Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Catching Up & Butterflies!

Well, i really got behind! LOL!
Our computer went down, the weekend of my last post, then a lot of things have been happening here.

Anyhow, garden wise, we have been busy busy busy!
E has helped me to plant out our peas, garlic, red onions, carrots (2 varieties) sweetcorn, various salad leaves & lots of strawberries. We also have lots of herbs growing...peppermint, spearmint, orange mint (to attract the butterfies) parsley, sage, rosemary (no thyme! LOL!) regular mint, melissa, camomile. And then the flowers! We have four o'clocks in pots, sweetpeas & echinacea where sown yesterday, & a general butterfly arracting mix was sown a few days ago.

Now, any particular reason for the butterfly mix????? Well, we have purchased a butterfly 'growing' kit! It came with a little 'house' for them, plus a feeding pipette & a certificate to send of for our caterpillars....which have arrived today & are sitting downstairs waiting for E to come home from pre-school. Can you sense my excitement!!!!????

Here is a good article from the NWF with ideas to attract butterflies to your garden:
Attracting Butterflies
Brightly colored butterflies can be a welcome addition to your Backyard Wildlife Habitat landscape. To attract the greatest number of butterflies and have them as residents in your yard you will need to have plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly. They need a place to lay eggs, food plants for the larva (caterpillar), a place to form a chrysalis, and nectar sources for the adult.
Most adult butterflies live 10-20 days. Some, however, are believed to live no longer than three or four days, while others, such as overwintering monarchs, may live six months.
More than 700 species of butterflies are found in North America. Very few are agricultural pests. Adult butterflies range in size from the half-inch pigmy blue found in southern California to the giant female Queen Alexandra's birdwing of New Guinea, which measures about 10 inches from wing tip to wing tip. Butterfly tarsi or "feet" possess a sense similar to taste. Contact with sweet liquids such as nectar causes the proboscis to uncoil. Millions of shinglelike, overlapping scales give butterfly wings their color and patterns. Metallic, irridescent hues come from faceted scales that refract light; solid colors are from pigmented scales. During the time from hatching to pupating (forming the pupa or chrysalis), the caterpillar may increase its body size more than 30,000 times. The chrysalises or pupae of many common gossamer wings - a group of butterflies which includes the blues, hairstreaks and elfins - are capable of producing weak sounds. By flexing and rubbing together body segment membranes, sounds are generated that may frighten off small predators and parasites.
Plants That Attract Butterflies
Adults searching for nectar are attracted to:
red, yellow, orange, pink, or purple blossoms
flat-topped or clustered flowers
short flower tubes
Short flower tubes allow the butterflies to reach the nectar with their proboscis. Nectar-producing plants should be grown in open, sunny areas, as adults of most species rarely feed on plants in the shade.
Many caterpillars are picky eaters. They rely on only one or two species of plants. The caterpillar of the giant swallowtail butterfly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states feeds on just two native plant foods - northern prickly ash and hop tree. Others, such as the red-spotted purple, will feed on a variety of deciduous trees.

1 comment:

Disney for Boys said...

Your garden sounds lovely! I really need to make the time to garden and plant more! Thanks so much for the butterfly garden tips, we have a hug butterfly bush that is getting close to blooming , we love it! Well im glad your back and that all is well!