My interest in Butterfly Gardening started a long time ago........When I was a kid growing up in California we would grab Folger's Coffee cans, strap them to our Schwinn Stingrays and head out to the fields, yes back then there were actual fields in the Bay Area and as a kid you could go for miles without any issues. We would follow the train tracks as the Milkweed Seeds traveled the wind created by passing trains. When we found the Narrow Leaved Milkweed we would fill our cans with Monarch caterpillars. Then to the fields where we would find Anise Swallowtail caterpillars on Fennel. Then on the way back to the school field to pluck Buckeye caterpillars from Plantain and finally, the neighbors Elm Tree for Mourning Cloaks. And now as an adult, I am still raising and releasing these flying jewels, but now, I have them come to me by creating a garden that beckons these winged creatures with nectar and food. We hope you join us and design and grow a Butterfly Garden of your own.
The video to the right shows our own front yard Butterfly Garden. When the house was purchased, the septic tank failed and had to be replaced. There were no gardens in the front yard. The only existing plants left after the installation was the evergreen and a Kousa Dogwood. None of the rest of the garden you are about to see existed. While 2018 has been the worst year in over two decades for Butterflies, other pollinators remain and our front yard plants are a source of nectar and other food in a desert of green lawns, evergreens, and Japanese Maples.
We hope this video and this page encourages you to start your own Butterfly Garden either with Native Plants or a mix of Natives and perennials and annuals important to the life of a Butterfly.Habitat loss and insecticide use continues to be an issue even with increased awareness.
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BUTTERFLY GARDENS ARE ACTUALLY BENEFICIAL TO ALL POLLINATORS. OUR ENTIRE GARDEN IS DEDICATED TO THE WILD THINGS THAT NOW CALL OUR GARDEN HOME. SINCE PLANTING NATIVE PLANTS AND SELECT OTHERS, THE YARD THRIVES WITH HONEY BEES, NATIVE BEES AND WASPS AS WELL AS BEETLES. THE LIGHTNING BUGS IN THE SUMMER ARE A SIGHT TO SEE AND IT NEVER FAILS, BUT THEY DO BRING OUT THE KID IN ME EVERY SINGLE TIME.THESE IN TURN PROVIDE FOOD FOR DAMSELFLIES AND DRAGONFLIES WHO PATROL THE LAWN AREAS, THEY CONSUME AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF MOSQUITOES AND OTHER BITING INSECTS.
THERE IS CAUSE TO BE ALARMED, HABITAT DISAPPEARS AT AN ALARMING RATE. PLANTING POLLINATOR GARDENS REPLACES THAT LOST HABITAT, EVEN IF ONLY ON A SMALL SCALE. INDIVIDUAL PLANTS SUCH AS MILKWEED ARE KEY TO SOME BUTTERFLIES SURVIVAL, SUCH AS THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY WHO LAYS ITS EGGS SOLELY ON SPECIES OF MILKWEED.
THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO PLANT MILKWEED, PERSONALLY I BELIEVE IF YOU GARDEN, YOU MUST INCLUDE MILKWEED. IN NEW JERSEY, AROUND THE END OF SEPTEMBER OR THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER AND IF THE WINDS ARE RIGHT, THE MONARCHS MIGRATE THROUGH THE STATE AND PASS OVER CAPE MAY. WE HAVE SEEN CAPE MAY HAVE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF MONARCHS AND OTHER TIMES, ALMOST NONE AT ALL. BUT AT CAPE MAY THEY PAUSE, SIP NECTAR FROM THE GOLDENRODS THAT GROW AMONG THE DUNES AND REST. THEN ACROSS THE DELAWARE BAY THEY GO ON THEIR LONG JOURNEY SOUTH.
NEONICOTINOID INSECTICIDES - PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK AND READ, DO NOT BUY PLANTS FROM NURSERIES OR RETAILERS WHO SELL PLANTS THAT USE THIS INSECTICIDE.
OUR FAVORITE BUTTERFLY PLANTS - EASY BUTTERFLY GARDEN DESIGN WARNING: TO QUOTE MUHAMMED ALI, FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE. a BUTTERFLY GARDEN WILL ATTRACT BEES AND WASPS. IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC USE CAUTION IN CREATING A GARDEN LIKE THIS. BUT IN 24 YEARS OF GARDENING IN OUR CURRENT LOCATION, i HAVE NOT BEEN STUNG ONCE. NOT TWICE, NOT AT ALL. BUT THEN KELLIE SAYS I AM NOT NORMAL.
YOU CANNOT PLAN A BUTTERFLY GARDEN WITHOUT INCLUDING MILKWEED. PICTURED IS OUR POPULAR EAST COAST NATIVE, BUTTERFLY WEED. ITS NATURAL COLOR IS A BRILLIANT ORANGE. IT IS THE ONLY FOOD SOURCE FOR THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY, AND ITS SO IMPORTANT IT GETS ITS OWN PAGE
OUTSIDE OF MILKWEED, THIS MAY BE THE PERFECT ADDITION TO ANY BUTTERFLY GARDEN, AND HECK IF YOU HAVE A COLD YOU ARE IN LUCK HERE ALSO. A HARDY NATIVE, WE PREFER THE GOOD OLD ORIGINAL BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO YEARN FOR MORE THERE ARE MANY COLOR VARIATIONS AS WELL AS PETALS. BUT WE RECOMMEND YOU STAY AWAY FROM FRILLY PETALED VARIETIES FOR BUTTERFLIES.
THE SIZE OF THE IMAGE DOES NOT DENOTE THE IMPORTANCE OR FAVOR, ITS THE ONLY DECENT IMAGE WE HAVE ON FILE OF THIS AMAZING NATIVE PLANT. BLAZING STARS CONSIST OF SEVERAL HARDY NATIVES.
THEY ARE LOVED BY BEES IN OUR GARDEN AS WELL AS THE SMALLER SKIPPER SPECIES. ANOTHER VERY COOL VISITOR TO THESE FLOWERS ARE THE HUMMINGBIRD MOTHS.
SEEDS EASILY SO YOU CAN GET LARGE CLUSTERS IN A FEW SHORT YEARS, MAKES GREAT CUT FLOWERS AND IS EASY TO MOVE ABOUT THE GARDEN.
GOOD OLD GARDEN PHLOX (PHLOX PANICULATA), IS A TRIED AND TRUE BUTTERFLY PLANT. A FAVORITE OF THE EASTERN BLACK SWALLOWTAIL OUR STATE BUTTERFLY HERE IN NJ AS WELL AS SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAILS AND HUMMINGBIRD MOTHS, IT COMES IN A VARIETY OF COLORS AND MANY ARE FRAGRANT. SO PICK YOUR COLOR!
EYE POPPING! ONCE ESTABLISHED, THIS IS AN AMAZING ADDITION TO ANY GARDEN. LOUD, BRILLIANT, IMPRESSIVE, ITS ALL THAT. THE INTENSE COLOR IS LIKE A FIREWORK IN THE GARDEN.
NOT ONLY LOVED BY BUTTERFLIES AND BEES, ITS YES YOU GUESSED IT. IT ATTRACTS ANOTHER GARDEN FAVORITE,THE HUMMINGBIRD. NO HUMMINGBIRD CAN RESIST THE COLOR AND TUBULAR FLOWERS THAT JUST SCREAMS NECTAR.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT IN CREATING A BUTTERFLY GARDEN, YOU NEED EARLY BLOOMERS IN SPRING FOR EARLY EMERGING ADULT BUTTERFLIES SEEKING A NECTAR SOURCE AND EXTENDING THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN INTO THE FALL. THE BLUE MIST FLOWER IS JUST THAT FLOWER. BLOOMING UNTIL FROST, THOSE MIGRATING MONARCHS, BUCKEYES AND OTHERS WILL APPRECIATE THESE LATE BLOOMS AS THEY HEAD SOUTH.
HERE ON THE EAST COAST AND ESPECIALLY IN NEW JERSEY, VIOLET SPECIES ARE PLENTIFUL. NOT ONLY ARE THEY EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS THAT PROVIDE SOME NECTAR TO ADULT BUTTERFLIES, THEY ARE THE FOOD SOURCE TO A NUMBER OF FRITILLARY SPECIES. IN OUR YARD ITS THE GREAT SPANGLED FRITILLARY, WHICH AT TIMES CAN BE THE MOST PLENTIFUL BUTTERFLY AROUND. SOMETIMES JUST SWARMING THE COMMON MILKWEED FLOWERS IN OUR FRONT BUTTERFLY GARDENS.
FOR THOSE OF US ON THE EAST COAST, THE SPICEBUSH IS A COMMON SHRUB OR SMALL TREE COMMON TO FLOOD PLAINS AND THE FOREST UNDER STORY. CAN LIVE WITH "WET FEET" IN POORLY DRAINED AREAS OR IS AT HOME ANYWHERE IN THE GARDEN AND CAN TAKE SOME PRETTY HEAVY SHADE. IT IS THE FOOD SOURCE FOR THE SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL.
2018 was a strange year in the garden. Started out as if it was going to be an early Spring, then intense cold came and stayed with us through April. This may have had an effect on Butterfly species locally. But we also saw no Monarchs migrating north. It is unfortunate as we have a large garden planted with various species of milkweed. All of which you can see in our You Tube Video on the subject. Please subscribe to our channel and enjoy weekly video releases from our garden.