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View the Life Cycle of the Butterfly

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There are many reasons to start a butterfly garden.   The four main goals of a butterfly garden are:

1. Planting gardens is environmentally sound and helps bring plants and flowers back into populated, urban areas.

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2. Bringing native plants back into your local area, as these are often driven out by commercial and foreign varieties in many homes and gardens
3. Helping to preserve many species of butterflies that are threatened by the ongoing destruction of their habitat.

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4. Enjoying some of nature's most beautiful creatures by attracting them and nurturing them around your home.

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Keep these points in mind when planning your butterfly garden:
but1.gif (1074 bytes) Attracting butterflies into your garden is not difficult.  Butterflies are equipped with a finely tuned and highly sensitive sense of smell. If you plant the right flowers they will come and make your garden their home.  

but2.gif (1074 bytes)Butterflies can identify their favorite plants from miles away and travel for hours to taste the nectar of the flowers. They will lay eggs and remain nearby as long as you tend to your garden, keeping it healthy and blooming. In fact, you will be surprised to learn that the butterflies will probably arrive within only a few hours of the season's first flowers! It isn't difficult to make your backyard home to dozens at a time, giving you hours of enjoyment and helping the environment at the same time.

but3.gif (1074 bytes) Each different butterfly species has its own favorite flower, so it is even possible to plan your garden to attract your favorite varieties.

but1.gif (1074 bytes) The selection of the right plants is the key to the success of your butterfly garden. Primarily, flowering nectar bushes and clumps of impatiens and the like are favorite haunts for these colorful creatures. The butterflies suck out the nectar as food, travelling from flower to flower, carrying pollen with them. This close relationship is one of nature's finest natural cycles. With careful plant selection, you can be assured of attracting butterflies for much of the year.

 but2.gif (1074 bytes)Not only are butterflies attracted to specific flowers, but they also seem to favor specific colors, another factor which should be considered as you select your plants. For instance, yellow Sulphur butterflies prefer yellow cassia, which affords them excellent camoflage among the flowers. This relationship is two-fold, in that the yellow cassia is also the Sulphur caterpillars' favored food.

but3.gif (1074 bytes) You should also consider the needs of the caterpillars as you sketch out your plan. Adult butterflies that frequent your garden will make it their lifelong home if they have a ready place to lay their eggs. Caterpillars are fussy eaters, so you will have to include the specific types of leafy green vines, shrubs, and trees that will like. Many species depend on a single plant type for their caterpillar food source. As a result, an adult butterfly will spend hours carefully selecting a specific leaf on the plant that will be best for the newborn caterpillars. Include the right caterpillar plant in your garden and you have the perfect invitation for long term residency. It's as easy as that!

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Bumblebees abound in the Gaillardia.
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A morning feast for a Daddy Long Legs.
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The peach buds and flowers of the butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa.
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Seed pods of Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata: an integral part of the Monarch Butterfly's life.

View the Life Cycle of the Butterfly

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This page was created and is maintained by David Sornberger. I would like to thank Dunsford District Elementary School's students and staff for their contributions to this site.