Butterfly-friendly plants

Part of the fun of sowing all these seeds is the need to plan what to do with them.

On the last day of winter vacation from school, I took the kids to the local science museum. A visit to the butterfly house–always one of my favorite spots–inspired me to dig through the seed packets and see what butterfly-friendly plants I might grow for next year.DSC_0755

Butterfly gardening is not an entirely new concept to me, but thus far I’ve preferred to plant for hummingbirds. But who can resist butterflies? It’s time to add to the mix. So I started Datura ‘Ballerina Yellow‘ and a pan of mixed hibiscus. DSC_0771

I already have plenty of rue and bronze fennel, which are terrific host plants. Amsonia, coreopsis, and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) are also ones I both own and have sown this winter. And Maryland wild senna, which will be a new one for me this year, is a primary host for butterflies from the sulphur family.

blue morpho cropped DSC_0771I’m limited in the area of my garden that receives full sun, but I’ll pepper these plants around where I can. The Joe Pye and Amsonia can go in the blue slope, the coreopsis can go on the south-side walkway, and the Maryland wild senna can go in a few different spots, to see where it will thrive.

Here’s a good primer on butterfly gardening, if you care to learn more.

More winter sowing

Part of the adventure of winter sowing is not knowing precisely what you’ll get. I mentioned I sowed some Digitalis, but I don’t know what species. Also included in the package and sown last night are

The Papaver s. Danebrog and the stinging nettles were seeds I had left over and thought to give them a try with this technique. We’ll see what happens. I’ve never had much luck with poppies but their flowers are irresistible to me, so I’ll keep trying. As for the nettles, I’m not crazy. They make an excellent fertilizer if you cut them and let them steep in water for a few weeks. Just wear gloves. It is said that it is possible to touch them without getting stung, but that has not been my experience.  I grow mine in a container (as I will with the soapwort mentioned in my previous post) to keep them from traveling.