With many species becoming extinct and lots others depleted because of our short sighted and selfish style of living, conservation is one thing that all of us need to pay attention to. Butterflies, with their varied range of bright colors attract most of us. The sad part, however, is that many species of butterflies are fast approaching extinction. Their natural habitat is either being destroyed or is not being favored by gardeners. Butterflies need specific plants and flowers as well as an environment congenial to laying eggs to thrive.
Those interested in providing an environment which will encourage butterflies, for conservation as well as enjoying seeing myriads of colors that butterflies come in, can make a small contribution by making a butterfly garden. Like any other garden, butterfly garden requires a little bit of effort, a lot of care, and a fair amount of knowledge about the plants to choose from.
Making a butterfly garden will add to the global conservation effort along with beautifying the garden and make it more aromatic. There are hundreds of plants and flowers that will attract butterflies and contrary to popular belief, shrubs and bushes too play an important part in butterfly gardens. The icing on the cake is that it will provide lots of avenues for some exotic photography too.
Autumn Sage, Marigolds, Sweet Pepperbush and Phlox are the most popular plants but the list is long. Plants like Morning Glory and Butterfly Bush, also known as Buddleia, too catch the attention of butterflies. Among shrubs and bushes one can choose New Jersey Tea Tree and/or the Hawthorn Bush. Wildflowers, like Spearmint, Ironweed or Thistles also encourage butterflies.
Once the choice is made one has simply to consider carefully as to where to plant them for maximum benefit. With this half the job is over, one can turn to taking care of the plants and the butterfly population that they will encourage.
Insects like, spiders, ants, flies, wasps, and birds are dangerous for butterflies. The difficult part is that one cannot use pesticides indiscriminately to kill these insects as pesticides are harmful to caterpillars, larvae, and butterflies. The blood-sucking insects, aphids, cannot be controlled by pesticides. It is a tricky situation but nature provides answers where human efforts become unviable. Whereas other insects can be controlled by the use of traps, the natural way to control aphids is to release ladybugs and other bugs that do not harm butterflies. Sometimes a simple spray of water on aphid infected plants will do the job.
Butterflies are even attracted by what we call garden snacks and mashed up fruits like watermelon, bananas, and oranges too will help with making the garden more conducive to butterfly population.
One need not worry that something wrong is being done by increasing the population of the butterflies in this manner. Mother Nature has its own logic and balances every thing in its own way. Butterflies too are vulnerable to disease and viruses.