Thursday, July 23, 2009

Butterflies are Free

The first time I heard this phrase, I thought it meant you didn't have to buy them. That was not the intent of the movie title, but they are free. Everybody can have them, if they provide for the simple needs of a butterfly.

I haven't tried as hard as previous years to photograph butterflies. They look the same as previous years. Gnats are bad, weather is hot and my patience is short.

I did run back for the camera when I saw two Zebra Swallowtails. Only one showed up when I came out again.

Zebra Swallowtail on Lantana

There is not a formal butterfly garden here as such, but there are areas devoted to their delight. Across the front are bands of yellow lantana and bands of lavender lantana. Bloom is not continuous, but almost. I've added a plant of white lantana with a yellow eye. I watched a butterfly flit all around it and always land on the lavender. Oh, well, it looks pretty.

In the upper garden are two areas with butterfly nectar plants. One has three shades of pink pentas. At the other end pentas are mixed with zinnias, porterweed and crocosmia, all blooming now. The butterflies don't seem to prefer one of the flowers I've named to the others. Tithonia, yet to bloom, is always a favorite.

White pentas, new to the garden this year. They're popular with Spicebush Swallowtails.


  1. Great post! Why are my tithonias blooming before yours? They are just starting, though. I'm not seeing as many butterflies as last year so far.

  2. I will have to be more aware of what I plant next year, I have seen one tiny butterfly visit, but not many. This post was very informative, and I thank you for that :)

  3. This year the butterflies here seem to love the zinnias. And of course lantana. That is a pretty picture of the zebra. I'm rooting some of my lantana now, I would love to have a long row of it next year.

  4. Your title reminds me of the Elton John song "butterflies are free to away....."

  5. Pentas are so wonderful in the garden for butterflies. I don't grow them but so admire them in other gardens. The white is a showstopper. I bet it would really be neat at night too. What a good shot of the zebra swallowtail!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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