Saturday, September 11, 2010

Flowers that fly!!

How can I create a butterfly garden?

"These are flowers that fly" Poet Robert Frost, on butterflies

Frost is not alone in acknowledging the wonder of butterflies.

They have inspired novels, movies fashions and songs. And today, more flower gardens are devoted to attracting butterflies.

Recently, Crystal Ritchie, Balboa Park's (In San Diego Ca.) horticulturist, pointed out the features of the park's Zoro Butterfly Garden. The Garden was filled with blooming flowers, and as the morning gray faded and sunlight poired in, the butterflies, emerged in numbers all monarchs on this particular day.

With a bit of planning, you, too, can replicate this enchanting scene.

Butterfly gardens are easy to establish. They can be large or small, simple or elaborate, in containers or in the ground. Follow a few modest requirements, and you can create a spot that satisfies the needs of the insect's life cycle - from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly.

Your garden needs to be sunny and protected from the wind, and it must provide host plants to feed the caterpillars. Nectar plants to feed the caterpillars. Nectar plants are also needed to sustain the butterflies, Ritchie said. A muddy patch for moisture, some small structures or woody shrubs for the chrysalis to adhere to , and a smooth rock on which adult butterflies will sun round out the essentials.

Host plants to feed the caterpillar during its short life include fennel, passion vine, columbine and natives such a butterfly wee. Be prepared for stripped stems and damaged plants, thanks to the caterpillars. "To have a butterfly garden, you have to willing to accept that it won't be perfect. But the maintenance is easy and the host plants survive".

Nectar plants are the attraction for adult butterflies, and butte fly bush is a huge favorite. Butterflies also like lantana, marigolds and pincushions flower, Choose flowers with flat surfaces that butterflies can light upon a short tubes that allow then to reach the nectar. Select some drought resistant natives, too.

Flowering annuals are good for quick color. Plant perennials in the background so they can be left alone to grow flower, die back and reseed.

San Diego is favored, with a temperate climate assuring a variety of butterflies year- round. Common species here include the monarch, Gulf fritillary, painted lady, mourning cloak and tiger swallowtail. While most summer butterflies here winter over the central California coast or Mexico, some, including the monarchs and painted ladies, make San Diego heir permanent home.

People enjoy butterfly gardens, they're great places to stop and relax.

And when establishing your own butterfly retreat, and a comfy garden chair these flying flowers are known to land on a shoulder.

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