The butterfly garden

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by Arlette, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    I think butterflies have fascinated many of us since childhood. Will there surely be those who remember joyful runs through flowering fields to follow a butterfly that had seduced him with its colors?
    These almost fairytale insects offer us on sunny days the spectacle of a phantasmagoria of colors touching us for their immense fragility and allowing us to free the spirit by observing their free and graceful flight.
    But not only beauty and gracefulness, however, as butterflies perform the important task of pollinating, transporting pollen from one plant to another and thus connoting themselves as real messengers of life.
    Unfortunately, butterflies risk extinction (their presence in my country has already greatly diminished) due to the change in land use (cementification, urban transport networks), intensive agriculture and the use of chemicals, reforestation with conifers (many reforestations of conifers have replaced the deciduous forests that once housed rich populations of butterflies), air pollution, climate change and global warming.

    Therefore, the possibility of creating a space in my garden where butterflies (and not only, other insects) could find an appropriate habitat where to find refuge and nourishment has always intrigued me. Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers but at the same time look for some specific types of plants to lay their eggs: therefore, it is necessary to create a habitat as differentiated as possible by allowing these insects to obtain good food and at the same time reproduce.

    And so I decided to inquire about which plants to introduce into my garden ex-novo and I made a mini project for this purpose starting from the already existing aromatic flowerbed that was already widely visited by pollinators as well as by some caterpillars such as that of the Popilio machaon loyal customer of wild fennel.

    I then bought packs of mixed seeds of plants attracting butterflies, both for full sun and for shade and marigold, cornflowers, alyssus, zinnias, escolzie began to appear ………………………… .. in various areas of the garden.

    In shady and sheltered positions, I placed some large and low bowls with stones inside on which the butterflies could rest to drink the sugary water they contained.
    At the same time I continued to integratehe plants already present with Rudbeckia, Sedum, Lantana, Aster, Lavenders, Echinacea purpurea, Verbena bonariensis, Solidago, Snapdragons, Matthiola incana, Coreopsis, Syringa vulgars, Alyssum saxatile, Centranthus ruber, Gaura, Weigela florida , Hebe spp, Eriygium, Delphinium, Dianthus, ornamental sieves in variety ..............

    To enclose the garden there is also a very long ivy hedge that from one part of the gate is pruned with a dome which, at the time of flowering, is advisable to approach with caution due to the large number of pollinators it hosts, whose humming is heard from home !!!
    And it is precisely there that I was amazed to see the bees foraging each carrying two yellow "bags". I discovered, then, that they were "baskets" placed on the hind legs with which the bees carry the pollen grains mixed with a little nectar.

    https://www.foodbio.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ape-bottinatrice.jpg

    In the garden there were already, moreover, plants that are more known for their nickname, Butterfly Tree, than with their real name. I'm talking about the buddleje they deserve, but a separate discussion.

    I would like to introduce you to some of my welcome and loyal guests:
    Aglais io 2.jpg Aglais io Bombo e Iphiclides podalirius.jpg Iphiclides podalirius

    IMG_20180629_111139.jpg Vanessa atalanta Macaone (Papilio machaon in volo.jpg Papilio machaon
    Limenitis reducta amaranto.jpg Limenitis reducta amaranth
    Issoria lathonia (Latonia).jpg Issoria lathonia Amata (Syntomis) phegea.jpg Amata

    (Syntomis) phegea
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2020
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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Beautiful, you're to be commended!

    I'm glad you are thinking of the caterpillars as well. People who want to plant pollinator gardens need to consider the entire life cycle of the insects!
     
  3. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    Thanks for your words!
    I think caterpillars represent the cycle of life itself and must be preserved and even "gardeners" must forget that they eat their plants to live !!!!
    Greetings from me and a caterpillar discovered to blissfully eat one of the Hibiscus, grrr .. !!! Caught and released!
    Bruco di Xanthodes albago, Noctuidae.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Good morning @Arlette, your postings on this are wonderful, butterflies are so beautiful, we took our eldest granddaughter to the large butterfly house at Bristol Zoo in England when she was young as she was fascinated by them. So much diversity, they are just amazing.
    We do have to accept that caterpillars eat leaves so a few bites out of our precious plants is a price worth paying if we want their beauty fluttering around our gardens.
    The forums are quite full of people asking, 'how do I stop my leaves being eaten'. Sometimes the answer might be 'Why'. Just a thought !!!
     
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  5. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    Evidently butterflies love to stay in my -"their" garden!
    2 esemplari di Issoria lathonia su Buddleja davidii.jpg Issoria lathonia

    Machaon incidentato.jpg This poor Papilio machaon has had an accident and I think he’ll be in the garden for a while
    I hope it don't fly low (they have a little habit of it, I had another one with a broken wing) because it would risk a very dangerous clash with my cats.
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Arlette, good evening Arlette, however hard we try nature takes charge every time. Your cat is a part of the cycle.
    Beautiful markings even with the damaged wing. They love your Budlia in the first photo.
     
  7. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    @Acerholic Good evening to you!
    Yes, my Buddleja Royal red is much appreciated by butterflies, bumble bees, bees and above all by the butterfly Issoria lathonia unmissable visitor as you can see from a photo of last year.
    Definitely this Buddleja has its very full-bodied photo book !!!!

    3 issorie su buddleja.jpg

    Good night and good Sunday !!!
     
  8. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    To learn more about butterflies:



    The "proboscis" of butterflies.
    In order to reproduce, plants resort to the collaboration of insects, in particular to that of pollinating insects including butterflies. In exchange for the transport of pollen, the plants offer the nectar to the butterflies, a sugary liquid that butterflies search for by flying from one flower to another.
    One of the most fascinating aspects of butterflies is the way they suck nectar from flowers. They do this using spirotromba, the mouthparts of Lepidoptera, the order to which butterflies and moths belong.
    The spirotromba is truly extraordinary: it is a sort of long and flexible tube born from the evolution of the jaws that have elongated and then merged together forming a "proboscis" that the butterfly uses as a straw that it keeps rolled under the head when not sucks nectar.
    Butterflies are important bioindicators on the health status of a habitat; their biological cycle is reciprocally linked to a large variety of plants. Preserving the biodiversity of butterfly habitats is therefore of fundamental importance to guarantee the life of one of the great wonders of Nature.
     
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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Arlette, good evening Arlette, enjoyed the video and the music was a perfect accompaniment.
     
  10. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    @Acerholic
    I'm glad you liked it! A small piece of the fantastic world of butterflies.
    Have a good evening!
     
  11. scilover

    scilover New Member

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    Wow, that's a lot of butterflies. I hope I can be there to watch all the butterflies. you can actually have very good scenery and a fireman with all the butterflies flying everywhere.
     

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