May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And Find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow, and beyond
~an Irish blessing
Over the years, environmentalists, conservationists, and gardeners alike have discovered the beautiful art of butterfly gardening. This form of garden focuses on cultivating flowers that attract certain kinds of butterflies to your garden. While gardens as far back in time as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon attracted butterflies, it has only been in recent time that such gardensand pastimes have gained publicity.
A butterfly garden can be created in any place where butterflies live. You may have room for just a single terra cotta pot, or you may be able to fit an entire garden into your backyard.
Remember that butterflies in general like hot or warm weather. They need places to rest and to drink both water and nectar. Not only that, but butterflies are delicate, not liking the strong buffeting of the wind.
This means that the ideal butterfly garden will include:
Researching the butterflies you wish to attract is essential, not only so that you can draw them in but so you can see whether you can. The Kaisar-i-Hind is certainly one of the most stunning butterflies, but it only lives in India. No matter how hard you try, you probably aren’t going to attract one to your apartment in the States.
It’s best to plant flowers and attract butterflies that are native to your area. Not only will you have a stronger likelihood of success, but you will also be less likely to endanger the ecosystem. Consider the kudzu vine. Originally introduced in the United States from Japan as an ornamental plant and for foraging, this strong vine has become a threat to many other natural plants as it takes over the territory.
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What You’ll Likely Need
Some Popular Choices of Plants
Keep up with your garden by trimming and caring for the plants. Change the water out regularly, and, if you decide to offer a nectar feeder, clean and refill on a regular basis.
Do not use pesticides in your garden. If other insects like mosquitoes and wasps start to become a pest, it can be tempting to bring out the Raid or Off. But doing so will destroy your butterflies as well. If wasps and the like begin to be a problem, consider removing whole sources of nectar, leaving only the plants to feed the butterflies. If mosquitoes are attracted to the water, then limit the supply of water and take it in at night.
You may also need to introduce ladybugs and other similar garden healthy bugs to keep your plants safe. Some gardeners even go so far as to introduce spiders into their gardens, but remember that doing so also puts your butterflies at risk. If you are trying to attract certain rare kinds of butterflies, you may want to remove spiders and mantises as you find them.
If you keep bird feeders around your house, be sure to keep them away from your butterfly garden. Sparrows, swallows, and more love nothing more than a butterfly snack.