Are you looking for a project which will add beauty to your yard, attract and provide for native wildlife, and requires only the amount of space you have available? A butterfly garden is the perfect project for you.
Things You Will Need
Before you begin creating your garden, take some time to discover the types of butterflies in your area and the plants they prefer. Not only do they require feeding plants, but plants they can lay their eggs on and caterpillars can feed on. Some good plants to start with are aster, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed and butterfly bush, daylilies, golden rod, lilac, purple coneflower, rosemary, and lavender.
Because butterflies are insects and therefore cold-blooded, you will need to provide sunny areas in your garden. They also need protection from the wind. Think about adding a small fence, shrubs, or a large rock to provide this protection. A large rock will do double duty, as it also provides a place for the butterfly to bask in the sun and store heat. Honeysuckle would be a good plant to use, as it will provide wind protection and food.
Your butterfly garden can be any size but the width of the bed should allow you to reach all areas easily. Remove grass from area. Mix in compost, potting soil, or shredded leaves. You can start planting now, but your bed will eventually erode if you do not add a border. A border can be made from virtually anything you have on hand - railroad ties, stones, bricks, cement blocks, etc. When your border is complete and your soil is ready it is time to add annuals and perennials. By adding a wide variety of plants, including wild and cultivated plants, as well as plants which bloom at different times, you increase your chances of attracting a variety of butterflies.
Plant taller plants in the back of the garden, midsized plants in the middle, and short plants in the front. Not only will this be beautiful, it will allow high and low-feeding butterflies easy access to their favorite plants. Add mulch to control weeds and to hold in moisture.
Butterflies need water but cannot drink from large open water sources. Bury a plastic lid ( coffee or margarine container lids) to the lip. Add water, stale beer, or sweet drinks. Lay a stick or two across the lid to give butterflies a place to perch. Remember to check their water supply daily.
This project, depending on the size you have chosen, can be completed anywhere between a day and a weekend. But the enjoyment you will get out of it will last much longer than that.