August is the time that I sit back and enjoy the presence of butterflies in my gardens. Those heaven sent spirits give me hours of joy watching them move from stem to stem. There is something soothing and peaceful about time spent with a cup of coffee sitting in the gardens just watching the butterflies dance amid my gardens. Just looking at these remarkable creations of nature gives one pause to enjoy in our lightening speed culture. In addition to their visual beauty, I have always felt that their presence brings a spiritual nature to my gardens. Further reading on butterflies supports my intuition.
“Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.” (Gardens with Wings) I have two experiences graveside at different cemeteries over different periods of time that make these representations real for me. Seeing those butterflies suggested the spiritual presence of the loved ones lost. In addition, I find their presence in my gardens encouraging positive thoughts of hope and life. Such experiences cannot be found in many of our fast paced, technology driven activities today.
Inviting these majestic creatures to your gardens takes a little time and planning. But with key garden elements, you too can enjoy the serenity of these heaven sent spirits:
- Butterflies like the heat, so plan to place your garden in a full afternoon sun space.
- Butterflies like shelter from wind and predators, so plan trees and shrubbery around the area. My backyard is bordered by trees and sub shrubs, making it a perfect place for them to visit.
- There are a great deal of “butterfly loving plants” in today’s marketplace, but remember you will need 2 stages to attract these garden friends. The nectar plants being marketed are important for the second stage of the butterflies life cycle. You will need host plants to get the life cycle going. In our area, the common milkweed is a host plant. Instead of weeding these out, allow them to grow in areas of your garden. They offer an interesting tall, visual plant. I have them growing naturally in the gardens @ the Museum of Dance.
- Avoid application of insecticides and pesticides in your gardens. Let the garter snakes, birds and lady bugs take care of your insects naturally. I use organically based sprays around the foundation of my home to keep critters out of my household,…but let nature do it’s thing in my gardens.
- Have a water source in the garden for your butterfly visitors. This is an often overlooked element. My backyard pond offers a water haven. But you need not go that big. Small water features and birdbaths can do the trick.
Want to learn more about butterflies in your gardens? I found a lovely resource loaded with tips for attracting butteries as well as a place to share your butterfly stories! http://www.gardenswithwings.com
As always, keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my Garden Practices!
Fall is a great time for planting! The Garden Goddess is having her Annual Plant Sale September 8th and 9th 8am-1pm at our gardens on 180 Alpine Meadows Road Porter Corners. Get a jump on your 2019 gardens with regionally established plants!