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Natural Highlights: Butterfly Gardens

Wolf Mountain Howling
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Wolf River Conservancy
August 28, 2023

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Natural Highlights: Butterfly Gardens

Thanks to Bart Jones for his online webinar on gardening for butterflies and other pollinators!  Bart emphasized the use of native perennials as most beneficial for the insects we love, as well as the five basic requirements for the most successful butterfly garden: nectar plants, host plants, water, minerals and nutrients, and good design.

Bart’s program provided many useful tips.  Did you know that oak trees are hosts for many species of butterfly caterpillars, and that the Red Hairstreak caterpillar depends on fallen dead leaves?  Or that a sponge soaked in Gatorade can provide needed minerals for male butterflies?  A large flat stone placed in the sun is a safe spot to warm up on a morning after a cool night, and it’s best to create clumps of color by planting several plants of the same species because butterflies don’t see very well.

Please visit the Wolf River Conservancy’s YouTube page to watch Bart’s program and learn more!  Also, because butterfly (and hummingbird) activity is at its peak right now as our fall perennials begin to bloom, think about adding one or more of the beautiful native fall bloomers to your garden, for example, Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), New England Aster (S. novae angliae), and Narrow-leafed Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolium).

Visit these links for more butterfly and pollinator garden resources:

How to Start a Butterfly Garden, North American Butterfly Association

Garden for Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation

Pollinators of Native Plants, by Heather Holm

Butterflies of Tennessee, by Rita Venable

Natural Highlights: Butterfly Gardens - Thanks to Bart Jones for his webinar on gardening for butterflies using native perennials and outlining five key requirements.


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