A butterfly sanctuary or habitat in our backyards is such a fantastic sight to behold and if we have a small lot or patch outback, its very simple to create our own butterfly friendly garden. Its all down to selection of what plants and flowers we are growing, as its the fragrance and nectar that attracts butterflies mainly. There are some specialist plants that are fantastic at attracting these butterflies, but by and large, if we have a good splash of colour, whether it’s from shrubs or flowers, that will serve as a magnet for these species.
I want to stress here, that there are two meanings to the title of this post and I want to distinguish briefly, the difference between the two. Creating a habitat or sanctuary could mean that we wish to rear and nurture butterflies from scratch, ie, capture some species, get breeding females to lay their eggs and watch them hatch from day one. Observe them from the egg stage right through to mature colourful fully grown butterflies and perhaps take notes and do some further research and so on. The other meaning is that we plant or incorporate some butterfly friendly plants into our backyards or back gardens and hopefully that would attract all types of butterflies into our premises. This is the method that we are writing about today and perhaps further on, down the road, we will cover the former idea in some great detail.
How to create a butterfly habitat;
So now that we are clear on what method of a habitat or sanctuary that we wish to create, its a simple task of plant and flower selection from here onwards. Of course if we have a vegetable garden and we are growing certain types of cabbages and other types of vegetables, that is one sure way of attracting butterflies to our backyards. But I suspect that most vegetable gardeners would not be happy with that idea and also would not be happy if they even saw butterflies in their vegetable plots or lots. That issue is for another day, so let’s look at how to create a butterfly habitat and how easy it is to get one set up.
First and foremost one of the most surefire ways or methods of attracting these butterflies is to plant a buddleia shrub and even on the first year if that shrub happens to flower, you will have these species flittering about this plant, all struggling and competing for its nectar. The buddleia is commonly known as the butterfly shrub or bush and for good reason, as we have just explained. This plant is very easy to grow and will thrive in almost any soil. Different varieties could flower in pink, red, purple or white. It’s usually in bloom from July right through to September. These shrubs need a little pruning in the springtime as they can grow up to 7ft from the ground in a single season.
What else could I plant;
As soon as we have planted our buddleia, from here onwards its a case of growing strong scented flowers or perhaps a little mixture of sweet smelling herbs. These would be lavender as a priority. This is the buddleia of the flower world in terms of attracting butterflies. Others that would attract these colourful species are milkwood, verbena, wall flowers, pansy or violas and lastly oregano. All of these varieties will certainly attract butterflies in thier droves and should guarantee a good display during the summertime. The point is we should not be limited or confined to this list as it’s possible that other varieties will also serve as attractive and enticing to these species.
Backyard or backgarden patch;
If by chance we have not cultivated our back gardens and it’s in a state of wildness, this will also serve as a butterfly habitat. Nature and the wild itself, once upon a time, acted as their own garden for their survival purposes, but sadly that habitat is being slowly and completely eroded from a number of points. The agricultural habits of fruit, grain and vegetable growers and farmers in general has meant that this once free and fertile hunting ground for these butterfly species no longer exists, sadly. Secondly the frequent usage of chemical sprays and pesticides means that their numbers is rapidly in decline as their habitat is being eroded. So if we have nettles or other similar type weeds like thistle and so on, these will serve as a host for the laying of their eggs. The leaves and stem material will serve as a good source of food and nourishment for them shortly after they hatch.
Become a butterfly supporter;
Perhaps we would like to become more involved in becomming a voluntary helper and would like to do more for the preservation of these species. If so, there are numerous local conservation butterfly groups who would like to welcome interested participants to their societies or groups. They would love for us to become a contributor to some of their research and analytic detailing voluntary organisations. Here we could offer our services in logging butterfly numbers, the different species that visit our backgardens, their feeding and drinking habits etc etc and all of that information, that the groups would be looking for.
Butterflies are very important to the gardens through their pollinating abilities, especially. They also lay hundreds of eggs and when these eggs hatch into larvae, this process will attract certain species of birds, who will only feed these caterpillars to their hatchlings. So from that angle we can see how the cycle of nature is so entertwined and its all very much comnected. Sadly their numbers are in serious decline through the advanced agri farming methods that exist today, so if we could do our bit to ensure their survival, we would feel good about ourselves for that and would also assist in their continued presence in our backgardens and backyards. As ever feel free to contact us at any stage through the comments box down under or if you would like to email us, please do so here…..