Last year, I went totally overboard buying iris. I was handsomely repaid with an amazing show in just about every color of the rainbow. I did my best to document the bloom time of the iris but they soon got away from me, a new one bursting into bloom every day for a month. I will try again next spring.
I have been remiss in my garden blogging (and all blogging, honestly. I have very good reason, which I’ll write about soon). With the end of summer fast approaching, I am trying to get in as much gardening time as possible. This year’s project is a butterfly garden.
It first occurred to me during iris season. The iris were stunning, stately flowers, huge and vibrant. I obviously did a great job preparing the beds because the plants grew green and strong. Maybe I did too good of a job, because it felt a little like I’d created a three foot wall in front of the house. So, while I love the iris, a few of them are getting relocated this fall so I can walk outside and not feel walled in. I’ve already moved a bunch and I’m doing a few more this weekend.
I was sitting on the porch watching a couple of those little white cabbage butterflies fluttering around when I remembered that I’d always meant to pay more attention to buying butterfly-attracting plants. (The thought also came to me time and again while running at The New Overpeck Park, where they’ve carefully planted native plants and the butterflies are just teeming). I’ve had butterfly bushes for years, but I’ve always known that to get serious about attracting butterflies I had to research host plants (where butterflies lay their eggs) and nectar plants. I always love a good research project, so I spent hours looking into what to buy. Happily, since it’s the end of the season, just about everything is discounted.
So this weekend I’m building a new bed (supporting my ongoing lawn-murdering project and replacing water-guzzling grass with native plants). I’ve also bought plants that are making the butterflies go crazy with happiness. (Fair warning: if you’re thinking of building a butterfly garden, please know the bees will love it too. I love bees and am very committed to supporting them since they are in crisis, but if you don’t then butterfly gardening is not for you).
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
- Russian sage (the butterflies went NUTS for this a couple of weeks ago. Now it must not be at its tastiest because they’re leaving it alone.
- Salvia East Friesland
- Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and Agastache Raspberry Summer
- Button Flower
- Black eyed Susans
- Purple coneflowers
- I also found the most gorgeous red coneflowers. They are amazing.
- Neon sedum and sedum T rex
- Gallo Dark Bi-color Blanket Flower
- Verbena Homestead purple
- First Lady Speedwell and First Glory Speedwell, Longfolia “Charlotte” Speedwell and First Love Veronica Speedwell
- “Asian Moon” Butterfly Bush (three of these)
- Pink Fountain Gaura
- Milkweed, which is the plant where monarchs like to lay their eggs. I found three gorgeous swampy milkweed plants at the local nursery.
I know that looks like a lot but, remember: sales! Also, well, yeah, gardening is my one vice. I’d cut back on my own food to buy plants.
Energy and time willing, the new bed will go in tomorrow. Before frost I want to extend two of the beds I built last year as well. The goal is to map it and to document each plant with a picture, but from my experience with the iris last year, that might be ambitious. Let’s see!
Enjoy the butterfly pics and stay tuned.