Sunday, November 20, 2016

Butterfly Garden

I was given a paper bag full of milkweed seeds.

milkweed seeds
Milkweed is the only food of the Monarch butterfly larva.  Monarch numbers have been declining, as have the populations of many types of butterflies in the United States.  Planting butterfly friendly flowers, including "weeds," is a way to help these important pollinators.  Imagine a flower patch without butterflies!  In my imagination it wouldn't be nearly so pretty as with them.

Now, a paper bag of seeds is not a butterfly garden, but I took it from there and ordered lots and lots of other butterfly garden seeds off eBay!  Hundreds of seeds... Thousands of seeds... more seeds than the entire neighborhood could ever use!  Fortunately, seeds last for years, many more years than packages indicate. 

1000 seeds?  If even two grow I'll have more than enough being that yarrow is a perennial!

Mexican Butterfly Weed is a kind of milkweed.  This shouldn't be planted in areas where it will grow all winter.  Some studies have shown it can cause a parasitic infection in areas where Monarch butterflies winter.  It's an annual in my area, so it will be fine.  The photos remind me of lantana. 
Another annual, but sunflowers grow quickly from seed, and 50 seeds will last me 5 years!

The mix contains:

  • Bishop’s Flower - also known as false Queen Anne's lace.  I'll have keep a watch on this one, if I see it growing I'll need to pull it out; Bishop's flower is toxic to dogs.  Not that my dogs are big flower eaters, but Boo does have a passion for zinnia leaves so I'll err on the side of caution.  If I'd known (done my research) this before purchase, I wouldn't have bought these seeds. 
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • California Poppy - a self-seeder that will come back year after year if I leave the seed pods
  • Candytuft - I am not a fan of candytuft, but if the butterflies and bees like it... 
  • Cornflower
  • Dwarf Cosmos
  • Dwarf Godetia - an easy to grow annual, native to my region
  • Gayfeather - also called blazing star, this one is a biggie, 2' -5'' tall and as wide, one will do!
  • Indian Blanket
  • Lance-Leaved Coreopsis
  • New England Aster
  • Perennial Lupine
  • Plains Coreopsis
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Purpletop Vervain - another tall one.  It seems many butterfly flowers are tall and gangley plants. 
  • Shasta Daisy - I plan to buy a Shasta daisy plant or two. They are perennials, growing up to 2'-3' tall and 2' wide.
  • Siberian Wallflower
  • Sweet Alyssum - easily self-seeds
  • Sweet William Pinks - Pinks are itty bitty carnations and smell so sweet. 
My Rocky Mountain Penstemon (beardtongue) seeds are back ordered.   I think I have a penstemon plant in a pot that blooms every summer.

But, where will this butterfly garden be?  

Right there! 

Pretty much in the exact center of this photo.  Oh... dear... look at that broken trellis.

Why there?  Because of a photo I found online.  I am unable to post its photo here, but it is fabulous!   I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the garden!!!  I love the curving path and beds, I love the beds made from various materials, I love the trellis in the foreground... I love the cat...  

The basic shape, size and layout of the garden is similar to the shape, size and layout of my far-back yard.  It even has a building on the right side, where my shed is.  I put the photo of it side by side with mine and day dream!   

What will I use to build the beds?  I hope to find some of those curved scalloped edging blocks, those ones that are made from reddish concrete, designed to circle trees.  They aren't pretty, but they're cheap and will do the job.  My local stores (Home Depot and Lowe's) don't carry the curved ones, which is what I want. I might be able to find some on Craiglist by the time I need them, spring.   9 edgers make a 3' diameter circle.  I thought 3 circles set close together would leave an open area in the middle for one of the larger perennials.   

The butterfly garden will have to be my 2017 spring project for the far-back yard.  A little at a time and I'll get that "dream garden" look!  

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