Sunday, June 13, 2010

Butterfly madness.

Today while working in the yard, i noticed there seemed to be a lot of butterflies fluttering around. i grabbed my camera, and followed a few who led me to the Silky Dogwood tree in the front yard. The entire tree was covered in Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies.

We counted about 28 just on this one Silky Dogwood tree (we have two).

They kept fluttering about and changing places, and i'm sure there were more than that! Everytime Sage would startle them, the tree would just explode with butterflies, who would lift up just a bit then light back down on the flowers.

These are Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele and you can find more info about them here. We found and raised a Great Spangled fritillary caterpiller earlier this spring, and released the butterfly just a couple weeks ago.

The kids were fascinated by all the butterflies, and we tried several thing to get the butterflies to come to us. First they rubbed some of the flower pollen on their fingers and held their hands up, but the butterlflies showed no interest. So we picked one of the dogwood flowers, and held it up and one of the butterflies lighted upon it.

We did this several times, and had lots of butterflies come down and visit our flower. They were in such a pollen frenzy that you could almost reach out and touch them.

There are many trees and plants that you can grow to attract butterflies. The Silky Dogwood is one that will attract a variety of butterflies and birds It is a native tree, that produces blue-black berries. These fruits are particularly important for migrating songbirds. Making the Silky Dogwood a really good choice for natural landscaping and for turning your backyard into a wildlife habitat. Some other favorite butterfly attracting plants are Echinacea (Purple Cone flowers), Swamp milkweed, butterfly weed and Bee balm.

This website has lots of info on attracting butterflies and creating your own butterfly garden.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne