Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Butterflies Abundant in GBCC Gardens

By GBCC Gardener Mary Lemens

The warm weather is finally a regular visitor for us. With the warmth comes insects. This mild winter and cool wet spring means no winter kill for a lot of insect species. It remains to be seen just which ones will become prominent. I have spotted early arrivals of some of my favorite insects, the Wisconsin native butterflies:

  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail 
  • Monarch
  • Painted Lady
  • Red Admiral

Each one has unique food sources and places to lay eggs. Milkweed as we know is the only food source for Monarchs as well as where they lay eggs. The caterpillars feed on the plant leaves of the plant as well. Most other butterflies will feed on the plant nectar of any flower.  They have some preferences for plants they lay eggs on including Aster, black eyed Susan, cone flowers, hollyhocks, Shasta daisies, dill, and fennel to name a few. I try to include many butterfly and insect-friendly plants in the gardens here. It is amazing how many insects a diverse garden will bring!

I'm hoping to spot more butterfly species to add to my list of what is visiting the GBCC gardens. I hope you take a minute to enjoy watching the butterflies flutter through the Club. It is a moment to just take in the little things in life we are so apt to miss in our busy lives.

Gardener out.

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