Saturday, September 15, 2012

Butterflies need our help

American  Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) and 'Cornwall Blue' 

"There can be few experiences more idyllic and relaxing than to be in a garden on a warm summer's evening, surrounded by the color and wafting aroma of Buddleias and watching the industrious and gentle activity of butterflies flitting from flower to flower."

Plants that come in various shades of blue are the mainstay of my garden. I grow two blue Buddleias, (Butterfly Bush)  'Adonis Blue' and 'Empire Blue' and this spring I planted another, Cornwall Blue' (Buddleia davidii).

It lives up to its promise of having flowers very close to true blue. Like lilacs, buddleia blooms have small individual flowers packed into clusters called panicles. You can extend their long flowering season (from July until frost) by regularly deadheading the spent blossoms.  

Planting buddleia in your garden is one way to help  butterflies, especially migrating monarchs.

In case you haven't heard, the incredible 3,000-mile migration of the monarch butterfly is fully underway. Check on their progress here. 

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. 

The perils monarchs face on these long distance journeys are immense, but they are also under extreme threat from development, genetically modified crops, roadside management practices and climate change (as are many other butterflies).

To find out how you can help them, click here.

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