Friday, April 29, 2011

Feed Them and They Will Come!

There have been multitudes of butterflies in my garden.  There were so many, even the lazy cats were interested!  It's always so uplifting to see them.  I don't know of anything else so universally loved.  Even though we know those leaves that have been chewed down to nothing had something to do with them!

I ended up getting pictures of only three different kinds.  Looking them up in my copy of "National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Butterflies, North America", this is what I learned:

American Painted Lady  
Range is subarctic North America to Mexico, Hawaii.  

Host plants include everlastings (Gnaphalium, Antennaria, Anaphalis).  This one had a small part of its wing missing on the upper left corner. 

Resides in southern US, west and north to Oregon, Ontario, New England.  

Host plants include plantain (Plantaginaceae); figworts (Shrophulariaceae); stonecrop (Crassulaceae); vervain (Verbenaceae).

Variegated Fritillary 
Range is from Arizona to Florida; can be seen in California; British Columbia 

 Host plants include violets and pansies (Viola); flax (Linum); passion flower (Passiflora); stonecrop (Sedum lancolatum); moonseed (Menispermum); plantain (Plantago).

As the summer continues, I hope to be able to take pictures of even more butterflies!  It's exciting to know that some of the plants in the garden have been host plants.  Although I have purposefully put some plants in the garden that are known as butterfly magnets, I have never actually tried to include their host plants.  I now see how that could be a fun part of gardening.  I may have to start looking into that!

Do you intentionally put host plants in your garden to attract butterflies?


  1. I love butterflies, great pics! I think I saw one monarch the other day. We have a lot of dark unidentified butterflies right now. You've motivated me to look it up!

  2. I love the butterflies too. Last year I seemed to have plenty by this time, but not so much this year... I wonder why? The bees sure are out!

  3. You're right I think everybody has some love for seeing butterflies or their photos. They're so pretty. I get some but hoping for more this year, but probably another year of growing here for most of my flowering shrubs to get what I am really hoping for.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  4. ohhhhhhhhh, yes! I absolutely plant for the butterflies and the birds. What joy they give.

    The Buckeye is one of my favorites, also love the Dogface, but don't know if you have them there. And the little azures, that blue is magical.

    All joys to you,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  5. Cynthia - I usually don't look them up, either, but this was so interesting I think I may have a new hobby!

    Jess - The bees came first in my garden. Is is still cool there? We are hotter than average. Just guessing - but maybe that's the difference.

    Cher - I am surprised to have so many. They will find your garden - and it may be sooner than you think!

    Sharon - I see you love butterflies! I was mesmerized by the Buckeye. Maybe I'll soon see some other kinds. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Great butterfly pictures. We do get some because I have so many flowers :), but I don't plant specifically for butterflies.

  7. Last year I had the same as Jess. Not as many butterflies, but loads of bees. I plant to attract both, but as far as planting for breeding, my yard is too tiny. I live so close to the Niagara Gorge, that there is milkweed everywhere and our Monarchs are happy.

  8. Masha - That's how I've been in the past. But, now, I'm getting a little more interested! Maybe I can find a butterfly seminar to go to!

    GWGT - A lot of the host plants are basically weeds, so they don't quite fit into a garden, unless it's very large. If you have milkweed around, you don't need to plant any in your garden. How nice!

  9. I'm impressed that you were able to get so many good shots of the butterflies - I love them all! I also appreciate the region and types of plants they enjoy info. Have a lovely weekend!

  10. Sally Lee - Thanks for your sweet comments. There are so many butterflies, and some are quite common, others not so. These are common - for this area, but could be a rare find elsewhere!

  11. Love the butterfly pictures!! I am a beekeeper so plant for my bees which many times is the same planting as for butterflies. I love having all the fluttering busy wings in my garden!

  12. Thanks for the great info, especially the book title. I have always wanted a good butterfly id book.

  13. Mary Ellen - What a great point! I never thought that the same things that attract butterflies would, of course, attract bees.

    Tufa Girl - I got this book years ago, but I definitely recommend it. Very easy to use - it has great photos for easy identification.

  14. It's so nice to see butterflies in the garden. They really brighten up the place, don't they? Looks like you have quite a few varieties. The ones I see here are very different from yours.

  15. One - Yes, butterflies are quite beautiful. I bet yours are gorgeous. I can imagine quite colorful!

  16. Hi HolleyGarden, I was looking through some of your older posts and came across these lovely butterflies. Oh how I miss them!

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!!

  17. charlie b - I'm still seeing lots of bees, but not many butterflies. I hope all these come back next year - and bring some friends! :) Happy Thanksgiving!


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