Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Friday, January 20, 2012

Butterfly garden...

One of the things I do in the garden world is to talk to Jeremy, the Brit, on his show About the House. (It's AM radio folks. Listen live if you don't know how to do AM on your radio. ha.) Every couple of weeks, I'll talk about some seasonally appropriate gardening topics. This week I've decided to bring up an entirely over-used, but awesome, topic- the butterfly garden. Part of why everyone wants to talk about / plant them/ enjoy them is because they do so well here in the Midwest. It features annuals that can be grown from seed and re-seed themselves, perennials that (if not native exactly) will become very comfortable in your KS garden and a few shrubs for structure and year-round interest.
We have lots of sun and soil that is not overly fertile (it's usually perfectly fertile, just lots of clay). Butterfly plants love this setup.
Add wind protection for the butterflies. Never use chemicals or pesticides (a granular time-release fertilizer when you amend your soil is ok). Add a place for the b'flies to get water- either a hollowed rock that holds water or a place to put moist soil will do. 

-Low Maintenance (no fancy pruning required)
-Xeric or simple water requirements (would like regular water until established, please!)

A Simple Plant List

Shrubs to ground the bed:
Buddleia, ‘Black Knight’ (wonderful dark purple butterfly bush- 5-6’H) (from plant)
Not "Black Knight" buts still nice.
Rhus typhina (Sumac), ‘Tigers Eye’ (from plant)
Perennial Flowers from plant: I mark these as "from transplant" because they will bloom reliably the first year from a plant. A seed start may take two years
Achillea (Yarrow), ‘Paprika’ (plant)  
Coreopsis gradniflora, ‘Zegreb’, ‘Early Sunrise’ (plant)
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (seed or plant)
Lavendula, ‘Hidcote’ (plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) (plant) food source
Monarda (Bee Balm), ‘Raspberry Wine’ (plant)
Sedum, ‘Vera Jameson’ (shorter and less likely to topple over) (plant)

From Seed:
Bronze Fennel (direct sow) - food source
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (direct sow or plant)
Larkspur (direct sow) - nectar
Liatris (Gayfeather) (plant, from seed) – nectar
Sunflower, Mexican Sunflower (direct sow)

There are lots of other wildflowers (annuals, perennials) that you could plant if you want things that direct sow and reseed: bachelor buttons, cleome, cosmos, poppies, nicotiana, zinnia

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