How to Invite
Butterflies Into Your Garden
by Mary Hanna
With the huge growth that many cities and towns are experiencing we
see the dwindling of Natural Meadows. With the absence of natural
meadows, the habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife are
dwindling too. Luckily butterflies are easily enticed back if you
plant a garden where the caterpillar (pupa stage) has plants to eat
and the butterfly has flowers to sip nectar. Butterfly gardens are
easy to plant and will give you and your family a chance to see
butterflies in their natural habitat.
The basics are an open space with tons of sunshine and a shield from
wind. Pick a site with lots of sunlight with a few rocks or stones
that can heat up on which the butterflies can bask in the afternoon
sun. Try to place your garden near hedges or shrubs that will help
shield them from the strong winds. If it is too windy, the
butterflies won't stay around for long. The hedge or shrub could
become food for the caterpillar. You can find out what the
caterpillar likes best from your Nursery Garden Center. Butterflies
love mud puddles where they can drink the water and soak up minerals.
A patch of damp soil will make them happy. Most important of all is
that the garden be pesticide free. Many people like to use pesticides
to chase away unwanted pests, unfortunately it will chase away your
butterflies too. Put your butterfly garden in a corner where there
will be no chemical pesticides used. Better still, ask your Garden
Center about organic gardening.
Flowers with nectar are a must for a butterfly garden. When planting
these nectar sources try to put in plants that will provide flowers
throughout the growing season since these are the source of food for
the butterflies. Don't forget shrubs and wildflowers. Roses,
geraniums and lilies have no nectar so plant them somewhere else.
Keep your garden diversified to attract the most number of
butterflies. Another component for the garden is a source for larva
food. The caterpillar needs food to grow into a butterfly. If there
is no food supply they will die. Plant some herbs for both of you.
They like dill, fennel, and parsley on the menu. What they don't eat
you can harvest for cooking with fresh herbs.
You could also plant a butterfly site in garden containers. Buy some
pretty pots and plant them with flowers that have a wonderful scent
as well as bright beautiful colors (available at your Garden Center).
Petunias, daylilies or sweet alyssum will do the trick. Of course the
butterfly bushes are a natural, or plant some hanging baskets with
Impatients (you'll need some shade here).
Some gardeners like to make there own feeder and solution. And it is
simple to do. Put 4 parts water to 1 part sugar in a pot and boil it
until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool. Get a shallow garden
container, saturate a paper towel with the solution and place it the
garden container. Put a stone in the garden container so the
butterflies have a place to perch while they are feeding.
Get the kids interested. Have them keep a journal of each of the
different species that visit your butterfly garden. Let them look up
the butterflies on the computer to learn all about each particular
butterfly and it becomes not only fun, but a learning experience also.
Since there are so many growing zones in the United States you will
want to talk with your Nursery Center for suggestions of what plants
to use for attracting butterflies in your particular zone.
There is an old American Indian Legend about butterflies: "To
have a wish come true you must capture a butterfly. Whisper to the
butterfly what your wish is and then set it free. This little
messenger will take your wish to the Great Spirit and it will come
true." What a great legend.
Copyright 2005 By Mary Hanna
About The Author
Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida.
This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round. She
has published other articles on Gardening and Cooking. You can
contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her
http://www.gardeningoutside.com, or http://www.gardeningherb.com.