How to Create a Drought Tolerant Butterfly Garden
When was the last time you sat in a garden filled with an overwhelming number of beautiful butterflies and you were in such a state of relaxation you could almost call it meditation? The trick to making this picturesque scene a reality is to incorporate certain plants into your yard that provide a habitat for insects, the primary food for pollinators such as; native bees, butterflies, moths, birds, hummingbirds, bats, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals. You could say, it’s all in the details. This my friends, is called Naturescaping.
NatureScaping is a method of landscaping which allows people and nature to coexist, according to naturescaping.org, an all volunteer not-for-profit organization whose goal is to educate and encourage homeowners to make their yards and gardens attractive to birds and other wildlife.
“You know, California is in a drought.” I feel like I’ve heard this my whole life growing up in Southern California, and as we head into our 6th drought year in a row I thought it would be a good idea to look into solutions that we could all get excited about, instead of limiting our showers to military camp standards and letting our lawns turn brown. This could be your next I’m-making-a-difference project that all your neighbors will be talking about and asking you for your contacts.
The Four Essentials
Who doesn’t want a colorful garden filled with butterflies, honeybees and an occasional fluffy bunny? When you factor the four essentials into your Naturescaping project you will welcome wildlife to your garden and the next thing you know, you’ll be drifting off into a meditative state in no time.
Food: Insects, plants with edible seeds, fruits, nuts, flowering plants for nectar and pollen
Water: Bird baths, ponds, puddles, water features, etc.
Shelter: Leaves, brush, rocks, landscape layering of ground covers, perennials, shrubs, deciduous and evergreen trees.
Space: For feeding, overwintering, nesting and rearing young.
If you want to bring butterflies into your backyard you need to start from the bottom to work your way up to the top. By providing a stable habitat with minimal nonnative plants you’re providing an ecosystem where those butterflies, along with insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals can thrive! If your plants attract a large number of native insects, this will attract wildlife up the food chain. According to naturescaping.org, “Incorporating native plants has many benefits for the local environment. Native plants have evolved to local weather conditions, soils, pest tolerance and disease resistance. Therefore they require less irrigation, soil amendments, fertilizers, and pesticides because they attract beneficial insects and wildlife who keep harmful insects in check (organic pesticides).”
Blooming Native Plants We Love Right Now
You are going to love all of these different types of blooming native plants. Remember to mix it up when it comes to the blooming seasons of the plants in your garden. The end goal is to have incorporated a variety of native plants that, collectively, will bloom year round.
Some Tips for Starting Your Butterfly Garden
Find out what specific butterflies are native to your area and base your plant purchasing decisions off that information.
Don’t forget to get host AND nectar plants.
You will need to make sure that your garden is positioned on your property to receive around four to six hours of direct sunlight.
Plan ahead. You should choose a variety of plants that will offer continual blooming as much as possible throughout the year.
For more resources on gardening that attracts wildlife, contact your local Audubon Society and Native Plant Societies. For more specific information on drought tolerant butterfly-friendly landscaping, check out this article. For additional information, refer to here.