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Heather's Helpful Hint

Butterfly Gardens
July 19, 2010

Creating a habitat for butterflies has become one of the most popular gardening activities in the last few years. It is interesting and fun for gardeners of all ages. What can be more beautiful than butterflies fluttering around your garden?

Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny location (5-6 hours a day) which is sheltered from strong winds. Butterflies need the sun to warm themselves, but they will not want to feed in an area where the winds keep them from staying on your plants long enough to feed.

If winds are a problem, you may want to provide a shelter for these lovely creatures by adding a butterfly house to your garden. It has slots which are the ideal size for keeping birds out while giving the butterfly protection from the wind and weather.

Like all living creatures, butterflies need a source for water. Consider keeping a bowl of wet sand in your garden to encourage a flurry of activity.

What you plant is the most important aspect of your garden. Butterflies need nectar plants for adults to feed on, and plants which provide food for their offspring which are referred to as host plants. (You may be surprised to know that the offspring are actually caterpillars, all part of a very interesting life cycle).

Nectar comes from flowering plants, and other plants less noted for flowers, like parsley, dill, and fennel provide food for caterpillars. Flowers with multiple florets like verbena and buddleia produce abundant nectar. Perennials and annuals alike can be great sources.

It is absolutely necessary that you avoid the use of pesticides in your butterfly garden. There are safe alternatives if need be.

Please stop by Waterloo Gardens for help creating and maintaining your butterfly garden.

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