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July 17, 2009

A garden the whole family can get into

Getting kids interested in gardening isn’t easy, so try sparking their interest by attracting butterflies.

Getting kids interested in gardening isn’t easy, so try sparking their interest by attracting butterflies. butterfly

Making a butterfly garden is as easy as planting, watering and watching. As an added bonus, the brightly colored perennial flowers that attract butterflies make excellent cut bouquets for in and around your home.

For a successful butterfly garden you will need a warm sunny site for the nectar rich plants to grow. Note: The butterflies also need heat to become more active and generally only feed in the sun.

When shopping for plants, remember it is best to plant in clusters to obtain the bright splash of colors and intense fragrances that really attract these beautiful pollinators.  Select from some of my list below.

  • Choose Echinacea planted with Asclepias (butterfly flower), and Coreopsis and Yarrow planted together to lure butterflies early in July.
  • Some midseason blooming buddies are Agastache, Phlox and Monarda. Odds are that you are going to love visiting your blooming perennials as much as your winged friends do.
  • Sedum, Rudbeckia (Black-eyed-susan), Liatris and Physostegia for Fall will give you an extended opportunity to attract butterflies and offer them a continuous supply of nectar throughout their short adult life.
  • Most importantly, you will need to plant a few “host” plants for the caterpillars to enjoy as a snack and to use during metamorphosis into butterflies. So, please tolerate the chewed up leaves on a couple of plants like Asters, Turtlehead, or Asclepias . (They also really love Parsley!)

**Do skip the chemicals. Insecticides will kill the caterpillars and no caterpillars = no butterflies.

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