A garden for
butterflies is also a garden for people. Rewarded by their colorful, gentle animation we are also surrounded
by heavenly, fragrant flowers we might not ordinarily grow.
is the watchword for butterfly gardening. Published lists of plants butterflies are attracted to
are a good place to start, but they will always fall short of the plants
butterflies actually enjoy.
Planting a lot of different kinds of plants,
will attract the maximum of different kinds of visitors. The Great Spangled Fritillary and the Loquin's
Admiral might prefer different nectar bars. Plants of different heights, colors,
and different bloom times provide habitats need for resting, hibernating and
For instance, butterflies tend to like it warm and
planting a diverse habitat will give them places to, not only, spend the night and find
moisture, but also to bask. In Rick Mikula's excellent book
Garden Butterflies of North America,
he writes of the need Butterflies have for basking in the sun. Since their
internal muscles must warm to 80 degrees for flight, providing light colored
basking areas lets them rev up their engines faster. He suggest a butterfly
waterless pond. He makes his in the shape of a butterfly, but any shape will do.
You make an indentation in the soil, line it with plastic, add a few similar in size light
colored stones or sand and stand back. He adds that if morning dew collects the
butterflies will find this moisture when they come to bask. Of course, the
sidewalk will work too, but it is not as much fun.
And, after all, butterflies are all about fun. How much better, if we create a marvelous garden for us both to play in.