A-to-Z Challenge, garden creatures, pollinators

B is for Butterfly Garden

 

Being the great avoider of housework that I am, I’ve managed to find yet another way! Pokemon Go® – I’m searching for a Butterfree.

butterfree
Butterfree

In the meantime, I’m planning to address a very neglected part of the yard this summer.  Overgrown dumping ground will become a Garden for the Butterflies.  After the monarch attempt a few years back, I’ve been thinking of ways to attract them to my garden on their way to Mexico.

There’s a  small garden center in Unity, PA called Friendship Garden that specializes in native plants.  I learned about this place a few weeks back when our garden club speaker, a master gardener from the Latrobe Area, informed us.  He encouraged native plants, but at the same time, did not criticize our love and hopes with the exotic tropicals we adore.  Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.

Some plants that attract the pollinators include Purple Coneflower (echinacea), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and Butterfly Flower (flor de mariposa).

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My big plan was to start these from seed.  I still may, but upon careful inspection of the directions on the packet, my plants won’t be blooming this summer.

Coneflower seeds that would have naturally fallen from the flowers in the fall would have a much better chance, as these seeds should be planted 12 weeks before the ground freezes.  Ditto with the Butterfly Weed.  There seems to be some hope for the Butterfly Flower.  I will be starting them all, but will have to be patient for the bloom show.

I was able to snag 2 milkweed plants from the Friendship Garden.  I’m hoping that the Common Milkweed will attract monarchs.

Now for the work of clearing brush, moving rocks, and creating the space.

Here’s hoping all this work gets done before my plants die!!

B

 

 

My B entry for the blogging challenge from A to Z.  Trying hard to keep it up, wishing I had started these entries in March, not going to make excuses!  Keep on blogging!  I think I can, I think I can . . .

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15 thoughts on “B is for Butterfly Garden”

  1. I built a butterfly garden last year, and planted a lot from seed. The annuals grew amazingly fast! I had no luck at all with coneflower (nor this year trying to winter sow it). Some of the seeds were perennials, that bloom their second year. The Siberian wallflower is starting to now. Most of my seeds were from one mixed packet I got on eBay! Oh… stay tuned to E is for… tomorrow! I don’t mean to plug my blog, but if you go and search “butterfly garden” you’ll see what I had success with and what I didn’t. In one of the first posts there is a list of what I planted. I think what made it do so well was that I filled the beds with nothing but Gardner and Bloom Raised Bed Mix. It looked like mulch and I was disappointed when I poured it in, but it was wonderful! I can’t afford it for any more beds though.
    No monarchs last year.

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    1. I struggled with coneflowers from seed, then I finally broke down and purchased a potted on from Lowes a couple of years ago, they are the hardiest plants I have in my entire collection now! Though they attract more bees and wasps than butterflies in my region. 😉

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      1. I planted a collection of coneflowers with some shasta daisies, which was lovely, until the daisies decided to take over! My attempts at thinning the daisies destroyed the coneflowers by mistake. Been trying to get them back, and should probably just get the plants. Fingers crossed for my seeds!

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  2. Last year was our first spring in our new home here in Tennessee and the lady who owned it did a lot of gardening. The back by the deck is planted with all kinds of bushes and plants to attract butterflies…and it did. We so enjoy them as well as the numerous hummingbirds. Hoping the plants survive our neglect and are okay this year.

    Donna B McNicol, author & traveler
    Romance & Mystery…writing my life
    A-Z Flash Fiction Tales: http://dbmcnicol.blogspot.com
    A-Z of Goldendoodles: http://ourprimeyears.blogspot.com

    PS. My Klondike PA mystery books are set in McKean County, PA!!

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  3. Kudos for making a wildlife garden, Elizabeth!
    FYI from Monarchwatch.org: “After a stratification period of 3-6 weeks [in the fridge], the [milkweed] seeds can be planted in warm (70˚F), moist soil. Without stratification, the percentage of seeds that germinate is usually low.”
    While monarch larva need milkweed, adults love composite flowers like zinnias, asters and ironweed.
    For a good book on natives, I recommend “Bringing nature home : how you can sustain wildlife with native plants” by author: Tallamy, Douglas W.

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    1. I had to order the milkweed seeds online, as I could not find them in brick and mortar. I guess I will have a late start after chilling them. Thanks for the info! Will definitely check out that book.

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  4. I remember learning about butterfly gardens from a customer in my store one spring afternoon, at that point the only tip I’d ever heard was rubbing banana on the side of the tree to attract them…which never seemed to work (ya that’s right I have rubbed bananas on tree stumps).

    Since then I have moved several time, and my first project in each new home is to build my butterfly garden, and I love reading how others compile their collection. ❤ Thank you, I had somehow never heard of "Butterfly flowers".

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