Adding native plants to the yard replaces habitat that is lost each year. Now our yard is a certified National Wildlife Backyard Habitat and a North American Butterfly Association Garden. In the wild up to 95% of butterfly eggs and larva can be lost. So we give Mother Nature a helping hand and raise as many butterflies as we can to release back into the wild. Below are some of our releases as well as yearly visitors to our various Butterfly Gardens throughout the property.

The Swallowtails - the largest butterflies in our garden. Black Swallowtails (left) feed on members of the carrot family. In our yard Bronze Fennel is preferred but they also eat Golden Alexanders. The Spicebush Swallowtail (right) feeds on the Spicebush. A fragrant easy to grow shrub that has nice fall color and is easy to grow.  The Tiger Swallowtail (below) feeds on Tulip Trees in our neighborhood. They are the most common of the Swallowtails in our area.

The Monarchs. When I was 9 years old, my dad signed me up for a Monarch tagging project with the University of Toronto. We would go down to the local railroad tracks in Fremont Ca where Narrow Leaved Milkweed grew thick. We would fill Folger's Coffee cans full of Monarch caterpillars and bring home to raise and release. Now, today things have not changed much, we raise and release Monarchs in New Jersey now, just like I did over 45 years ago in California.

When Butterfly numbers are down as they were in 2014, you can always count on the Tiger Swallowtails to visit the yard to make up for the lack of other butterfly visitors.

Plant the proper garden and so many more butterflies will live happily in your garden.

We hope these photos inspire you to create a butterfly garden of your own. Even a small patch of milkweed, coneflowers, phlox or any other flower that is a food source for caterpillars and/or adults helps. We have many plants for sale that meet all of these needs, and if we do not have it, there are many other nurseries that do. So lets get out there this year and build that butterfly garden in your own yard, you will love the result, and so will they.