleia davidii but they also seem to like aquilegia, not the fancy hybrids though. They also like astrantia, I have a white variety which is very beautiful.

    When my daughter and I went to Blarney Castle in Ireland a few years ago they had a walkway planted with teasels which were covered in red admirals. I grow it in my garden now and it also attracts goldfinches who like the seeds.

    We get a lot of peacocks, orange tips, tortoiseshells and some blues. We also get a species a bumblebee which makes burrows in the soil.

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