Posted: Jan-16-2004 at 9:56am
Okay . . . here's one: Butterfly Gardens! I have been saying I ought to make one . . . one of these years . . . so a Butterfly Garden is on my List Of Things To Do this year. Browsed through the Bluestone Perennials catalogue, looked at their plan for one, and am thinking of ways to adapt it to PNW gardens and butterfly species (e.g. instead of chives, plant Nodding Onion; instead of New England Asters, plant native Aster species). I think I can plant the BG around all the tulip bulbs; that way, the BG plants will be growing and blooming as the tulip foliage is turning yellow and wilting (or so goes the theory--we shall see if that is the case). The area is small, but I think I can do it. I am hoping to pick up more info on Butterfly Gardens at the F & G show next month.
Posted: Jan-16-2004 at 10:25am
Oh some fun topics coming up, I feel so nourished!
I have compiled a list of plants in the landscaping section and what butterflies they attract. But even more important is the host plants for the caterpillars which I also have a list of. So you might want to check that section of this site out.
Host plants not only will invite butterflies into your garden, but provide some much needed habitat for them since so much of their habitat is being destroyed. The problem though is you must be able to handle the caterpillars munching on the host plants.
Posted: Jan-16-2004 at 2:03pm
Two plants that I find butterflies swarm all over when they are in bloom is Eupatorium purpureum 'Atropurpureum' and Origanum laevigatum 'Herrenhausen'. I am sure any Joe Pye weed or oregano would do the same but these are the varieties I grow. Anything in the asteraceae family whether perennial or annuals are good butterfly nectar plants. Asters, sunflowers most daisies really bring in the butterflies. I think your plan is a good one with the tulip garden.
I bought my ticket for the Flower and garden show but haven't looked at the schedule of gardens. A butterfly garden will be a nice garden to look at!
Posted: Jan-16-2004 at 4:09pm
Thanks for the list of plants in the landscaping section, Debbie! I've thought about the caterpillars munching on the host plants . . . I guess they'll look ratty for a while, might lose some . . . but hey--that's nature, right? My gardening rule is never plant anything so rare or expensive that you'll cry if it dies. I remember reading somewhere that only 2 out of 100 eggs makes it to an adult butterfly. I suspect that by attracing butterflies, I will also attract birds that feed on caterpillars and butterflies . . . which is also part of nature, and I love birds as much as butterflies.
Posted: Jan-16-2004 at 7:07pm
Barb, Yes, but not only birds but beneficial insects such as predatory wasps and pollinators of all kinds. Butterfly gardens are great for organic gardeners as they bring in the army of helpers.
Posted: Jan-19-2004 at 12:31am
A good native shrub to plant for the butters INSTEAD of the invasive butterfly bush (that is fast becoming a serious pest in the NW) is Spirea douglasii. If you have a wet area this would be great plant for a difficult area and the butterflies will love it.
Posted: Jan-19-2004 at 7:16am
There is a corner next to the front porch where the downspout comes down that is very wet in winter, and I've drowned a few plants there (the most heart-breaking was a Tuscan Blue Rosemary). I currently have a dwarf yew in there that is surviving, but is not very attractive; a Spirea douglasii may be just the thing!
Posted: Jan-20-2004 at 4:24pm
Wow, I'm surprised the yew is surviving at all since I thought they liked good drainage.
That would be a good spot for Douglas spirea. This is a native I haven't grown yet so I can't speak from experience but most literature and native plant gardeners point out its tendency to spread so give it room. Some call it agressive. In Gardening with Native Plants in the Pacific Northwest, Arthur Kruckeberg writes Where bog and dry land meet, one can often find the hybrid between Spirea douglasii and S. betulifolia. . . The hybrid . . . S. X pyramidata . . . is an easy and attractive garden plant, tolerating sun or shade and dry to rather moist sites. If you're limited on space, this one might be worth trying.
Debbie, it's been awhile since I went to your butterfly gardening resources. I forgot all the great info you have supplied. Thanks!
Posted: Jan-22-2004 at 8:27pm
Thanks, Lisa, for the info on S. x pyramidata. I will look into that one. I think the yew is surviving because I did put a lot of sand into the planting hole, after I lost the Rosemary. (Or it may not even be a yew--it doesn't have the foliage or shape of a yew. The nursery tag in the pot may not have been its own.)