Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Butterfly Garden




When we moved into our new house spring of 2015 we inherited a thin raised bed along on side of the driveway.  It had some very small, very sad shrubs from the local big box store that someone had put in to add some curb appeal.  We had the wettest spring ever after we moved in, with nearly 17 inches during the month.  It smashed the old May record of 13.66 inches set in 1982.  All of this rain basically meant that nothing happened outside...for weeks.  It was a struggle to keep up with the lawn between rain showers.  Once the rain finally stopped, and we were able to start working on the yard.

The butterfly garden in early July.  The hardy ageratum has already been cut back and the heat is already starting to slow the blooms down.  There will be a resurgence once the temperature cool back down at night..

By the time we got around to dealing with this strange bed all of the former plants had started to grow back, including a crepe myrtle and some oregano.  It was becoming kind of a jungle with the new shrubs, the old plants, some pecan tree volunteers, and a bunch of weeds.  Definitely the look folks are going for in the front of their house.

A random salvia that came in a butterfly milkweed mix I got free from work.  Interestingly not one milkweed germinated from those seed packets.

This area had already been slated to become a butterfly/perennial garden.  The general idea was to try and keep the majority of it perennial so it didn’t need to be replanted each year.  We also wanted to use it as a place to showcase some of our daylilies, since it is nice and sunny.  So after getting everything cleared new plants started going in.

Asclepias curassavica or Tropical Milkweed.  We have two other types of milkweed, but neither is currently blooming.

It’s sort of a messy hodge-podge of a garden with sort of a cottage look.  The butterflies and pollinators have taken notice and been visiting.  Its lots of fun to be greeted by them when we arrive home.  Now that we have a basic frame work that is successful, comes the fun part.  We can search different and usual plants as well as specific plants to attract specific pollinators.

Rudbeckia

I’m pushing for a passiflora vine to attract some gulf fritillary butterflies and because I really like the blooms, but some fence/gate work may need to be completed first.  I may also plant the new Michauxia campanuloides "Michaux's Bellflower" we got from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials after we saw a similar plant on our Oklahoma trip. It’s not really a plant for pollinators, but this is the best place we have to put it, and like the daylilies, sometimes it’s about what looks nice.




So what are your favorite plants for a butterfly garden?  I would love to know what you think we’re missing!

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