Saturday, February 19, 2011

Butterfly Gardening

I went to a Butterfly Gardening class at Majestic View Nature Center a few nights ago. Now that it's the middle of February, much of my time is spent thinking about my yard-thinking and planning. Oh yes, and surveying...everyday, I must check to see how much further out of the ground the bulbs have grown since the day before; yes... I'm a little obsessive.
This picture is of a Two Tailed Swallowtail drinking nectar from Lantana plants that were in window boxes just under the kitchen window.  The picture was taken in July.  This particular species frequents the Colorado Front Range from May through August.  According to the Colorado Front Range Butterflies Web Site, it is the second largest, exceeded only by the rare(for this area) Giant Swallowtail. They grow between 4-5".
Unfortunately,  butterflies have a short life span, at the most it's two months.  However, there is one particular species, that travels from Canada to Mexico, and is an exception to this rule. 
At the class I was given a sheet listing the best Butterfly garden plants, and was very happy to see that I have 32 of the 43 plants on their list.
A fun fact I learned..Lantana actually announces if it's nectar has been drunk or not by changing it's flower color.  A kind gesture on nature's part I think, which the insects must surely appreciate.  In case you didn't know, butterflies are insects.

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