|Butterbloom's Garden..................Page 7|
Butterflies are For Everyone!
We had a hard freeze twice this winter (2003) and many of my plants suffered. I am working to replace this this spring. I made a new discovery at one garden center. A flowering plant called "Osteospermum". It struck my eye because of it's beautiufl daisy-like blooms and it's hardy bush look. I had never seen these before, so I thought I would buy some and see how they did in my garden. I researched them on the internet and ran across a site devoted to the plants. www.osteospermum.com This site is from the UK and done by husband and wife Rob and Liesbeth. I sent an email to them to inquire about butterflies being attracted to them and was delighted to hear back with an affirmative! Rob told me that not only do the adults like them but the caterpillars as well. He sent me some beautiful pictures of butterflies feasting on them to which I have added below by his permission. I think I am going to really enjoy the Osteospermums.
Painted Ladies enjoying the nectar of Osteospermum.
You may know that bees are important pollinators. But did you know that many species of butterflies, bats, birds, moths, flies and even mammals are also pollinators? In fact they are so essential to reproduction that most of the world's plant life could not exist without them. Unfortuately, pollinators have been taken for granted and they are their existence is being threatened. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported an, "impending pollination crisis". With the increase of pesiticide usage, habitats disappearing, and disease, the population of pollinaters has decreased dramatically in the past ten years. Hopefully, the new interest in butterfly gardening will help to bridge part of the gap that this loss has created. You can share this important and fun hobby with children as well as your neighbors and friends. My neighbors are enjoying seeing more butterflies in their own gardens that have discovered adult or larval food needs in their yards after being drawn to something in my yard.
This is an ornamental bush that has flamingo like plummage, thus it's nickname is the "flamingo plant", also known as Brazilian Plume, this is Justicia. I don't know that it attracts anything but me in the garden, but I love it! This plant comes from my late mother's yard. Be sure you get some of your loved ones plants. I often think of her when I see this plant.
Cassius Blue butterfly. ( above )
On March 30th 2003 I discovered a new batch of monarch caterpillars on my pathetic looking milkweeds. I gathered them up and got out one of the rearing houses. I soon saw that I was in desparate need of milkweed again this year so I set off looking for some. I managed to find some at a rather high priced nursery. They were $4.99 in one gallon pots. They weren't tall but fortunately they were leafy. And to my delight they had yellow blooms instead of the multi- scrarlet that I've always had. Two days later and many more caterpillars discovered, I realized that I hadn't bought enough. So I went in search again. This time I found one gallon pots at $2.97 at one of the home improvement center's garden area. I found another Milkweed that I had yet to encounter, a small compact plant with dainty off-white flowers that had a tinge of burgandy to them. The leaves were green to burgandy as well. This Milkweed is Asclepias Perennis.( Update: This plant did not do well in my garden and did not attract like the other varities. In researching this on the internet I found a site devoted to Milkweeds. They offer many different varities of seeds. To visit it, go to: http://www.milkweedfarm.com/nd
Make your garden fun and you'll enjoy every visit to it!
This is "Mock Orange". Notice how much it looks like an Orange Blossom. It smells just as sweet and many things are attracted to it. This grows to a nice small tree about 10 foot tall. We had one blue-jay that was actually hanging upside-down from it by his beak. I'm not sure what he was trying to accomplish but it was quite comical. These trees can be shaped and the truck can be twisted like that of a weeping fig. If bought already this way they run in the hundreds of dollars.
The smallest of cute little buggers is a ladybug. . This one finds a resting place on cuphea or cigar plant.
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Copyright: 2002-2003 - Debbie K. Rhodes
Please Grow Milkweed to help Preserve the Monarch Butterfly!