August 9, 2007

Butterflies: beauties in the garden

In the 100+ degree heat about the only movement in the garden comes from all the butterflies.
The swallowtails, monarchs and varieties unknown to me are literally swarming over the garden. This spring, we planted a butterfly garden of hot colors. While the garden needs to mature to look lush, it did not disappoint in terms of attracting the butterflies.

We planted both host and nectar plants.

The host plants become the homes of the caterpillars that turn into these beautiful butterflies. We didn’t think we’d attract monarchs the first season, but we did! We were so excited to see monarch cats on the milkweed (asclepias). So far, we’ve not seen any swallowtail cats on the bronze fennel, but there are more swallowtails in the garden than another other variety.

We are using a shallow birdbath on the ground as a butterfly water source. We have moistened sand and water in the bath. In this heat, it requires daily refilling to keep the sand moist and water available.

The butterflies seem to spend the most time on the butterfly bushes (buddleia) that are throughout our garden.The lantana seems to always be covered with lots of varieties of butterflies. The pentas, annuals for our area, work well for butterflies, but the deer (or rabbits?) are keeping the blooms off of ours. Perennials that serve as good nectar plants include agastache, asters, coneflowers, coreopsis, crocosmia, lavender, phlox, rosemary, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

Happy Gardening!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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