In the news recently was the fact that more vegetable seeds are now being bought than flowers which shows that growing food crops is now more popular than ever. While fruit and vegetables are grown for use in the kitchen, flowers are tended for our enjoyment. And if we grow the right flowers we can also enjoy visits from butterflies. This extra benefit is described as the fourth dimension by Benjamin Vogt in his article which I found on the Fix website.
Having a garden is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Tangible benefits can be gained from interacting directly with the natural world, including healing faster after an illness and improving kids’ creativity and learning. Just think about how the scent of an aster or the feel of its petals completely changes your mood! Flowers and other plants are beautiful and inspiring, but what I call the fourth dimension in gardening is even more so. This fourth dimension includes the insects and favorable wildlife that are attracted to your garden. Here, I will talk about butterflies, whose color and life are as beautiful as a wind-blown meadow. How can you welcome these insects into your garden year-round?
First, it’s important to select plants that are native to your region. Butterflies and other insects have evolved with the bloom time and taste of plants they know best. When properly sited, native plants can be easier to maintain. Great sources for native plants can be found via the Pollinator Partnership’s regional guides and at sites like Find Native Plants. Make sure you incorporate host plants for caterpillars – zizia for black swallowtails, milkweed for monarchs, and baptisia for sulphurs. Many native grasses, such as bluestem and sideoats grama, are also host plants, as are trees such as oaks, elms, and willows. Whatever you plant, go for diversity of height, bloom size, and leaf texture – the more diverse your garden, the more life it will support from egg to wing.
See more at Fix