Our Butterfly Garden

There are all different types of gardens, and while I’m more of a trees and shrubs kind of guy, you can only plant so many of them. The cool thing about butterfly gardens is that they don’t take up a lot of space and they offer the ability to exercise your creativity.

It all started about 2 years ago when we went to see the movie about the journey of the monarchs down at the IMAX in World Golf Village. We got back and immediately the girls wanted (had to have) a butterfly garden. Actually, I’ll admit it, I wanted one too.

Every now and then we’d see a couple of monarchs or a zebra longwing (official state butterfly of Florida), but the idea that we could have a place for them to lay eggs and watch the chrysalis grow was really cool, especially since the monarchs are becoming increasingly endangered. Figured we’d give them their own little rest area as they made the migration back and forth from Mexico.

Fortunately, we had a nice spot off our back deck close to the window to the girls playroom. It was just the right size space, not to big and not too small.

We planted fire cracker shrub, penta, butterfly bush, lantana, cats whiskers and milkweed along with a few others I can’t recall. Milkweed is what the monarch caterpillars eat so you’ll want plenty of it. This is what it looked like when we got started. The butterflies started showing up right away.

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This is what the garden looks like 2 years later. A few plants dies off this past winter, but amazingly most of them survived. The lantana is really hearty and has really vibrant colors. The firecracker bush was pruned all the way back, but it started to grow like crazy, and the milkweed seems to be popping up all over the place. I planted an azalea that we didn’t really have a place for, so hopefully it will do ok. Need to add some mulch and maybe a few more plants, but we’ve seen quite a few butterflies already and even some hummingbirds. The girls love watching them outside of the window, and it brings us just a little closer to nature.

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