There is nothing quite like watching a butterfly soar throughout my garden. After a busy and sometimes stressful day, those winged beauties give rise to pause and peace. As this week marks National Pollinator week, I recommend you consider planning and planting a Butterfly Garden.
Butterflies are just one of the many pollinators we depend upon for full harvests of crops and contribution to healthy plants everywhere. Did you know an estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages are delivered by pollinators? So butterflies are not just another pretty garden face. They are hardworking elements in our natural ecosystems. Consider the continuing urbanization within our region. The reduction in green spaces and plants needed to attract the pollinators is dwindling. You can help support butterflies in your own outdoor living space with ease.
The size of the butterfly garden is not important. Gardens of any size, be it containers, raised beds or small planting plots will work. Selecting the right plants is critical. Some of my favorite hardworking perennials include: butterfly weed, (they love the bright orange color) milkweed, cardinal flower (red attracts the hummingbird too!), liatris, salvia, shasta daisy, catmint, ornamental allium, yarrow and coneflower. Annuals that attract butterflies include: zinnia, petunia, nicotina, and pentas. Select herbs will bring the butterflies to your garden. They include: mint, chives, parsley, thyme and marjoram. My rhubarb spring bloom was a terrific host for the butterflies before my harvest last week.
Don’t forget to add water! This is an often overlooked key ingredient in a butterfly garden. A small water feature tucked into your garden will keep the butterflies coming and add an element of serenity to your area. If you are working with small spaces and containers, just place a saucer of water in the area. I also like to add a rock or 2 for a warm landing pad. (butterflies use the warmth to help them fly)
Creating a butterfly garden is a great way to get kids interested in gardening and even add a dash of science to their summer months. Inspire some imagination and think of the butterflies as the “flower fairies” in your little garden.
National Pollinator Month continues throughout June, so let me know how you have encouraged the pollinators to visit your garden. It just makes sense and sustains our living environment! Want to learn more about butterfly gardens and other pollinator friendly ideas? Visit:http://www.pollinator.org