Monday, March 30, 2015

Planting Our Yard for the Butterflies and Bees this Summer

The end of Marsh seems almost too early to think about gardening and buying plants here in Oregon. But, with the unseasonably warm Winter we had, many plants came through the Winter season just fine and things are already sprouting all over the yard. Just check out all the new sprouts in my Mint barrel.

I have great plans for my own backyard garden, but I also have high hopes for landscaping the front of the house. It has gone quite wild in the past two years since my youngest was born. I love a well-groomed yard full of flowering plants. Mine is not, but this Spring is as good a season to get started on that dream as any.

My budget is small, but I have a small work crew willing to help with a lot of the "dirty work".  My only problem is motivating them.

Kids love to play in the dirt, and will even help out with yard work if they have a goal in mind. Our motivation this year are these little guys...

For Spring break this year, I ordered my children caterpillars. They come with food, a habitat and instructions. We will watch them grow, form a chrysalis and then emerge as butterflies to be released. It is all to teach children first-hand about the life cycle of a beautiful butterfly.

I think it is a great time to work on the yard as a family and plant flowers and bushes that will attract and feed butterflies like the ones we are observing.

To get started, I went to the Monrovia website to learn more about the plants that would attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to our yard. Monrovia plants are available at local garden centers and Lowe's home centers across the country. They also have a site that is packed with information about caring for and selecting the right plants for your yard.

I found a few articles on the site that talked about the best ways to attract butterflies and bees. I learned that butterflies love purple and yellow flowers.

Of course, while at Lowe's, I also read the back of each tag in the Monrovia plants. They list sun, water and temperature needs, as well as if they attract butterflies or other attributes. I purchased the Dianthus and Salvia especially because they both are enjoyed by butterflies.

All these bright colors and beautiful flowers will also be a great way to attract bees to the yard to help pollinate our apple tree, blueberries and Summer vegetable garden.

Other tips for attracting butterflies:

  1. Choose a sunny spot. Butterflies enjoy basking in the sun, they also love the nectar of plants that often take partial to full sun. Our front yard is the perfect spot for this. 
  2. Offer places the butterflies can drink. Using dishes with moistened sand will give butterfly neighbors a safe and great place to drink.
  3. Plant a variety of flowering plants to attract different types of butterflies. And really, doesn't a variety of colorful flowers make the yard look better, too?
You can find more tips, including plant suggestions on the Monrovia website.

I can't wait to get all these plants in the ground. First I have a little weed clean-up to tackle with my crew. I am crossing my fingers that all the stray grasses and weeds can be pulled for the price of a popsicle or two.

And while we enjoy our treat in the heat this year, maybe we will have the chance to enjoy watching those busy bees and graceful butterflies play in the yard that we created.

What plans do you have for gardening or landscaping this Spring? Have you checked out the selection of plants Monrovia has to offer?

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