One of the delights in my garden this month has been butterfly watching. We have three or four large butterfly bushes covered with purple flowers in shades from dark to light. My sister gave them to me five years ago as small sprouts and every year they spread and grow bigger. I keep them pruned short and thin out the branches but they grow so quickly it is hard to keep up with them. I cut off the spent blooms as often as I can in order to encourage more flowers. The butterflies and bees love them.
Every afternoon while my boys are playing in the sandbox or zooming around on bikes along the side of the house I sit and watch the butterflies and take pictures. The most frequent visitors are monarchs, swallowtails and white spotted skippers. We saw a red spotted admiral the other day but my camera wasn't handy so I didn't get it recorded.
This is a white spotted skipper. I am amazed at how calm they are, letting me get right up in their face with my camera. The swallowtails don't mind me either. The monarchs are a little more skittish and they don't like to rest with their wings open so it is hard to get a really good shot.
I have found some websites about butterflies and how to attract them to your garden. The Butterflysite.com has beautiful pictures to help you identify what you have seen in your garden. They also have printable coloring pictures. They offer a list of plants that attract butterflies, host plants for the caterpillars and lists of what butterflies live in your area.
The Smithsonian Butterfly Garden site has four distinct habitates set up for visitors to see butterflies living in their natural environment. If you can't visit in person you can take the online interactive tour and see beautiful photographs.
Simply Butterflies is a site with beautiful pictures of butterflies that will help you identify what you are seeing in your garden. There is a brief description of the butterfly's distinguishing marks and notes on what plants they like. You can scroll down the page and compare the photos quickly so it is easy to find the ones you are wondering about.
I would love to hear from you about what butterflies you have seen in your garden and what plants you have that attract them. Leave me a comment with a link to your post if you've blogged about your garden this week. What's growing outside your door?