Anybody from NEPA a butterfly gardener?

aggscottJune 13, 2007

I'm from the Plains area and I was wondering if there are any peoples who are into gardening for the butterflies? Planting host flowers and nectar flowers for the flying jewels and how that works here in NEPA for you.

Let me know if you would like to chat! I am always looking for someone who knows this area and knows what to plant..

Aggie

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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

Aggie:

I've planted many of the plants listed on the government handout, below (i.e. Eastern Redbud, White Pine, River Birch, Dogwood, Serviceberry, Milkweed, False Sunflower, Hardy Hibiscus, Coreopsis). I've also banned the use of pesticides and herbicides from my gardens. As a result, I've had a lot off good luck not only attracting butterflies but also many really lovely birds to my gardens. (I live in a fairly urban area, too.) I bought the fancier trees (i.e. Serviceberry) from private nurseries. But I've bought some of the others (i.e. River Birch and Redbud from the big home improvment stores). Doyles Farm, also linked below, is a good source for native flowers.

I am a transplant from Arizona and then Texas. I am thrilled with the way in which my gardens grow here in NEPA. Because I am from inhospitable climates, I am a big believer in using a lot of mulch, using organic fertilzers, and watering my plants. I have carried that habit with me to this area and it has served me well. I am sure that I've put down well over 30 bags of mulch so far this summer, and will put down about as many more before summer is done. I have a hose that is constantly dripping that moves from tree to tree, every 12 hours. There is a price for this, of course. My water bill was $300 in May -- which was quite a dry month. But, my gardens are new, and extensive, so I hope in the years to come, I won't have to water as much. The native flowers that I planted last year came back twice as large, this year. And the young trees that I planted the October before last have grown from $30 trees to $250 trees in just a year and a half. NEPA may have the same climate as Eden.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/infosheets/butterfliesandmoths.pdf

www.doylefarm.com

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 9:44AM
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aggscott

It is nice to garden here isn't it..I have been lucky so far and most of what I planted came back like you said much bigger and very healthy.

This is my first year butterfly gardening with host plants for them. I hope to get tons but, I'll settle for a few caterpillars. I planted alot of dill, fennel, and parsley for the black swallowtails and a few different types of Milkweed for the Monarchs. I am still learning which other types I can plant to have them lay eggs.

Aggie

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:54AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Hi Aggie and Westhighland,
I've always been a sorta butterfly gardener but more so in a way that liked them in the garden and let them eat the parsley- but not so much planting anything on purpose for them.
The year before last I noticed they really like the verbena bonariensis that was growing, so I keep planting more and more of that.... Last year I planted milkweed for the monarchs and ended up raising a few cats in the house. It was a great esperience.
This year it's going to be more verbena and more milkweed, I have to search out the self sown seedlings of both of those plants and put them where they'll do well. I hopefully will be a little more successful with butterfly bush cuttings this year than last. I'd like to add one or two of them to the garden.
This summer will be my fourth in this house and I've noticed a change in the number of birds and bugs that frequent the yard. I think it's a good thing. When I first started it was sad how few insects came to the flowers.... that reminds me, I have to figure out where to put the water feature. Maybe that will get started this summer!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 9:24PM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

Hi Aggie! I garden with (primarily) natives/native hybrids for the following goals: habitat (food/shelter) for the birds/small mammals, attract hummingbirds, attract/feed butterflies. I'd like to say I did it all myself...but frankly I paid a natural/native landscape designer here in the Lehigh Valley to design a landscape for my front, side and back yard with those goals in mind. The front and side were implemented last year and finished off this year. They've been very successful. You can't use insecticides and hope to have butterflies so you have to rely on the birds to come to get the insects...so you also are well off planting for the birds as well so they come to your yard! (Robins and sparrows are nice...but a variety of birds is better!)

I get loads of butterflies...I can't say particularly what they come to since there are about 400 plants in the front and side combined...maybe 35 varieties.

Interestingly, the asclepias tuberosa does not seem to have attracted much of anything although it is its first official year as a plant and not a seedling. I have heard the incarnata is favored over it but it's too large for my small garden.

I find they LOVE the Bluestar Amsonia WFF strain and I have attracted azures which I never had before, and naturally they love the rudbeckia and echinacea. Liatris and phlox David is a hit. They are rather indifferent to the coreopsis and potentilla. They DO like the roses I have planted. One plant which attracted people and butterflies alike (in droves) was Nepeta "Walkers Low". My side yard slopes a bit down to the sidewalk. I have a cottagey picket fence pulled about 15 inches back from the sidewalk. The 15 inches slopes terribly so last year, when it was planted from 3 inch pots and mulched I was spending a ton of time shoveling mulch back up INTO the bed. I planted the nepeta there. Like I said, last year they were 3 inch pot seedlings practically. This year the slope/garden was PACKED with gorgeous, airy almost glowing irridescent purple spires of nepeta. Which the stray cats do NOT like so they tend not to come into the side yard...a good thing! It was just LOADED with butterflies all spring and early summer.

Another great source for native plants in the Lehigh Valley is Edge Of The Woods in Foglesville. You can find them with a google search!

Feel free to email me if you'd like to chat!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 7:47AM
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