Archives For Butterflies

Butterfly ‘Anouk’ Lavender (also knows as Spanish or French lavender), is a hardy, drought tolerant, deer resistant shrub with highly aromatic flowers and foliage.  It has a long blooming season from late spring to late summer and forms bushy mounds that can reach 18″ tall by 24″ wide.  This showy lavender does best is full sun with well-drained soil, either in pots or in the ground.  Mass plantings create a spectacular show and will be a magnet for butterflies.

Image Source:  https://www.gardenia.net/rendition.slider_detail/uploads/plant/1431363979-b80dd4dbf1d64cc7a/7163720_m.jpg

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58.1 Lilacs

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Butterfly Bush

April 15, 2015

Looking for a guaranteed butterfly and hummingbird magnet? Plant a Butterfly Bush.

Butterfly Bush is fast-growing, deciduous shrub with long, with arching shoots that will reach heights of 6 to 8 feet. It is a large, arching shrub that produces masses of flowers in midsummer to fall. Flower colors include blue, pink, red, violet, yellow, and white, and the shrub grows 5 to 10 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. Butterfly bushes grow well in shrub or perennial borders, and the fragrant flowers can be used for cutting.

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Planting Butterfly Bush is ideal for planting in spring or fall, spacing plants 5 to 10 feet apart depending on the variety. Using a garden fork or tiller, prepare the garden bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. In the pot you’re planting the plant dig a hole twice its size in diameter. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root-ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root-ball and firm the soil gently and remember to water thoroughly.

Each spring, apply a thin layer of compost each spring followed by a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch to control weeds and retain moisture. Prune back old growth almost to the ground early each spring before any new growth emerges. To nurture butterfly bush through cold Northern winters, spread mulch up to 6 inches deep around the trunk. Plants will die down, but re-sprout in late spring.

Image Source: http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Butterfly_Bush

Image Source: http://gardeningwithcharlie.com/how-to-grow-butterfly-bushes.html

Butterfly bush’s flower spikes are an irresistible lure to butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long. The plants have an arching habit that’s appealing especially as a background in informal flower borders. In warmer climates, butterfly bushes soon grow into trees and develop rugged trunks that peel.

Prior to planting Butterfly Bush, best to check local restrictions first as they can be quite an invasive pest in certain areas.

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Purple Emperor Butterfly

February 19, 2015

The purple emperor is one of the rarest, most elusive and most beautiful of the UK’s butterflies.

The size of a small bat, fearless and aggressive it’s a butterfly that has inspired legions of followers of “the purple persuasion” to travel miles in the hope of catching a glimpse of it.

And the Savernake Forest is one of the very few hunting grounds in the country where this “connoisseurs butterfly” can actually be seen.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/wiltshire/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8576000/8576445.stm

How to see them

Purple Emperors are at their best on sunny days from mid-summer through to the end of July when they can be watched by scanning the tree tops with binoculars.

The best places in Wiltshire to see them include Bentley Wood in South Wiltshire and around the Ailesbury Column in the Savernake Forest where a colony is known to exist.

Image Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Purple_Emperor

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Glasswing Butterflies

January 6, 2015

The Glasswinged butterfly (Greta oto) is a brush-footed butterfly, and is a member of the subfamily Danainae, tribe Ithomiini, subtribe Godyridina.

The wings are transparent, with a span of 5.6 to 6.1 cm (2.2 to 2.4 in). The butterfly’s most common English name is glasswinged butterfly, and its Spanish name is “espejitos”, which means “little mirrors”. Indeed, the tissue between the veins of its wings looks like glass, as it lacks the colored scales found in other butterflies. The opaque borders of its wings are dark brown, sometimes tinted with red or orange, and its body is dark in color.

Adults range from Mexico through Panama and Colombia They also fly through Florida.

Data Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_oto

Image Source:  http://twistedsifter.com/2012/03/15-stunning-photos-of-the-glasswinged-butterfly/

Image Source: http://www.butterflies.co.za/glasswings_enlarged.htm

Image Source: https://500px.com/photo/63083387/glasswing-butterfly-on-flower-by-laurie-hernandez

Vintage Belle Broken China Jewelry Small Yellow Butterfly Meadow Sterling Pendant

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The Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly (Cupido comyntas) also known as Everes comyntas is a common butterfly of eastern and Northern America. They are small adorable butterflies that are very lovely to watch visiting flowers or moist areas. They can be seen flying low to the ground or basking in the sun.

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The males are cobalt blue while the females are more slate gray. They have a wingspan of 3/4 to 1 inch and both male and female have orange spots on the rear of their hind wings.

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The Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly feed on various legumes and they secrete a substance favoured by some ant species. These ants then in turn protect the larva of the butterflies from other predators. Unlike other butterflies the females will lay her eggs on the host plants flower buds and the caterpillars will feed on them together with seeds and flowers.

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These lovely butterflies are found in disturbed areas, fields, meadows and forest glades all throughout the eastern United States west to North Dakota, Colorado and Texas and in New Hampshire.

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Monarch Butterflies

June 22, 2014

 Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. They are the most beautiful of all butterflies and some say are considered the “king” of the butterflies hence the name “monarch”. The monarch butterfly is resident in the Canary Islands, the Azores, North America, Maderia and are occasional migrant in Western Europe.

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The monarch butterfly’s wingspan ranges from 3 1/2 to 4 inches and they are easily recognizable by their orange and black pattern wings. Males are slightly larger than the females; the females have darker veins on their wings while the males have a spot called the androconium in the center of each hind wing. The caterpillar of the monarch is banded in yellow, black and white stripes and the eggs are creamy white which would later turn pale yellow.

The migration pattern of the monarch butterfly is famous; they go southward late summer/autumn from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico and coastal California and return northward in spring. Their migration route was discovered after a 38 year search entomologists Fred and Norah Urquhart.

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The monarch can be found in various habitats including meadows, fields, gardens and trees. Adult monarchs consume nectars from a wide range of sources including wild carrot, teasel, horseweed, lilac, clover, red clover and tall ironweed. The larvae however only eat milkweed.

The monarch goes through four lifecycles and four generations in one year. The cycle of the monarch butterfly consists of the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly.  In February or March, the hibernating monarch emerges from hibernation to look for mates. The courtship has two stages, the aerial and the ground phase. In the aerial phase the male pursues and takes down a female monarch, copulation occurs during the ground phase where the male and female stay attached for 60 seconds.

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The eggs are laid by the females in the March and April onto leaves of milkweed plants. Four days later the eggs hatch into larvae or caterpillars. The caterpillars eat their egg cases and then feed on milkweed to grow. The caterpillar will be fully grown after two weeks, starting the pupa or chrysalis stage where the caterpillar would spin a silk pad on a twig and attach itself to it. Although it may look like nothing is happening during this stage, on the inside a lot of changes are taking place. The old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a transformation called metamorphosis. Two weeks after the pupal stage an adult butterfly emerges eating flowers and enjoying its short lifespan. This would be the first generation of monarch butterflies for the year.

The second generation of monarch are born in May and June they go through the same stages as the first generation dying out two to six weeks after becoming a mature monarch. The third generation will be born July and August and the fourth will be born in September and October.

Now there’s a slight difference with the fourth generation, they still go through all the stages but they don’t die out immediately instead they migrate to warmer areas and will live for another six to eight months to start the cycle again.

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Swallowtail Butterfly

April 16, 2014

The swallowtail butterfly gets its name from the “tails” on the back of their wings that resembled the forked tails of swallows. This can be seen when the butterfly is resting and its wings are spread.

Swallowtail butterflies have a wingspan of 2.6 to 3.5 inches with bluish-black and yellow-white wings. They will sometimes have additional red markings. A band of large yellow spots through both fore and hind wings are prominent in males. In females, these spots are more orange.

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The swallowtail butterfly undergoes four stages in its lifecycle: egg, larvae, pupa and butterfly. Young pupate develops inside a cocoon in the fall and emerges as butterflies in the spring. Once it has emerged as a butterfly, it immediately looks for a mate. The eggs are attached to the leaflets of a food plant and after 8 to 10 days young caterpillars emerge and start feeding. The caterpillars are smooth and large with an orange “horn” that is hidden under the skin of the thorax. This horn would pop when threatened by predators and secretes repellent chemicals.

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Adult swallowtails are strong fliers and hide in trees at night to avoid predators, they can also defend themselves with toxic chemicals but still, they can fall prey to frogs and toads, spiders, wasps, mantis, and insect eating birds. The caterpillars and pupa are often prey to shrews, mice, ants, parasitic flies, lady beetles, mites and green lacewings.

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Swallowtail butterflies live in open areas like fields, meadows, vacant lots, sides of streams, open forests and anywhere near their food plants and especially those with abundant flowers.

The Oregon Swallowtail is the state insect of Oregon. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the state insect of Virginia and the state butterfly of Georgia, Delaware, and South Carolina. The Black Swallowtail is the state butterfly of Oklahoma.

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Butterfly Gardening

April 6, 2014

 Butterfly gardening is a growing school of gardening aimed at creating an environment that attracts butterflies. Butterfly gardening is done to help the butterfly population thrive as many butterfly species are becoming less abundant due to habitat destruction. Since butterflies are flower pollinators attracting them can also help in the pollination of nearby plants.

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There are about 17,500 species of butterflies around the world! You’ll want to learn which butterflies are native to your area, make a list of the different kinds you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed and lay eggs on.

Next, research what conditions these plants thrive in and visit your local greenhouse to buy your supplies. Some examples of “host plants” are:  milkweed for the Monarch caterpillar, parsley for the Black Swallowtail caterpillar, brassicas attracts the common White Cabbage caterpillar, wild lupine to attract the gorgeous Karner Blue caterpillar, and dill, preferred by the Great Spangled Fritillary larvae.

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Next, you need to choose “nectar plants” for your garden. These nectar plants serve as a food source for the butterflies. Your research will show there are many varieties to choose from. Examples of nectar plants include:  swamp milkweed suitable for Snowberry Clearwing and also serve as host plant for Monarch caterpillars, Joe Pye Weed for the Swallowtail, Zinnia attracts a wide range of butterfly species, and Butterfly Bush is suitable for Swallowtail and Heliotrope and attracts a wide range of butterflies. Creating a “mudhole” is essential to attracting butterflies giving them a source of water and minerals from the mud.

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When you have your host plants and nectar plants in place keep them watered and keep the weeds at bay. Once they’ve grown observe the number of butterflies flocking to your garden and be proud in knowing that you have helped create a habitat for these lovely creatures.

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Magnificent Monarches

March 10, 2014

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Succulents

February 20, 2014

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SOURCE:  http://www.gardendesign.com/at-home-with-scott-shrader-photo-gallery?pnid=137511

SOURCE:  http://www.thefrenchtangerine.com/2012/11/succulents.html

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