Attract the Butterflies with your Perennial Friends

Posted: August, 2012 | Linda Boyer

One of the most whimsical places on your property can be your summer perennial garden. Perennials are like reliable faithful friends. They don’t ask much of us, and just when we need a little lift they show up, brighten our day, and then leave quietly asking nothing more of us then a little bit of TLC and appreciation. Perennial flower beds can be a labor of love enduring many years. I have many perennials that friends have given to me as cuttings, clumps and bare root stems. Every season when I see the plants blossom I remember the friend and the day they gave that particular plant to me.
One of the many pleasures of planting perennials is there are few rules. Any color, height, size or shape can be planted in a casual arrangement to your liking. Like a living bouquet. Perennials can endure being smothered in a foot of winter snow and magically, by the middle of summer you have a fabulous display for the entire neighborhood to enjoy.
If you put a bit more thought into your choice of plants, you can make your perennial garden serve as a butterfly garden. Butterfly gardens should include plants vibrant in the colors red, purple, yellow, orange and pink. Include some flowers that flutter in the wind and have a short tube flower. Butterflies like nectar plants and they don’t mind if the garden is not so tidy. Leave some grassy areas and some rocky or sandy patches. The garden should be in full sun. Be sure to have some taller plants to block the wind on breezy days. Plant both caterpillar host plants and nectar plants and you will attract an array of butterfly types. Some good choices of plants could include Butterfly Bush, Purple Coneflower, Black Eyed Susan, Milkweed, Bee Balm, Phlox, Verbena, Zinnia, Nicotiana, Hollyhock and Lupines. I love sitting on the back porch on a soft summer evening watching birds and butterflies fluttering about the perennial garden, it soothes my soul after a stressful day, just like a visit from an old friend.