Posts Tagged ‘Butterfly’

Swamp Milkweed Plants Bring Monarchs to Your Butterfly Garden

June 30th, 2014

One of the truly wonderful aspects of butterfly gardening is that the most effective plants for such are perennials and natives.  Key to attracting and providing for the most butterflies possible is to provide attractive plants that actually play roles in providing for local or migrating butterfly populations.  Choosing native plants that thrive in the specific type of soil and moisture level your garden offers can be tricky, but two plants that are hosts for two specific butterflies are probably excellent choices for some portion of your butterfly garden: swamp milkweed.

Host Monarchs with Swamp Milkweed Plants

Swamp milkweed plants are the primary host for the monarch, which makes its migration over thousands of miles every year, and also attracts a wide variety of other butterflies.  Proper plants are crucial to the success of this momentous trek, and swamp milkweed, coincidentally, is native to all but seven of the United States of America.  Spreading by rhizomes, swamp milkweed plant produce attractive blooms of white to light pink, grows up to 24 inches high, and produces dense, bushy clusters of both large and multitudinous blooms.  Showy and beautiful, swamp milkweed belongs wherever it will thrive since its survival means greater hope for monarch butterflies who accomplish great things for pollination to support a wide variety of gardens, from flower to food and everything in between.

Partial to sun-to-part shade planting, swamp milkweed Plants is true to its name, preferring moist to wet conditions in zones 3-9.  Fragrant, these beautiful natives are easy to grow and extremely resilient.  Many gardeners laud them as being deer resistant.  Although they do attract aphids, their presence in the garden rarely leads to pest infestation as birds, ladybugs, and other predators swoop in to consume the aphids attached to swamp milkweed.

Flowering from June to August, swamp milkweed brings delicate romance to any garden in the potentially brutal heat of summer.  Even gardens that are not particularly moist might benefit from the attractive qualities of swamp milkweed if clay is present in the soil and more frequent watering may be done.

Including these plants in your butterfly garden ensures that these lovely lepidoptera specimens will find their way to your home: monarch butterflies.  Meanwhile, layering for height, bloom season, and color creates a naturally pleasing aesthetic.

 

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Milkweed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Butterfly Habitat Rain Gardens Are Combinations for Learning and Global Improvement

June 10th, 2014

In the age of social media and keywords turned catch phrase, those of us who garden and those who hope to garden and those who are only mildly garden curious hear/read about a lot of gardens.  There are Zen gardens, tranquility gardens, lasagna gardens, pizza gardens, native habitat gardens, memory gardens, rain gardens, and butterfly gardens, just to name a few.  In any given region and climate, though, there is tremendous possibility for combining the roles of more than one garden. Three of the easiest gardens to combine are butterfly, habitat, and rain gardens.  And making such a combination is easy enough that kids quite often do it by nature as they love to choose bold blooms, bright colors, interesting textures, and plants representing history and culture.

The purpose of each of these gardens might seem obvious enough from the name, but understanding the role each plays in your community, state, even the world provides a context for both children and adults.  Using the opportunity to educate through gardens, every green enthusiast stands to make global improvements.  Let’s call it the Butterfly Garden Effect that every positive motion, even the tiniest swoop of a fluttering wing, contributes to the evolution of a better world for all of us, from the most sentient creatures on the planet to the tiniest contributors.

 

The Role of Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly gardens contribute three very basic benefits:

*support for local and migrating butterflies

*beautification for communities

*attraction for a broad range of pollinators and other wildlife

Wherever butterflies flutter by, expect to find a wide range of other pollinators, beneficial insects, and birds.  It’s the circle of life, as they say, that makes butterfly gardens so crucial to ecosystems.  Attracted to color, flavor, fragrance, and texture in your garden, butterflies flit from bloom to bloom, pollinating your garden as they do.  Vivid and eye-catching they, in turn, attract a wide variety of prey that belong in your garden, too.  Every garden that attracts butterflies benefits from their careful grooming of blooms and the role they play in attracting others who tend, pollinate, fertilize, and de-bug the garden.

 

The Role of Habitat Gardens

By nature of the fact that they attract a wide variety of wildlife, butterfly gardens easily double as habitat gardens whenever shrubs and/or trees are incorporated into the design.  Essentially, habitat gardens are homes for various insects and animals.  Habitat gardens provide:

*shelter

*food

*water

*protection

*solace

to various creatures, including humans who cultivate them as places of rest and tranquility.

 

The Role of Rain Gardens

True to name, rain gardens take advantage of storm runoff to irrigate gardens, but there is a lot more going on beneath the surface.  Designed to take advantage of rainwater runoff, rain gardens also:

* direct water to low spots

*slow water to negate the possibility of erosion

*percolate runoff to promote filtering/cleaning of polluted water

*assist in drainage to minimize standing water zones

*guide filtered water to bodies such as streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds, and even seas and oceans

To ensure the success and longevity of such your rain garden, incorporate native and noninvasive plants that are up to the task of handling the microclimate forming there.  Rain gardens present two main extremes in irrigation: deep wet and extreme dry, from time to time.  Native plants that are tolerant of both wet and dry conditions are your best bet.  Choosing plants of various root structures, too, will help the garden to do its best filtration work, too. Among the underground portions that help filter minerals, debris, particulate matter, and pollutants are:

* shallow, webby roots that filter tiniest particles

* bulbs, rhizomes, and cormers (combinations) that hinder larger matter passage

* deep, even tap, roots, that channel runoff to deeper soils and layers

 

Combining Roles for Your Own Butterfly Habitat Rain Garden

Cultivating a garden that achieves all three purposes is as easy as selecting plants that serve the purpose of each garden style whenever possible.  Native plants that provide blooms for adult butterflies and/or act as hosts for their caterpillar offspring may be blended with shrubs and trees that provide shelter for the other wildlife who will come to admire and consume the butterflies.  In many cases, shrubs and trees may act as nectar suppliers and/or hosts for butterfly populations as well.  Among the native shrubs and trees you might choose for your butterfly habitat rain garden are:

spicebush shrubs

butterfly bushes

*chokeberry

*serviceberry bushes

*redbud trees

Each of these shrub and trees offers much to any garden as they are fragrant, beautiful, and excellent hosts for a variety of animals and bugs.  Use these as focal points or boundaries to control entry and exit from your garden.

Layering these core contributors with a wide variety of blooming plants and attractive sedges/grasses will create a zone of comfort and peace for insects, animals, and humans alike.  So long as the plants you choose are tolerant of the water sure to come through your garden and the dry conditions that occur once runoff has been directed away, the plant combinations are endless.

Meanwhile, every time children are included in the choices you make for your home or school garden, new ideas percolate to grow for amazing results.

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Butterfly Gardens Create Colorful Beauty and Provide a Habitat for Caterpillars and Butterflies

May 14th, 2014

Butterfly Gardens Provide Habitat, Perpetuate Gardens, and Help to Conserve Flora and Fauna

Several times a week, I am asked what one thing I might suggest another person do to help the environment, conserve gardens, and/or improve the general landscape of our community.  Time and again, my suggestion is that the singular best and simplest way to make a positive impact on the environment is to cultivate a butterfly garden.  More often than not, though, that suggestion is met with this response: “I don’t have the foggiest idea how to start butterfly gardening — you’ll have to help me.”

The truth is, there are few things I enjoy more than introducing others to the art of planting gardens to attract butterflies.  With so many challenges facing the lives of pollinators, any help home gardeners, civic organizations, and even companies or municipalities may provide the diverse butterfly population is worth the time, effort, and investment.

Butterflies are Gardeners, Too

The most important factor in developing your own butterfly garden is choosing plants for butterflies.  Not every flower assures your garden will attract butterflies, but certain plants are natural choices for specific butterflies who will either lay their eggs upon the leaves or feast upon the nectar.

Egg-laying butterflies instinctively choose plants that make proper hosts for their offspring.  While some gardeners cringe to imagine caterpillars munching holes through the leaves of their prized garden citizens, those gardeners who have selected specific butterfly plants in hopes of creating a butterfly garden of their own understand that the loss of a few leaves devoured during the larval stage is a small price for the benefits that the pollination-assisting butterflies deliver for the gardens in general.

Feasting on nectar gathered from flowers, butterflies provide invaluable assistance to flower-bearing plants.  Flitting from one flower to another, the butterfly pollinates the flowers, encouraging the propagation of the plant species.  Laying eggs on this same plant or another, the butterfly ensures the propagation of her own species.  This is the natural order of things.

Meanwhile, what horticulturists know and the general gardening population is coming to understand is that the role butterflies play in gardens extends far beyond the beauty and entertainment they provide.  Promoting pollination in gardens, butterflies help to ensure, too, a natural, organic escalation in produce yields from a variety of gardens.  Furthermore, wherever caterpillars and butterflies reside, birds will be attracted, too.  Acting as a food resource as well as a pollinator, butterflies attract birds that will consume large quantities of a variety of insects, many of them considered garden pests and potentially harmful to humans if not kept in check.

Butterfly resting on butterfly bush flower

Butterfly resting on butterfly bush flower

Six Ideal Butterfly Plants

Among the plants hopeful butterfly gardeners should consider incorporating into their own butterfly gardens are:

Native to the United States, these butterfly plants are better choices for a number of reasons, including environmental adaptations, pest resistance, and relationships to butterflies whose habitat is local or who pass through as they migrate far distances.  Selecting  all of these native plants simplifies any approach to butterfly gardening as the  the diversification of heights, colors, and flowering seasons the collection represents ensures a diverse range of butterflies to be attracted and a broad attraction season.

Bringing these flowers together in your own garden space, you’ll accomplish more than effective butterfly gardening. Your efforts will result, too, in increased wildlife habitat, promotion of food and flower plants, and conservation of flora and fauna.  Considering all this, it is easy to understand that developing a thriving garden designed to attract and host butterflies truly improves the world.

Check out our instant butterfly garden packages for ease and convenience.

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How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Shrubs, Herbs and Perennial Plants

March 5th, 2013

 

What could be more enjoyable than sitting in your garden with lots of beautiful butterflies fluttering about? Gardeners are planting butterfly gardens, which not only have become a popular hobby, but, also, make for very beautiful gardens. While many gardeners plant amazing flower gardens with hopes of attracting butterflies, however, the butterflies don’t come because the wrong shrubs and perennial plants have been planted.

English: Français : Papillon monarque (Danaus ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes butterflies will not come to a garden because of pesticide use. The first thing you should do in planning for your butterfly garden is to rid the area of unwanted pests without using chemicals.

There are a few other things you can do to ensure that butterflies will come to your garden. Choose an area in your garden that is sunny with about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, as adult butterflies only feed in the sun. The area needs to, also, be sheltered from heavy winds. As much as butterfly need to eat, they also do not want to fight harsh winds while trying to feed.

Another important aspect to a good butterfly garden is water. Like humans, butterflies need water. A couple of shallow bird baths where you can keep clean water will not only allow butterflies a drink, it will give them a place to rest.

There are two types of plants that butterfly use, those that provide food for the offspring and those that provide nectar for the adults. In a quote from the National Wildlife Federation, “Attracting butterflies involves incorporating plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly.” They go on to say, “The insects need places to lay eggs, food plants for their larvae (caterpillars), places to form chrysalides and nectar sources for adults.”

Most butterflies, including the Monarch butterfly, feed on buddleia, commonly called butterfly bushes, for nectar and milkweed to feed the caterpillars. Other ways to make the area more butterfly friendly are using flat stones or other large flat surfaces where butterflies can rest and spread their wings. Because butterflies are such delicate creatures, they will also need shelter and a little shade.

Plants that attract butterflies are buddleia or butterfly bushes, lavender, monarda or bee balm, veronica, salvia, rosemary, thyme, sage, roses, yarrow, lamb’s ear, hydrangea, weigela, rudbeckia, echinacea, Shasta daisy and yucca are excellent selections for a beginners butterfly garden.

Recap of How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden:

  • Limit pesticide use
  • Place your garden in a sunny area protected from heavy winds
  • Plant fragrant, summer flowering butterfly plants
  • Use flat surfaces for the butterflies to rest
  • Have a shallow water source

By adding some of these suggestions into your garden, you can attract butterflies all summer long.

 

Greenwood Nursery Your Online Garden Center

 

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Butterfly Bushes Make Welcoming Habitats for Butterflies and Hummingbirds

June 30th, 2012

Growing butterfly bushes is a popular hobby for many Americans? The enchanting colors of buddleia flowers, the bracing fragrance of the leaves, the hypnotic effect of the stems swaying back and forth, the sight of the trees rattling their leaves when touched by the gentle breeze, and of course, the green background of the landscape – all contribute to the uniqueness of a scenic butterfly garden. Hey wait a minute; is something missing? Yes, the butterflies!

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who doesn’t like to see a rabble of butterflies fluttering in the garden? Watching those colorful butterflies flit from one plant to another and circling in rabbles can be a great stress-relieving site for anyone. If your garden is without the butterflies then you might consider making it colorfully attractive by planting butterfly bushes.

Also referred to as summer lilac or buddleia, butterfly bushes are attractive flowering shrubs that can embellish the look of any garden. They grow fast, filling the neighboring space in quick time. And they flourish well in any type of well-drained soil; regardless of it is gravel, clay or sandy type. The butterfly bushes are flowering plants that provide a welcoming habitat for the butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterflies and bees love to feed on the nectar-rich flowers. One good thing about the butterfly bushes is that they don’t drop dead flowers.

Butterfly Bush Planting Tips

There are different butterfly bushes that thrive well in different climatic conditions. They generally spread quickly; hence should be planted at a distance of at least 6 feet away from each other, depending on the specific variety. The butterfly bushes grow at heights ranging from 5 to 15 feet, although some of the newer hybrids are small growing at 3 feet. Typically, they need at least six hours of direct exposure to sunlight everyday and should be watered regularly.

Maintenance and Variety

Butterfly bushes require regular trimming as they can grow fast in quick time. For best growth results, constant pruning of the dead petals should be done; this will make them bloom longer and grow denser. The ideal time for pruning is from July till the tail end of winter. There are over 100 varieties of butterfly bushes in the world. The flowering plants of butterfly bushes come in multiple colors ranging from red and blue to pink and purple to white and yellow and lots more. As a warning, do not use insecticides on your butterfly bushes as they can kill the butterfly larvae or sometimes even the butterflies.

Best Butterfly Habitats

Having butterfly bushes to attract the butterflies and humming birds is a great idea. But it would be wiser to think out of the box and create a friendly habitat for the butterflies. One such idea is to incorporate a few flat rocks in the surrounding area where the butterflies can enjoy and bask in the sun. Also, butterflies need some place to cool off. You can provide a relaxing habitat by including small muddy patches in your garden.

Butterfly bushes are available in a large variety of single colors- purple, orange, blue, red, pink etc. They are also available as bi-colored plants. A great selection of butterfly plants is available in smaller container sizes that are easiy affordable from Greenwood Nursery.

 

Check out ourInstant Butterfly Garden Plant Package that includes a butterfly house, too!

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Attract Hummingbirds with These Must Have Plants

April 28th, 2012

Attract Hummingbirds with These Plant Magnets:

Pineapple Sage and Russian Sage Plants

Choose plants that produce summer blossoms in the colors of red, purple and bright pink. 


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Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds with Garden Plants

April 13th, 2012

Attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden with our selection of flowering shrub bushes. Brightly colored blooms of red, yellow, pink and purple will bring them in for your enjoyment.

Butterfly feeding from butterfly bush

Butterfly feeding from butterfly bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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