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Old 06-09-2010, 11:49 AM   #61
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Default 6. 7. Butterfly Garden Sources and Extras

Thank you TheLorax.

I got a little distracted from this thread, it's time to cover the last two items in the original outline:
  • 6. Find some sources for the host and nectar plants.
  • 7. Explore some possible extras - a puddling spot, identification books and websites, etc.
No. 6 is really easy; the best list of native plant nurseries that I know of is right here on WG. It's the 3 stickys on the North American Native Plants forum:
North American Native Plants - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

It's important to get plants for butterfly gardens from native plant nurseries. Not only because the native plant nurseries need your support, but native plant nurseries are much less likely to have used pesticides in growing their plants. Residual and systemic pesticides are a definite danger for the caterpillars and could also harm the adult butterflies. Whenever you are buying plants for a butterfly garden, always ask the seller if any pesticides have been used at any time on the plants that you are buying.

It's rarely mentioned by garden writers and the big box store nurseries, but a lot of the plants that they sell are produced by large agricultural operations. These agricultural operations are producing a monoculture crop just like corn or any other agricultural commodity, and pesticides are used as a common tool to increase production.


No. 7 is a kind of catch all for some other considerations for a butterfly garden. Butterfly feeders have been addressed in a couple of threads here in this forum, two of which are:
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...y-feeders.html
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...tterflies.html

"Puddling" has also been covered in other posts in this forum including
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...ly-garden.html
and in Cirsium's article on butterfly gardening (natural minerals):
The Complete Butterfly Garden

Some books and websites in a future post.

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Old 06-09-2010, 04:33 PM   #62
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Default 6. 7. Butterfly Garden Sources and Extras, cont'd

My favorite butterfly ecology book is (note that the title has for, not of):
A World for Butterflies: Their Lives, Behavior and Future
Phillip J. Schappert
Firefly Books, Inc
Amazon.com: A World for Butterflies: Their Lives, Behavior and Future…


My favorite Field Guide/ID book for the northern Midwest:
Butterflies of the North Woods: Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan
Larry Weber
Kollath+Stensaas Publishing
Amazon.com: Butterflies of the North Woods: Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan (North Woods Naturalist Guides) (9780967379357): Larry Weber: Books
Selecting a regional field ID guide covering just your area is very helpful. Some of the complete (all of the U.S. for example) guides are very good, but trying to find the specific butterflies in your area can be daunting with so many choices to sort through.

And for caterpillar IDs, I find this one helpful:
Caterpillars in the Field and Garden: A field guide to the Butterfly Caterpillars of North America
Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock, Jeffrey Glassberg
Oxford University Press, Inc
Amazon.com: Caterpillars in the Field and Garden: A Field Guide to the Butterfly…


Another helpful idea to keep in mind when creating a garden for butterflies is getting it certified by some conservation oriented organization like the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). Actually, it's getting the sign that says it's certified by an organization like NABA that's helpful. Putting up a sign like this can go a long way to making your project a success in the eyes of neighbors that aren't as environmentally aware as you are. The sign can make it a legitimate endeavor in their eyes, and it will also serve as an educational poster.
Butterfly Garden Certification

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Old 06-10-2010, 08:05 AM   #63
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Well I've made some headway. I've planted Taenidia integerrima – yellow pimpernel, Thaspium trifoliatum – purple meadow parsnip, Zizia aptera – heart-leaved golden alexander for Black Swallowtail. Mentha arvensis – wild mint for the Hermit sphinx. Some Baptisia australis – blue wild indigo, Dalea purpurea – purple prairie clover, and Verbesina helianthoides – crownbeard.
I already have nice fat monarch caterpillars eating my milkweeds.

The fleabane that I was looking for showed up on it own.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:09 AM   #64
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Way to go Milkweed!
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:14 PM   #65
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I hope to get Monarch caterpillars on their way south again later on. Spring...saw nothing of them! Meantime, I'm fighting the Swamp Milkweed beetles that have been eating my milkweed. As far as Black Swallowtails, they are numerous this year. Really using native host plants well...I have Daucosma and another wild parsley I haven't ID'd and some kind of wild dill that they use. And just recently got prairie parsley, besides the garden herb plants they also use.
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