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Butterfly Gardening
 

Butterfly Gardening

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Few things are more enchanting than a garden filled with fluttering butterflies. They bring out the delighted child in each of us as they shimmer in the sunlight. Asking very little, they give us an ...

Few things are more enchanting than a garden filled with fluttering butterflies. They bring out the delighted child in each of us as they shimmer in the sunlight. Asking very little, they give us an unsurpassed gift of symmetry, beauty, and delicacy.

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    Butterfly Gardening Butterfly Gardening Document Transcript

    • Few things are more enchanting than a E njoying their performance, we dont always realize that, if we want to have a large garden filled with fluttering butterflies. They number of adult butterflies, we bring out the delighted child in each of us as have to think about providing they shimmer in the sunlight. Asking very habitat needs for their whole life cycle. little, they give us an unsurpassed gift of symmetry, beauty, and delicacy. At the same time, we will be making a contribution to the conservation movement, as well Butterfly as bringing life and sparkling beauty to our homes. Gardening To quote Robert Pyle, “I am very concerned about what I call the extinction of experience – the loss of For more nature habitat information everyday species within our own Visit these helpful websites: radius of reach. When we lose the common wildlife in our A Plants Home immediate surroundings, we run A Birds Home the risk of becoming inured to A Homesteaders Home nature’s absence, blind to delight, and, eventually, alienated from the land." By planting a butterfly garden today, we are insuring our continued involvement with nature tomorrow. There are a variety of theories about where butterflies got their name. One of the most charming proposes that it began in England when people saw the woodlands alight with yellow brimstones and compared them to “butter flying." However they came to be named, early naturalists certainly had no idea that caterpillars and butterflies were different stages of the same© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
    • creature. For many centuries, it like so many other species, are Before you start planting was accepted that caterpillars suffering a declining population your garden, explore your yard arose from the morning dew on due to loss of habitat and the and nearby areas. What species leaves. Even with our modern increased use of insecticides do you see and which ones do knowledge, the transformation and other pollutants. you want to attract. What from caterpillar to butterfly plants do those prefer for certainly seems miraculous. While killing and mounting nectar and larval food. Do you them may have some want a garden exclusively There are many guidebooks to importance for scientific designed for butterflies, or do help you identify the different studies, the rest of us benefit you prefer to incorporate butterflies, and most will include far more by observing them in appropriate plants into an a discussion of their life cycle. the garden and collecting existing bed. Is your gardening them only through style formal or casual. How photographs. much time can you contribute Four Stages to maintenance. Briefly, there are four stages, We can identify many each very different from the varieties, even in an area as others. small as a window box, and the Ask These Questions more we learn, the more By asking yourself these s The butterfly begins as an fascinating they become. questions, you can save a lot of egg, hatching in 5 to 10 time later on. You can design a days. large garden, or you may decide 40 Million Years to start on a very small scale, s The resulting caterpillar For instance, they originated with just a few selected plants, does nothing much except about 40 million years ago, and add more each year. eat and grow, shedding its when flowering plants were skin four to six times. beginning to proliferate. Their One of the first proboscis, the long, hollow considerations when planning s In two to four weeks it will feeding tube, remains coiled up your garden is location. Choose form a pupa which, within its beneath the head when not in a sunny area, not only because chrysalis, or cocoon, takes use. most butterfly-attracting on the body of the adult. flowers grow best in full sun, but Some species prefer because the butterflies s The butterfly emerges in 10 fermenting fruit or tree sap to themselves only fly when there to 15 days and, after nectar. The female will drum is sun to keep their bodies mating, the cycle begins and scratch a leaf with her warm. again. feet to release chemicals that tell her that it is a suitable On cloudy days they may not The whole process is known as place to lay her eggs. fly at all. Often the best time to “metamorphosis," or, literally, get a photograph is when the “change of form." Bright color often warns temperature is cooler, while they predators that a butterfly are basking in the sun until they tastes bad. Learning about have warmed to flight Loss of Habitat butterflies can be a treat for temperature. As our appreciation of these the whole family. As E.O. lovely creatures grows, so does Wilson wrote, “Splendor awaits Sunny garden spots enable our realization that butterflies, in minute proportions." butterflies to feed earlier and© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
    • later in the day and to take provide nearby trees with butterflies in to lay eggs, then enough time to find suitable crevices, or create a log pile. provide food for the egg-laying spots, as well as caterpillars. decreasing the time it takes for Although we may be eggs and caterpillars to develop. attracted to the nectar- producing flowers because of Host Plants Flat rocks and evergreens their striking beauty, it is Some species will search out added to your garden will absorb important not to neglect host and accept only one or two the sun’s warmth, and plants. These are often native kinds of host plants, and in butterflies will enjoy basking on plants, and will lure female fact some caterpillars will the stones to raise their body temperature more quickly. Plants for the Butterfly Garden This list is by no means complete, but will give you a good start Water is Critical in selecting plants for your garden. Your local nurseries will be able As with all wildlife, water is to tell you which ones will do best in your area, and may offer essential. You can create a mud additional selections. Those with an asterisk (*) are especially puddle in a corner of the garden, effective in attracting butterflies. or sink a bowl in the ground and fill it with wet sand. Mud and SHRUBS: *Butterfly bush .................................... (Buddleia) sand are sources of nutrients, *Buttonbush ................................. (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and sometimes you will see a Glossy abelia ................................ (Abelia x Grandiflora bunch of male butterflies Mountain laurel Lilac ................................................. (Syringa vulgaris) congregating at mud puddle Sweet pepperbush ....................... (Clethra arborea) areas after the water has Flame azalea ................................. (Rhododendron spp.) evaporated, eating salt and Mountain laurel ............................ (Kalmia) other concentrated minerals. Honeysuckle shrub ...................... (Lonicera tatarica) Bluebeard ....................................... (Caryopteris x clandonensis) Privet ............................................... (Ligustrum) It is also helpful if the butterfly garden can be PERENNIALS: *Joe-Pye weed .............................. (Eupatorium spp.) protected from the wind. This *Purple Coneflower....................... (Echinacea purpurea) will keep the temperature higher, *Anise Hyssop .............................. (Hyssopus officinalis) and reduce the effort required *New England aster .................... (Aster spp.) to fight air currents as the *Butterfly weed ............................ (Asclepias tuberosa) *Black-eyed Susan ...................... (Rudbeckia spp.) butterflies feed. Taller flowers Coreopsis ....................................... (Coreopsis spp.) also benefit because they won’t Veronica .......................................... (Veronica spp.) be blown over, and many plants Verbena ........................................... (Verbena canadensis) will warm up and bloom at an earlier date. ANNUALS: *Lantana ........................................ (Lantana camara) *Pentas ........................................... (Pentas lanciolata) *Cosmos ......................................... (Cosmos sulphureus) Heliotrope ...................................... (Heliotrope arborescens) Protect From Wind Mexican sunflower ....................... (Tithonia rotundifolia) The wind can be broken by a Flowering tobacco ....................... (Nicotiana alata) line of shrubs, a fence, or a wall. Pincushion flower ......................... (Scabiosa atropurpurea) For those that overwinter, there French marigold ........................... (Targetes patula) Impatiens ....................................... (Impatiens wallerana) are commercial butterfly Zinnia ............................................... (Zinnia elegans) hibernation boxes, or you can© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
    • winter) will give you a full, lush Butterflies are insects and thus are at risk when you use garden with a long bloom time. insecticides. Consider putting up with some leaf-chewing, removing unwanted insects by hand, or using a homemade While butterflies don’t care spray such as crushed garlic cloves in liquid soap. about the actual design of your Crawling insects dislike both the smell of the garlic and the garden, that may be of stickiness of the soap. importance to you. Decide where you will be when starve rather than eat another home in on their favorite flower viewing your flowers and plan type of vegetation. Since even from far away. around that perspective. Think individual females can lay up to about what color scheme 1600 eggs in their lifetime, Check bloom times to provide appeals to you. Colors are providing appropriate host blossoms throughout the generaly classified as “warm" plants is one of the most reliable growing season. Different (red, orange, yellow) or “cool" ways to increase the numbers of heights are also important, (purple, blue, white). butterflies in your garden. since certain butterflies prefer to feed near the ground, while A garden is most often If they are too informal to suit others like flowers atop tall pleasing if it draws primarily your flower bed, plant them in an stems. from one group, with a few added area away from your blossoms. accents from the other. To a Since many are native shrubs palette that is primarily orange and wildflowers, they may already Tall Goes In Back and red, add a touch of purple or exist nearby. Plant your taller species to blue; to the cool colors add a the back of the bed, gradually splash of yellow. working down to the shorter Single, Not Double ones in the front. Combining Warm colors are showy and When choosing plants for your perennials (those that come vibrant, showing up best against butterfly garden, choose single back every year) and annuals a strong green background. Cool rather than double-flowered (the ones that die in the colors are restful, benefiting species. These allow easier access to the nectar. Many butterflies prefer the Host Plants and the Butterflies They Attract colors of purple, yellow, orange, and red, especially with clusters Butterfly weed, Milkweed.............................. Monarch of flat-topped or tubular Parsley, Dill, Copper Fennel.......................... Black Swallowtail blossoms. Blue Passionflower....................................... Gulf Fritillary Spicebush (Lindera)...................................... Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies can see more colors Tulip Tree (Liriodendron) .............................. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail than we can, including ultraviolet. Vegetable plants, mustards ........................... Whites For the greatest attraction, Pea family, marigolds, clovers ....................... Sulphurs plant groups of the same plant Dogwood, clovers, vetches ........................... Blues and color, rather than one or two Snapdragons ................................................ Buckeyes of each flower. Everlastings, thistles ...................................... Painted Ladies Violets ......................................................... Frittilaries Butterflies also have a very Willows, poplars ........................................... Admirals sensitive sense of smell and will© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home
    • from the addition of white to Plants for Hummingbirds add sparkle and freshness. A number of commercial hummingbird feeders and nectar mix formulas are also Hummingbirds available to supplement the People who garden for natural food supply. butterflies are often interested in including flowers for Some of the more popular hummingbirds as well. While they hummingbird plants that you are two completely different might want to include are: creatures, both are nectar feeders and respond well to s Cardinal flower selective planting in the home (Lobelia cardinalis) habitat. s Standing cypress s Eastern columbine Like butterflies, hummingbirds (Aquilegia canadensis) are selective about the s Scarlet sage blossoms that they choose. (Salvia coccinea) Interestingly, hummingbirds are s Bee balm not born knowing which plants (Monarda didyma) are suitable for them, but they s Jewelweed are very curious and have good (Impatiens capensis) memories, learning quickly from s Hibiscus trial and error. s Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Look For Red Generally speaking, humming- birds look for red flowers that This article was written by point out or hang down, have a Maryland Master Wildlife Habitat high percentage of sugar in the Naturalist Cathy Gilleland. nectar, and are less attractive to insects because they have For more information or for the name of a Master Wildlife Habitat no odor or place for easy Naturalist in your area, landing. please contact: A butterfly garden can be WindStar Wildlife Institute ideal if the right plants are included. It tends to have many E-mail: wildlife@windstar.org http://www.windstar.org flowers - a necessity since hummingbirds feed every 10 to 15 minutes – and the restrained use of insecticides means a WindStar Wildlife Institute is a national, non-profit, conservation healthy population of the small organization whose mission is to insects and spiders which are a help individuals and families critical part of the establish or improve the wildlife hummingbird’s diet. habitat on their properties.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 5 A Plants Home