Spring Home and Garden

2017

Goldsboro News-Argus - Spring Home and Garden

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By BECKY BARCLAY bbarclay@newsargus.com A butterfly garden not only looks pretty and smells good, but it will provide you with hours of watching colorful butter- flies. And you'll know that you are helping them survive by feeding them. Just how much space you devote to your but- terfly garden depends on your personal prefer- ences, according to Wayne County Master Gardener Kenneth Dunn. "How much space do you want to take care of and enjoy" is the first question to ask yourself, he said. "Before starting your butterfly garden, you need to cultivate the soil, add compost and decide what garden layout you desire," Dunn said. There is a multitude of different plants you can use in your garden. The Wayne County Master Gardeners group has a publication at the Coop- erative Extension office titled "Butterflies in Your Backyard." It's published by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at North Caroli- na State University. The publication lists some native plants specifically for North Carolina butterflies and some native nectar plants and their primary blooming period. How many plants you use in your garden depends on how many you can take care of, Dunn said. He said the more the variety, the bet- ter. "The garden needs to be in full sun," Dunn said. "Secondly, you need a source of water close by, providing one inch of water per week." There are many bene- fits to having a butterfly garden. "The flowers attract butterflies and bees," Dunn said. "All trees, vegetables and plants need pollina- tion to produce the fresh food that people desire in their diet." Plus, watching butter- flies come to your garden can be relaxing. If you want more infor- mation about starting your own butterfly gar- den, the Wayne County Master Gardeners has a plant clinic that opens in April, Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can call the clinic at 919-731-1520. • Jessica Strickland, agriculture agent for hor- ticulture with Wayne County Cooperative Extension, gives these tips for attracting butter- flies to a garden or land- scape: • Nectar sources Butterflies enter a gar- den to look for food. For butterflies, their food is nectar. There are certain plants with flowers that produce sweet nectar that butterflies would use as food. Many butter- flies prefer plants that have pink, red, purple, yellow or orange flowers. • Host plants for cater- pillars An important part of the butterfly's life cycle is the larval stage when it is a caterpillar. A caterpillar needs food sources for weeks of eat- ing before turning into a pupa. Even though the caterpillars are hungry eaters they are picky. The adult female but- terflies seek out specific host plants to lay their eggs on so the caterpil- lars will have their pre- ferred plant to eat. For example, the monarch caterpillar feeds only on the foliage of milkweed. It will be important to provide a variety of native host plants to attract a wide variety of butterflies and their caterpillars. • Sunny spots When considering a location for a butterfly garden, remember that butterflies love the sun. A bright sunny area with at least six hours of sun and one that's protected from high winds is an ideal location for attract- ing butterflies. One area does not have to be designated for a butterfly garden; you can choose to mix plants that would attract butterflies within the rest of the landscape and still attract butterflies. • Puddles Oftentimes we see groups of butterflies gather on wet sand or mud. This is an activity called "puddling," and the butterflies are going to the wet sand or mud to obtain minerals from the soil. Adding some small "puddling" areas in a butterfly garden will also help attract butterflies. A shallow pan can be placed in the soil and filled with sand. The sand needs to be kept moist, which can be easi- ly done by placing the pan under a soaker hose or near a water source. You can mix in salt (table salt or rock salt) to the sand at a rate of 1/2 to 3/4 cup salt to 1 gallon of sand to provide some minerals for the butter- flies. For more information about attracting butter- flies to your garden, log onto https://content.ces.ncsu.e du/butterflies-in-your- backyard. 4 — Spring, Home & Garden Thursday, March 16, 2017 You've created a style all your own. The colors, the furnishings. They're you. Your family and friends find comfort here. Now let us show you a better, affordable way to protect your home and loved ones. We offer exceptional service and a brand range of coverages backed by the assurance that we'll be there when you need us. Call us today. 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Not only will you be helping the butterflies, but you can see all of the different kinds that will frequent your garden. Photo submitted All plants need butterflies, such as this one, for pollination. Photo submitted A butterfly garden will be mostly flowers and other plants, but it could also contain other features to spruce it up, such as a bird bath, ornamental stones and other things. Photo submitted For your own butterfly garden, you'll want to use a variety of different flow- ers and plants in a variety of different colors. Butterfly garden, pretty and functional

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