Once you have committed yourself to creating a beautiful live butterfly garden, you are going to be faced with a number of questions. These run the gamut from what type of flowers should you plant to encourage butterflies to what kind of viewing opportunities are you going to have once the butterflies start to arrive. All good and important questions and you shouldn’t skimp on answering them. You, your garden – and most importantly, the butterflies who visit – will appreciate it.
And nowhere is a bit of planning and forethought as important as when you begin to ask yourself just how should you go about designing a butterfly garden? What’s the best layout for butterfly gardens?
Just how do you go about figuring this out.
We human beings have a preference for order. We like the red tulips here and the yellow tulips there. We like the azalea on the south edge of the garden and the lilac on the north. We have ideas about order. That’s all well and good but sometimes it’s important to take a look at Mother Nature and see how she approaches these landscape design questions.
The answer tends to be something like: with a little less planning and order than we like to see!
Keep that in mind when you are planning your garden layout for butterflies. Your goal is to create a natural butterfly habitat, one that will help them live the way they are supposed to live. The reality is that the world has changed – and continues to change – so dramatically that many butterfly species are losing their homes. They have no place to go. Your garden can help be a solution to that problem.
Try to focus on brightly colored plants. Host plants – plants that butterflies lay their eggs on, such as alfalfa and clovers and carrot to name just a few – should not be placed too far away from nectar plants, such as milkweed, lilac, Joe Pye weed. You don’t want emerging butterflies to have to struggle to feed themselves. Mix them up a bit!
Always avoid using insecticides and other chemical treatments in your butterfly garden. While butterflies can be remarkably sturdy and energetic creatures (consider the long flight of the Monarch), they will not fare well when exposed to most modern pollutants.
Take a little care when planning a butterfly garden, but don’t be afraid to be a bit reckless. Think like Mother Nature would. Your butterflies will be glad you did!