03 June 2008

If you had wings

Last week we found a few guidelines for Wildlife Conservation Action. One of these ideas was to create habitats for wildlife in your backyard. One of my favorite ways to create habitats on my playground, or my very big backyard that I spend most of my day in, is to plant a butterfly garden. Planting a butterfly garden, coincidentally, is also one of the easiest ways to assist with conservation efforts, and a simple, effective, and hands-on method of showing, rather than telling, your children how they can affect they world around them as well.

What makes a beautiful and successful butterfly garden? Well, today we are going to take some tips from both the handout provided at this year’s International Flower and Garden Festival and Kevin Markey’s Secrets of Disney’s Glorious Gardens.
Butterflies gain energy from the light, and the plants that attract them generally thrive in the sunshine. So, CREATE the garden in a sunny area.

Butterflies perch on stones or bare soil to spread their wings and bask in the sun to gain energy for flight. SET flat stones in the garden for perches.

A screen of shrubs can also provide shelter from wind and weather. GROW vines on a fence to create an overnight roosting area.

Butterflies are active from spring to fall, so ideally your garden should be, too. PLANT flowers that will bloom and provide nectar throughout the year.

Butterflies are first attracted to flowers by color. Groupings of flowers are easier for butterflies to see than single flowers. USE large splashes of color in your garden.

Butterflies cannot drink from open water but prefer shallow puddles and damp areas. DEVELOP damp areas that invite butterflies to drink.

Adult butterflies eat not only nectar but also rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, and mud. ADD feeding stations to your garden by placing rotting fruit in places you frequently find butterflies.

Most garden pesticides are toxic to butterflies. Instead of pesticides, try horticultural soaps, oils, beneficial insects, or removing pests by hand. AVOID pesticides.

Now that we know what our garden needs, all we need to know now is what type of plants provide the best nectar for butterflies. Here is a list of beautiful plants that will work wonderfully in a butterfly garden:
Bee Balm
Butterfly Bush
Frost Flower
Star Cluster
Shrub Verbena
Queen Anne’s Lace
For more information on gardening the Disney way, I highly recommend Secrets of Disney’s Glorious Gardens, by Kevin Markey.


Ed South said...

Cool post, even though I'm terrified of butterflies!

Princess Fee said...

You learn something new every day - thank you!