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).