4/30/2006

Butterfly Garden Plants

There are many plants that will attract butterflies to your garden. Today I'm listing the plants in my garden that were planted to attract butterflies, and I'm also including some of my "wish-list" plants for future years . These plants seem to do well in our hot climate and aren't too difficult to keep happy.

If you're planning your own butterfly garden, or looking to add to it, keep in mind that most of these plants do well in full sun (with the exception of impatiens). Now is a good time to add some of these perennial plants and annuals to your garden. I'm still working on this myself. Most of the plants pictured were planted recently, and some more are waiting in flats, ready to be planted today.

Also listed are trees and shrubs, although keep in mind these are probably best planted in the fall.


Finally, remember that butterflies are insects, so insecticide will kill them! Avoid use of any nasty chemical insecticides. Biological controls are recommeneded, although I haven't tried this yet myself. Insecticidal soaps are less harmful, but I use this only on the roses (which tend to attract bees, not butterflies).
Perennial plants
Lantana

















Verbena


















Not pictured: chives, daylily, hibiscus, sage

To add in the future: Milkweed, Bee-balm, Black-eyed susan, Butterfly weed, coneflower, phlox


Trees and Shrubs

Redbud























Buddleia ("the butterfly bush"; the #1 attraction in my yard)


















To add in the future: Blueberry, Abelia


Annual plants

Impatiens


















Zinnia and Verbena



















Not pictured: Cosmos


Food plants for catepillars


Fennel (dill, carrots, and other plants in this family will work, too)

















Not pictured: Dogwood, Parsley, Oaks, Tulip Tree, Snapdragon

To add in the future: Milkweed, Asters

For more information:
Clemson University Extension's on-line publications on Butterfly Gardening, Annuals, and Perennials.
Why flowers come in colors
So a butterfly flew into a bar...

Coming soon: Gardening to attract other animals, like bumblebees and hummingbirds

4/28/2006

South Carolina- It's Planting Time!

The official time to start your annuals in Zone 7, determined by the last frost date, is April 15th. Like most gardeners, however, I started a little earlier than that this year. I call it the global warming fudge factor, but really it's more to do with my impatience than any scientific justification.

In early April, I set out some tomato plants, which actually came from the hydroponics experiment I did with my classes back in January. Dreaming of some tomato caprese, I also sowed seeds for basil and oregano, and these little seedlings are coming along nicely.

There's still plenty left for me to do, however. This weekend is my official planting date. The local master gardening group is having a plant sale this weekend, the stores are overflowing with beautiful plants, and most importantly, today was the end of classes for the spring term. After being stuck inside grading papers and writing finals day and night for the last week, I'm ready to get outside and get digging.

So what will I plant? My focus this year will be getting in some perennials to attract butterflies, birds, and other critters. They are picky about what flowers they visit, as I mentioned in my "Why Flowers Come in Colors" post. The Clemson University Extension has a great deal of information on Butterfly Gardening, and I'll be looking for some of their suggested plants when I'm shopping tomorrow.

4/26/2006

Must-see South Carolina Gardens: Edisto Gardens of Orangeburg, SC


Hard to believe that this beautiful place was once the site of a landfill! Since the 1920's the land has been gradually converted to the lovely Edisto Memorial Gardens of Orangeburg, SC.

Some unique features:

Testing ground for the All American Rose Selection process
Long boardwalk through a Tupelo/Cypress Wetland
Sensory garden complete with botanical markers in Braille

You can visit the city's webpage to find out more about the Edisto Memorial Gardens.

4/22/2006

Earth Friendly Gardening

Happy Earth Day!

This picture was from Sonia's post about the Earth as Art exhibit that was previously at the Library of Congress. She has more great pictures on her blog, so it's worth a visit.




Lena Delta, Asia

In honor of Earth Day, I'd like to propose an impromptu Carnival of Earth Friendly Gardening.

How do you show your concern for the Earth in how you garden?

This week, I noticed Jenn and Judith posted a notice about the environmental impact of cypress mulches. I appreciate the heads-up, since I was totally clueless about this issue. They also suggest other mulching alternatives. I'd like to point out that mulching is actually great for the environment, just choose a different kind of mulch. The environmental benefits of mulching include reduced erosion and water conservation, since the mulch holds the water and prevents runoff.

Susan continues to write about lectures on invasive plants and their impact on the environment. The basic message is grow native plants as much as possible. My recent post, Plant Spam, proposes a new name for invasives.

Amy and Andrea continue to promote their organic perspective. But isn't neccessarily all or nothing when it comes to organic gardening. Even gardeners like myself who occasionally pull out the Miracle Grow can incorporate organic practices in their gardening. In fact, you probably already do. Remember if you build a compost pile you are not only helping your garden, but also helping the environment. Did you know that one of the largest components our landfills is yard waste? Compost is also a natural mulch and fertilizer, which is better for the environment than synthetic chemicals. I recently also starting using soap sprays to deter insects instead of pesticides. Now that I'm almost 4 months pregnant, I'm starting to seriously consider how to cut down on toxins that my future child could be exposed to.

On aol they just posted an article entitled "Green Yards" describing ways to conserve when caring for your lawn. A few interesting ideas included solar powered lawn mowers and renting goats to mow your lawn! My husband's former company actually found it cost-effective to raise a herd of goats instead of mowing their lawn.

I'd like to wrap up with a quote from Susan - "I remain confused as hell but unshaken in my belief that gardening can be not only [not] harmful but actually beneficial to the environment." I second that comment! The more you read about any environmental issue, the complexity of the problem becomes apparent, and thus the more confusing it gets. But we can only do our best!

So please share your ideas and any favorite posts I missed. I'll be glad to add them. Just comment on this post or send a link to my e-mail with "Carnival of Earth Friendly Gardening" in the title.

4/20/2006

Pansy Power

I just love pansies. The novelty of growing flowers in the winter hasn't worn off yet, and now they are especially beautiful in their spring growth spurt.

Soon it will get too hot and I'll have to replace them with heat-tolerant annuals for part sun. Any ideas? I was thinking maybe petunias.