Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 Butterfly Gardening

This evening I went to a class on Butterfly Gardening offered by the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. It was interesting, informative, the photos were beautiful and the folks were friendly. Overall, it was a lovely class. Dr. Rita Littrell presented her computer slideshow on butterflies.  Most of the pictures were from her own garden. Dr. Littrell is not an entymologist or horticulurist or even a gardener by trade.  Rather, she is self-taught. Her interest in butterflies stemmed from being a mother. She wanted to show her son the transitions a caterpillar made to become a butterfly. She is now known to some locally as "the butterfly lady." She knows and shares so much about these beautiful creatures. I was impressed by the lengths she went to protect them in their various states. Truly a butterfly passion! I have no doubt she has inspired others as she has myself.

We didn't get any rain today (hurray!) and the sun shone all day. Temperatures this evening are warmer than yesterday. There were some winds today but nothing severe. All my plants are at least surviving.

Oooh... also, some of my trees from the Arbor Day Foundation came. Their little bare roots are sitting in water in my kitchen sink.

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks member plant sale is tomorrow. I need to figure out some plants I want before I go so I don't wander around saying to myself, "I want that. I want that. I want that." It's important to know if you have the right conditions to support the plant and if it's mature growth will fit what you really want. Also, I have been keeping an eye on allergies.  The book Allergy-Free Gardening by Thomas Leo Ogren is a great book and I am working on adding plants the author claims are at least 5 or below on his scale. I love this book so much, I ordered it online. According to the Ogren Plant-Allergy Scale (OPALS), butterfly weed or milkweed is only a 3, so I should definately look at it tomorrow.  On the other hand, Joe-Pye Weed is a 7.  Too bad.  Moonflowers which Sphinx moths (not a butterfly) love, is a 3 on the OPALS. These moths also host on this plant. Dutchman's Pipevine is also a 3 and they help support the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. Perhaps I overlooked it, but I couldn't find Garden Phlox in his book. It's supposed to be a great nectar plant. The spicebush, which Spicebush Swallowtails love, is an OPALS 3. The Black Swallowtail loves parsley, dill (3), and fennel (5). I couldn't find garden parsley listed in Ogren's book. Toadflax (1) and snapdragon (1) are favorites of the Buckeye Butterfly. Persimmon trees, which is one of the host plants for Luna Moths, is a 3.

Milkweed, depending on the type, will grow anywhere from 18"to 40." It needs full sun. Monarchs love it along with other butterfly types and hummingbirds.

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