Butterfly Gardening

If it’s not to late and you haven’t already purchased all your plants for the year you might consider some plants that attract and sustain our native butterflies and pollinators. There are several great resources for our state. The first is a NebGuide by Steve Spomer and Kim Todd titled “Butterfly Gardening.” It is available online at http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g1183/build/g1183.htm or at your local extension office. The second is a guide/application for a pollinator garden which is at https://entomology.unl.edu/pollinatorapp.pdf. Between the two they will assist you in finding plants for your property that will help our insect friends survive in our ever changing world. The only addition I might have is Rue (Ruta graveolins) which in my yard has proved extremely hardy and serves as a larval hostplant for both Black and Giant Swallowtails.

I would encourage planting species native to this area (other than rue of course) as they should require little care and are familiar to the native insect fauna. Had I to start my prairie garden over I would take the Nature Conservancy approach and gather local seeds and start from there. But alas at this late stage I just buy “native” potted plant species, sourced locally if possible. As the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum is closed with the rest of the UNL campus I will not endorse any one particular nursery over another. I will leave that to all of you in the comments section.

Happy gardening – (here is a picture of a butterfly milkweed from a Pawnee County road ditch). My screen saver and something I aspire to have in my yard someday

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