On Saturday, March 9th, Gardeners of SAMLARC learned all about attracting butterflies to the garden. California Nurseryman Kathie Wickham discussed the benefits of butterflies both in the garden and in the ecosystem as a whole. Afterward, each participant created a butterfly-friendly container garden to bring home!
Butterflies are friends to gardeners everywhere. Their symbiotic relationships with the plants they visit and their important role as pollinators help maintain the equilibrium of the garden’s ecosystem, and their bright colors add beauty to your garden!
The recent kaleidoscope of painted lady butterflies has been a beautiful display of these butterflies’ migration patterns. The migration of painted ladies spans from the dry deserts of Mexico to the lush Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest. The abundant rainfall and cool weather in February has kept plants verdant for longer periods of time, which in turn provides food for these butterflies.
The painted ladies may soon take their leave, but it’s easy to build a butterfly-friendly garden of your own – just drop by your local nursery! Common butterfly-friendly plants include: Lantana, buddleia, passion vine, aster, and cosmos. You can also select plants that attract specific types of butterflies: buckeye butterflies love clover and gaillardia; monarchs favor milkweed and zinnia; and orange sulphur butterflies enjoy clover and parsley.
Did you know you can also make food for butterflies? A small saucer with a sponge soaked in “nectar” works well. Mix 1 part plain sugar to 10 parts water. Soak a small piece of a clean sponge and place on a shallow dish. Set the dish in your garden, and wait patiently!
SAMLARC’s gardening workshops are the perfect way to learn about plants, insects, seasons, and more. Stay tuned for our upcoming Future Gardeners of SAMLARC children's workshop on April 27th!