Monday, April 11, 2011

Butterfly Garden

My neighbor, Rita, emailed me today to ask me to help her put in a butterfly garden at her house.  What a fun project!!  She found this link on the U of M extension website and we have plans to do something similar.

Figure 1. A sample butterfly border garden has a large variety of host plants.
Figure 1
  1. Tawny daylily
  2. ‘Marine’ heliotrope
  3. Gayfeather
  4. Butterfly weed
  5. Petunia
  6. Mountain bluet
  7. Annual aster
  8. ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum
  9. Rock cress
  10. French marigold
  11. ‘Happy Returns’ daylily
  12. Blanket flower
  13. Nasturtium
  14. Goldenrod
  1. Purple coneflower
  2. Dill
  3. Hollyhock
  4. Joe-Pye weed
  5. Globe centaurea
  1. Peony
  2. Turtlehead
  3. Swamp milkweed
  4. Yarrow
  5. Queen Anne’s lace

Rita has been gracious enough to open her garden to us for our use, which is where we grow most of our veggies, in true neighborhood gardening fashion.  She has a great spot to add a butterfly garden as she has a large, sunny lot.  I have some of these plants here that we can divide, but for the most part, we'll have to spend some serious time at the greenhouse or at my favorite plant stop, Glorified Weeds!

I'm not a butterfly expert, and I'm only an amateur plant enthusiast, so I'd love to have some feedback or suggestions for this project.


  1. Just running to get ready for work, but I want to look up the plants here that I don't already know. The ones I do know, I really like. I've noticed that bees are incredibly attracted to the sedum 'autumn joy'.

    This looks like a really fun project!

  2. Hi Billie Jo,

    I was so glad you asked me about the rose campions. (I LOVE them.) My friend gave me some years ago and told me they only bloom every two years. I really missed them on the 'in-between' years, until I found out that they are a biennial and not a perennial at all.

    So if you had flowers last year, the seeds from them will have started what I call 'first year plants'. In my zone (and I am guessing yours) they will have stared to grow late last summer or fall and they are sort of 'evergreen' - so they will be small round rosette-kind of shaped plants now. They will continue to grow this summer into large, low, rosette type shapes. When the snow melts in the spring of 2012, they will still be there (evergreen looking) and over the summer, they will send up tall stems and you'll have lots and lots of blooms on them. The seeds will pop, and start 'first-year plants for 2013.

    You could look and see if there are any 'second-year plants' around - you'll know because they will be quite a bit larger - and, if there are, they will bloom this year and you'll have blooms this summer and forever more! (Because you'll have first and second year plants in your garden at all times.)

    If you don't see any second year plants, you could either 1) see if any of your gardening friends have any and could give you some or 2) go to a nursery and buy some. The ones you would buy this year would be ones that will bloom this summer.

    Because they are so good at self-seeding, I always keep an evelope of the seeds, to make sure I can start them where I want them.

    If you're not sure if you have second-year plants, I'll make a post on my bog with photos of them.

  3. I'm not sure that it seems like I answered your question, but yes, I think it's possible that you may have dormant seeds from two years ago. That's what I meant for checking to see if you have the 'second-year plants'.

    Sometimes I just run on....

  4. I was following you. :) I'd love to see pictures of those second year plants. I'm HOPING that's what I have going on there, but I'm not sure. If not, I like your idea of getting some this year that will bloom, because they truly are one of my favorites. I got some in white from a friend last year as well but I know I won't have any this year since they flowered last, but the darker pink ones are still my favorite.