Gardening for butterflies

Juanita S. Neal, Susan Brodeur

Abstract


We attend workshops, planted weeds in our yard; endured our plants being ravaged by hungry, fat little critters, all for the sake of catching a glimpse of a fluttering beauty. These flying, flittering flowers with the sun shining on their wings create a warm spot in many a heart. Their beauty is enough to stop a body dead in their tracks. The Spanish call them mariposa, and we know them as butterflies. Gardening to attract butterflies starts with a plan. To develop a butterfly demonstration garden on the St. Lucie County Extension grounds, first a group of Jr. Master Gardeners identified the needs of a butterfly, the types that could be found in the butterfly zones of Florida and which plants would be nectar or larval food sources. The gardeners narrowed the list to the butterflies and plants that would be appropriate for this area. The group was taught how to design a garden, they visited a butterfly garden and created individual landscape plans for the garden. A local landscape architect captured all of the ideas into a final design. The gardeners have designed an educational kiosk to explain the butterfly life cycle and the major elements that one must consider in developing a garden for butterflies. The Jr. Master Gardeners are very proud of the garden and its designation is an educational element of the St. Lucie County Extension site.

Keywords


junior master gardeners; host plants; nectar plants; caterpillars

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283