WPC: Rare Beauty

August 20, 2016 Butterflies 010

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Butterflies visit our gardens for just a few weeks of the year.  These delicate, colorful creatures float from flower to flower on warm summer days.  Their presence brings our garden to life. 

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August 20, 2016 Butterflies 005

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Certain butterflies grow more rare, each passing year, in the United States.  The chemical assault on butterflies, at all stages of their life cycle, have decimated their numbers.  Herbicides destroy  their habitat and host plants.  Pesticides, often designed to kill other insects, also kill many adult butterflies and their larvae.

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August 20, 2016 Butterflies 020

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Organic  gardeners can provide an oasis of safety for butterflies to lay their eggs, for their larvae to grow, and for adults to feed along the path of their migration.  We consciously designed a butterfly friendly certified Wildlife Habitat to help support butterflies at all stages of their life cycle.

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We plan for the appearance of the first spring butterflies returning from their migration, and have nectar rich flowers blooming to greet them.

We grow  the favored trees, herbs and perennials needed by growing Monarch and swallowtail caterpillars.  And we fill our garden with nectar plants to fuel the adults for their long flight south each autumn.

Lantana, the flowers they are feeding on today, proves their absolute favorite.  Its blooms attract butterflies like no other!  Lantana blooms prolifically until killed by the first heavy frost in early winter.

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Swallowtail butterfly beauties, which have grown alarmingly rare in recent years, fill our garden on summer days like today.  I counted at least six individual swallowtails feeding as I worked in the garden this morning.

This makes us happy, to see our garden come alive with butterflies; their flight from flower to flower showing us that all of our gardening efforts have a greater purpose.

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As gardeners across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America each create safe havens for butterflies, and other migrating wildlife, on their own properties; we can hope the butterfly population will recover.

My great dream is that populations of these exquisite creatures will rebound.  Their appearance no longer a sighting of rare beauty…..

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August 20, 2016 Butterflies 014

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Rare

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August 20, 2016 Butterflies 018

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

12 responses to “WPC: Rare Beauty

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare | stenoodie

  2. I share your dream. I hope one day the monarch will rebound. I thought I saw one in my garden today, but it turned out to be a viceroy, similar looking to a monarch. We’ve had lots of fritillaries, yellow tiger swallowtails, skippers and checkerspots. All beautiful!

  3. What nice pictures, I’m glad to hear you’re seeing more butterflies.

    • Thank you ❤ We are thrilled to finally have our garden filled with butterflies again. They love when I water, and there was a wonderful Zebra Swallowtail playing in the spray yesterday morning, flying back and forth with such delight. Hope you are well and enjoying your garden as summer winds down ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. I wish beautiful butterflies like that would visit my Lantana. 🙂

    • I’ll send a few your way 😉 Many of the swallowtails use particular trees for their host plants. I believe we have the right trees in the surrounding woods to support their larvae. There is a particular North American native cherry tree which is known for supporting lots of caterpillar species. We don’t have it in our garden- disclaimer- but you might look into planting such trees to encourage more butterflies in future years. I hope a few visit your Lantana soon ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. Pingback: Rare (Shoe) | What's (in) the picture?

  6. Getting such beautiful pictures of butterflies is rare.

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