What could be more relaxing and peaceful than watching beautiful butterflies flit from flower to flower in your very own butterfly garden. You may see butterflies in your garden from time to time but how do you design a garden with the express purpose of attracting these beautiful insects. Usually there are dozens of diffrent species in the diffrent regions of the North American continent. Today, because of urban development, the fragile habitat of many butterfly species has been destroyed. Backyard gardens are helping to maintain the butterfly populations.
Designing our gardens with butterflys in mind will bring beautiful results. Not only will the flowers themselves be colorful and cheerful but they will attract and help nurture these insects in each stage of their life. Your garden should be inviting to the caterpillar, as well as the adult butterfly. Most species need certain plants to eat as food when they are in the caterpillar stage and nectar from flowers during the adult stage. Butterflies also need shelter and water so your garden should make sure and supply these also.
Now it is time to plan your garden. Carefully consider what you want your garden to look like. You need to decide where you want certain plants and flowers in relation to the rest of your yard. If your not sure where to place things you can find books in the library that can give you diagrams and step by step guides for garden design. Your garden needs to be layered with shorter plants in the front and the taller ones in the back with all the blossoms available to the butterflies. You also need to make sure to add plants that will serve as food for the caterpillars. Some people choose to put these types of plants close by but not in the flower bed. Flowering trees, shrubs, and vines can also add to the beauty and functionality of your garden. The flowers in your garden should provide blooms for the entire season so make sure and plant a variety of flowers, annuals and perennials, to ensure that something is always in bloom to provide food for your butterflies from spring to fall.
Butterflies also need a place to bask. They are cold blooded insects and need the sun to warm themselves up. They really can’t fly well untill their body temperature reaches about 85 degrees. So having your garden in a place where it is sunny most of the day is best. Your butterflies will also need shelter such as hedges, shrubs, trees or even a fence if it doesn’t block to much sunlight. You can also make or purchase butterfly boxes which provides shelter and a place for some species to hibernate in the winter.Make sure to also leave some open areas for puddles, so the butterflies can get the water and minerals they need.
There are a variety of plants that you can put in your butterfly garden. Some flowers that are good for their nectar are Asters, Black-eyed Susan, Dogbane, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Passion Flower, Cone Flower, Sweet pea, Verbena, Violets, and many others. There are also a variety of plants that will provide food for your caterpillars. Some common ones are Milkweed, Dogwoood, False Foxglove, Ironweed, Mallow, Mint, Parsley, Queen Anns Lace, Thistle, and Willow. These are just a few of the many plants that you can choose from. You can also plant Butterfly Bushes, Wisteria, Lilac, Fruit trees as well as other vines and bushes.
One important thing to rember is that pesticides can harm your butterflies. You should aways use organic pest control methods. You should do some research to find out what kinds of methods won’t hurt your butterflies but will keep your garden healthy and pest free. You might consider ordering Lady bugs or Praying mantises from a mail order company to help in this area.
You are now well on your way to cultivating youir own butterfly paradise. The planting and cultivating of your garden can be as enjoyable as watching the butterflies that come when you are finished. The beautiful, relaxing setting can help reduce the stress and struggle of day to day life. You will enjoy your butterfly garden today, as well as many years to come.