Start A Butterfly Garden!
There are several types of summersweet shrubs, the one I have is native to USA, but there are many others that are native to Korea, China, and Japan. In area that got partial sun from neighbor trees I have rhododendrons. I noticed that imported species do not do well in this climate. I bought rhodos that were native to Caucasus and Central Asia, but they failed to get established. I got other traditional catawba types and they do well. In April I will post picture of them, I have variety colors of them from pink white to dark red. I also had yellow blooming rhododendron, but it looks stressed and diseased. So if it dies this winter, I will replace it.
We have some beautiful rhodes here. Any winter damage (last year, a lot of them were damaged by the heavy snows) can be pruned. During winter, if your bush doesn't have shelter, you can cover it with burlap, or there may be a modern material available at the hardware store.
These are only 2nd year bushes, from this spring. If you are in the northeast, you should be able to grow some nice bushes.
Talesin, what a beautiful island of Rhodies! I love the way they contrast with the green lawn.
I miss seeing the blue jays and robins that were always around the house when I lived in the U.S.
The rhodies that grow natural here only occur deep in the mountains. They seem to be a species that thrive in cold climates.
Kaik, looking forward to the pictures this spring!
Rhododendron grow well under tree canopy and filtered sunlight. They grow well in Czech Republic. The castle garden on skirt Prague is UNESCO heritage site and had one the most beautiful rhodos I seen in my life:
Last summer I went to mountains there too cool off during the European heatwave and I was surprised to see rhodos growing in higher elevation there. Some of them must be over 100 years old considering the size of them. I heard Smoky mountains in GA/TN have many beautiful areas with wild rhododendrons.
Theses are teasels which the which the Red Admirals and, as you can see, the Goldfinches love. They have purple flowers before they go to seed as in the picture. They're architectural for the winter as well.
These Astrantias are similar to mine. They come in many colours from white, to pink to red and the butterflies love them.
I love the idea of a butterfly garden. Flying flowers, those pretty things are!
Another good crop to grow is plain old sunflowers. Even if they don't turn out well enough for you to bother, the birds will be happy. They seem to do well even in crappy soil.
Nice pics Xanthippe and Kaik! Now I'm really restless waiting for spring to come!
Fadetoblack, sunflowers are lovely. They are also a host plant for the Painted Lady (picture below), which is a common butterfly throughout the northern hemisphere.
Echinacea, or 'bee balm' is a hardy flower that monarchs love! Here's a pic of the flowers. I know, right? Those are quite common, and I didn't realize for a while that they were 'echinacea'. : ))
[Edit: Bonsai, just saw your pic, and this is often mistaken for the Monarch due to the similar colours, but markings are distinct.
FTB - sunflowers are so awesome, and so many varieties, depending on your location. You're so right, their seeds are the favorite food of songbirds (at least here, in the North East). : D]
From the Community Garden at our local hospital (late in the season, there weren't many left). The close-up shows the centre, which is all seeds, for anyone who is not familiar with them. The seeds are prized by our feathered friends! : D
Bonsai, me, too! It will be at least April before the crocuses poke their brave little shoots and flowers up. Winter has its beauty, but oh, I do love flowers, and butterflies and moths. I paint them, actually. It's one thing that is so beautiful to me, since I was a child.
I once saw a leaf butterfly that just emerged from its cocoon. I was sitting in the back yard, reading. I watched while it slowly waved its wings, and sat, drying them. Eventually, it flew off, I would guess in search of some nectar to start its life journey. So amazing to see. xx tal