What is butterfly gardening?
Simply put, butterfly gardening is the art of growing flowers and plants that will attract these colorful and dainty creatures to your garden. Delight your family and visitors with beautiful butterflies, but be sure to create a safe habitat for them. Here’s an important tip: Rethink your plans if you have cats (cats love butterflies).
Your butterfly garden’s design is a matter of personal preference
Typical points to consider are the size of your garden and the types of flowers and plants you want to grow. Pick a style of garden that appeals to you, but be sure it also contains the plants and flowers that appeal to the butterflies you wish to attract.
It is important to find out which plants and flowers will attract the species of butterflies that live in your area. You can find this information can be found at the local library.
You’ll also need water of some kind to create the kind of environment that they find attractive. Birdbaths look attractive and keep the butterflies up off the ground, away from stray cats or mischievous puppies. A shallow dish on a post or hung in a tree will do just as well.
When planting your butterfly garden be careful how you coordinate the colors you choose for your flowerbeds. While butterflies don’t care about your choice of color, you don’t want your garden to be a hodgepodge of unrelated colors and textures. Butterflies are attracted to those flowers that have nectar rather than pollen, like honeysuckle, milkweed, summer lilac, Valerian, daisies, Purple Coneflower, Yellow Sage, day lilies and lavender.
You may find it helpful to draw and color a layout of your butterfly gardening plan to see what the finished product would look like. Keep in mind that warm colors like red and orange are flashy and showy. These colors have a greater impact against a strong green background. Cool colors such as blue and purple are soothing and toned down and would work better with a white contrast to create the look of freshness and brightness.
When creating a butterfly garden, the possibilities of what to include in your butterfly garden design are endless. Below are some suggestions to help get you started. They are designed to spark the creative process of your mind and get you started on your way to creating a lovely butterfly garden.
Before you even begin your butterfly garden, find out which species of butterflies are in your area. Consider taking an exploratory hike around your location with a butterfly identification book. This may take a little extra time and effort, but the results will be worth it. After you have compiled your list of local butterfly species, be sure to write down in your butterfly garden plan what these particular species of butterflies use for nectar and food plants.
Be sure that your garden is in a location that provides at least six hours of sunlight per day. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures and therefore do better where they are warm and sheltered.
Wind can be a butterfly’s worst enemy (besides cats) so be sure to have plenty of wind protection in your design. You can plant tall shrubs and other plants in order to create a wind break, but a location that avoids heavy winds is even better.
The best location of all would be a butterfly garden placed on the sunny side of your home with windbreaks on both the west and east sides, or wherever the prevailing winds come from in your area. Try and locate your garden close to a window so you can view the butterflies from indoors. Provide seating outside too.
If possible, you could excavate an area and build a stone wall around it. This would create the ideal windbreak for your butterflies. Make gravel pathways around your garden to save walking in mud.
There are many creative ways for constructing a butterfly garden. Take your time to design a garden that you will enjoy and be proud of.