At Homeshcool Pool we had a bit of a dilemma. We have an area in front of our shrubs that needed something. The grass was a bit out of control and with the recent deluge we’ve had, it wasn’t getting any better. So, we wanted to reduce the amount of grass there and put in something cool. Enter the butterfly garden.
Who doesn’t like butterflies? So, why not plant some flowers that attract them? We will still have quite a bit of work to maintain them but it will be a lot more fun, all the Homeschool Pool children will be able to participate in regular maintenance and the result will be a more attractive landscape with great opportunities for science and nature activities.
First, we started out contacting our local gardening center, The Arbor Gate, to discuss what we should put where. We had this to work with:
We decided on two larger plants and a variety of other host and nectar plants of varying heights. We are putting the tallest in the back and the shortest in the front. The two larger plants will go to each side. After we have it laid out we will also add a small bird bath and some decorative ornaments. Not only will our plants attract and feed butterflies (and their caterpillars) but many will also attract hummingbirds.
We purchased Buddleia Davidii to flank our garden. These get pretty large. We got them with white and purple flowers. They are also known by butterfly bush or summer lilac. These are nectar flowers and attract both butterflies and hummingbirds.
The back row is going to consist of Asclepias currassavica also known as Mexican butterfly weed or milkweed. It is a food source for Monarch and Queen caterpillars and a nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Interspersed with these will be some fennel which is primarily a food source for caterpillars. The black swallowtail butterfly in particular likes fennel. Plus, it adds a nice contrast to the broader leaves of the milkweed. Our fennel:
The next row will consist of Pentas in different colors. These attract both butterflies and hummingbirds for the nectar.
The next row is a variety of ecinacea plants. We selected ones that are different colors but that will grow approximately the same height. These attract butterflies.
Next are rudbeckias, Denver Daisies, Black-eyed Susans…same thing. They attract butterflies.
Finally, we have zinnias to attract the butterflies.
It’s a little hard to see in this picture but it will be better when we get the area tilled. But, to get you an idea, this is what it will look like newly planted:
Tomorrow the Homeschool Pool kiddos have co-op and then we will get to the completion of the bed. While we are doing that, Homeschool Dad is renting a tiller to get the ground ready. While he is at it, he will get the grass out of the backyard where we will be putting our new patio. The Homeschool Pool kiddos will have a lot of different Home Ec projects for homeschool on the horizon…good thing they love gardening!