Thinking of starting a butterfly garden

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
This past winter I had a 50 year old birch tree that I had to take down after a bad storm. In it’s wake I decided to make a vegetable garden and it did well this year, but I think I will concede to the squirrels...cute little fuzzy SOB’s.

I think a butterfly/humming bird garden would be a better substitute for my lost birch tree. Thoughts? Opinions? Anecdotes? Pics?

*edit* location Missouri
 

Vanisher

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
2,140
Seems very nice! Post pictures if you do start a butterfly garden. I no little about butterflies so i cant give uou advise
 

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
Seems very nice! Post pictures if you do start a butterfly garden. I no little about butterflies so i cant give uou advise
Roger that. Still in the R&D phase. I won’t break ground till spring.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
1,737
Lobelia cardinalis is a beautiful hummingbird-pollinated flower; just make sure the ground can stay fairly wet if you go that way. Columbine is also beautiful. If you have a bit of shade from trees (not buildings--has to be seasonal) you might try Trillium.
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
8,990
Yeah that's pretty easy to do. I'm sure you've been there already, goog plants for butterflies. If you haven't already, you might think of ordering milkweed seeds. You'd think milkweed plants are in trouble when you read stuff on the internet but once I started paying attention, when I'm on the road and looking for them on the side of the road, I see millions of them!
 

schmiggle

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
1,737
You'd think milkweed plants are in trouble when you read stuff on the internet but once I started paying attention, when I'm on the road and looking for them on the side of the road, I see millions of them!
Somehow people have conflated milkweed with monarch butterflies. It's rather strange.
 

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
My project got more complicated today. My neighbor pointed out to me a potential sink hole forming in my back yard and under my driveway. Its fairly large at that, approx 12-15 feet in diameter by the way the ground is dipping and where the driveway is cracking. My house was built in 1928 and to my knowledge the sewer lines have never been upgraded. They run through my backyard :grumpy: Wishing I was not a home owner right now.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,908
My project got more complicated today. My neighbor pointed out to me a potential sink hole forming in my back yard and under my driveway. Its fairly large at that, approx 12-15 feet in diameter by the way the ground is dipping and where the driveway is cracking. My house was built in 1928 and to my knowledge the sewer lines have never been upgraded. They run through my backyard :grumpy: Wishing I was not a home owner right now.
If it's a ground saturation issue, it is possible to head it off with wicking.
 

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
Not sure yet. Already called the water company to get someone out here to have a look see. I’m afraid if the city gets involved this will get ugly fast.
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
8,990
I'd start digging first to see if I could figure out what's going on, there might be an old storm bunker there full of gold ..GOLD!:jimlad: Seriously though that does sound interesting to me if it's really obvious. There could be an old cistern there that was covered up and in the bottom, ....GOLD! well at least an old bottle or two. That sink hole is more interesting than the butterfly garden to me, hope to hear a story but could be nothing.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
1,737
I'd start digging first to see if I could figure out what's going on, there might be an old storm bunker there full of gold ..GOLD!:jimlad: Seriously though that does sound interesting to me if it's really obvious. There could be an old cistern there that was covered up and in the bottom, ....GOLD! well at least an old bottle or two. That sink hole is more interesting than the butterfly garden to me, hope to hear a story but could be nothing.
@Turtle if there is gold down there I want a cut of the profits. For, uh, facilitation and consulting. I'll be satisfied with 15%
 

krbshappy71

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
129
I scored a bunch of these on clearance at the garden center and they are covered with bees and butterflies each year: Autumn Joy Sedum. Very hardy, they spread, and they are a tall, late fall flowering plant here in DE so I still have flowers when the spring pretties die off: https://www.almanac.com/plant/sedum# Their leaves and stalks are similar to an ice plant texture.
 

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
I'd start digging first to see if I could figure out what's going on, there might be an old storm bunker there full of gold ..GOLD!:jimlad: Seriously though that does sound interesting to me if it's really obvious. There could be an old cistern there that was covered up and in the bottom, ....GOLD! well at least an old bottle or two. That sink hole is more interesting than the butterfly garden to me, hope to hear a story but could be nothing.
@Turtle if there is gold down there I want a cut of the profits. For, uh, facilitation and consulting. I'll be satisfied with 15%
Ya'll, if theres gold down there I'm buyin T slings for everyone :). I'm sure there's nuggets down there but, I'm betting they're more brown than gold lol.

I scored a bunch of these on clearance at the garden center and they are covered with bees and butterflies each year: Autumn Joy Sedum. Very hardy, they spread, and they are a tall, late fall flowering plant here in DE so I still have flowers when the spring pretties die off: https://www.almanac.com/plant/sedum# Their leaves and stalks are similar to an ice plant texture.
Already have some by the back fence, I love it!

Finally got a call back from the water company. Not too bad for a public utility, only 5 days for a call back. They're coming out next Tuesday to do who knows what.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,908
Not sure if this is a viable idea but how about a flowering Ginkgo tree? We have one in our yard that attracts butterflies, moths, an assortment of bees and the far east equivalent of hummingbirds. Down side: they are S L O W growing. Maybe 1 foot a year and you will need to get a mature one. They don't start flowering until around 10 years old. I dug ours up out of a forest. The up side is an established Ginkgo is an heirloom that can live around 800-1200 years.
 

korg

Arachnobaron
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
513
I think a good place to start is by researching the plants native in your area. Not only should they be easy to grow, but they'll tend to also be the plants local butterflies (along with bugs, birds, etc) are adapted/used to utilizing. You want to make sure you have both nectar plants for the adult butterflies and host plants for the caterpillars. Try to have a range of plants that will be flowering year round. Make sure not to use any pesticides, etc that could harm the wildlife you're trying to attract. Good luck! I think it's a great idea.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
1,737
I think a good place to start is by researching the plants native in your area. Not only should they be easy to grow, but they'll tend to also be the plants local butterflies (along with bugs, birds, etc) are adapted/used to utilizing. You want to make sure you have both nectar plants for the adult butterflies and host plants for the caterpillars. Try to have a range of plants that will be flowering year round. Make sure not to use any pesticides, etc that could harm the wildlife you're trying to attract. Good luck! I think it's a great idea.
This, absolutely. I was actually trying to name plants I thought would be native to the Kansas City area; looking at the list now, I may have been off the mark. This is, broadly speaking, the best principle for planting.
Not sure if this is a viable idea but how about a flowering Ginkgo tree? We have one in our yard that attracts butterflies, moths, an assortment of bees and the far east equivalent of hummingbirds. Down side: they are S L O W growing. Maybe 1 foot a year and you will need to get a mature one. They don't start flowering until around 10 years old. I dug ours up out of a forest. The up side is an established Ginkgo is an heirloom that can live around 800-1200 years.
Huh. Gingkos don't technically flower, so I wonder what you're referring to.
 

Turtle

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
158
@The Snark, love those trees! Living fossils. Definitely going on the consideration list. Too bad my grandfather didn’t plant that tree 50 years ago instead of a river birch lol.

Going to be doing a nature hike this weekend with the misses at the Kansas botanical gardens.
https://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/arboretum-and-botanical-gardens/
Humming birds will be trying to pack on the weight before their migration and I’m hoping to see what types of plants they prefer, maybe find some cool spiders out there too.

Oh yeah. Found this idea for a raised bed. Looks pretty easy to make.

D3FF41DE-3142-4F64-8ACE-5FBB2C774E93.jpeg
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,908
Huh. Gingkos don't technically flower, so I wonder what you're referring to.
"Each tree has either male or female flowers (dioecious): male flowers catkin-like, hanging down (pendulous) and yellow, up to 8cm long; female flowers smaller and on pedicels up to 4cm long. Fruits maturing following autumn, drupe-like, light yellow decaying to purplish-black. Pollinated by wind."

Ours is a female. Sexy little trout. I saw a very mature Ginkgo over in Samoeng, trimmed, beautiful, about 40 feet tall. Wonderful scent to the flowers. So I thought that would be lovely to have beside the driveway and when I saw one in danger of getting fried along a verge of a road I dug it up and planted it here. About 5 years later it's got maybe 20 more branches, is bush like, and nearly 8 feet tall. I suspect the one I saw in Samoeng is over 100 years old.
 
Last edited:

korg

Arachnobaron
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
513
Going to be doing a nature hike this weekend with the misses at the Kansas botanical gardens.
https://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/arboretum-and-botanical-gardens/
Humming birds will be trying to pack on the weight before their migration and I’m hoping to see what types of plants they prefer, maybe find some cool spiders out there too.
Nice! Interestingly enough, hummingbirds are one of the animals that have actually benefited from the conversion of natural habitat to human development in many places... they really like and can thrive off many of the showy exotic/non-native flowering plants people use in landscaping.
 
Top