Butterfly Gardens and Such
I get an occasional email regarding advice on starting a butterfly garden. I am not a botanist or horticulturist, so the best I can do is give you some advice and some resources.
First, what is your philosophy? Some are willing to plant and grow anything that attracts butterflies. Some only want native plants; other are more restrictive in wanting "regional" natives. Each group becomes more and more restrictive in the pool of plants available. Natives are also much more difficult to grow and grow more slowly than ornamentals.
Second, what do you want, nectar sources for butterflies or food plants for the caterpillars? The above also applies. E.g. Sweet Fennel (Foenicum vulgare) is great. It is easy to grow and great at attracting Anise Swallowtails to lay eggs. The caterpillars are reasonably easy to rear, but fennel can become an nuisance and is considered a weed.
Third, consider your geographic area. There are plenty of seed catalogs, so ask yourself if a tropical plant will grow in Montana? Local nurseries and seed sources are the best bet, as they tend to have things that grow in your area. In most areas, there are now nurseries that sell native plants.
A wonderful butterfly garden has been created locally in the West Side of Los Angeles. Ms. Carlene Daggett, a science teacher at Culver Middle School, with the help of her students have created a butterfly garden right on campus just outside her classroom door. One can not enter the campus unannounced especially during the school day, but you can email her... (to be posted). The school's phone number is 310.842.4200.
Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden, 2nd ed. 1998. By the Xerces Society and Smithsonian Institute. 132p. ISBN: 0871569752. $24.00
Butterfly Gardening: Creating a Butterfly Haven in your Garden. 1996. By Thomas C. Emmel. Metro Books. 112p. ISBN: 167995254. $19.95.
The Butterfly Garden: Turning your Garden, Window Box, or Backyard into a Beautiful Home for Butterflies. 1986. By Matthew Tekulsky and Robert Pyle. Harvard Common Press. 160p. ISBN: 09782697.
NEWSLETTERS, ORGANIZATIONS and RESOURCES:
Butterfly Gardeners' Quarterly, P.O. Box 30931, Seattle, WA 98103. This quarterly published newsletter has a wealth of information on resources, gardens, nurseries, and gardening tips covering mostly the West. Subscription is $10/year.
The Butterfly Web Site, www.butterflywebsite.com. Offers information, products and links related to butterfly gardening.
North American Butterfly Association, 4 Delaware Road, Morristown, NJ 07960; www.naba.org. Subscription includes American Butterflies and Butterfly Gardener. The editor of the latter is Rita Venable, 601 Franklin Road, Franklin, TN 37079; firstname.lastname@example.org. Broad based but covers more Eastern stuff than Butterfly Gardeneers' Quarterly.
BioQuip Products, Inc., 17803 La Salle Ave., Gardena, CA 90248-3602; 310.324.0620; www.bioquip.com. Sells a wide array of books on insects including butterfly gardening, as well as equipment for collecting insects.
Your local Native Plant Society.
A group of students from a school somewhere in the East sent me the following URL, which should also be helpful. http://www.kremp.com/Butterfly-Flower-Gardening-articles.htm. There are other links from this site, which should be helpful. A lot of the plants are "generic" and should grow in your area.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SEED/NATIVE PLANT SOURCES:
Theodore Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352; 818.768.1802
Monrch Program, P.O. Box 178671, San Diego, CA 92177; 760.944.7113; 800.606.6627; FAX 760.436.1159; Monarchprg@aol.com
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