Butterfly Gardening: a new book by The Xerces Society
|Spicebush Swallowtail visiting butterfly weed|
But despite people's enthusiasm for butterflies they, like many other insects, are in peril. I have noticed in my own garden, that butterfly populations fluctuate from year to year. Some years I have an abundance of a certain species, while other years there seems to be more diversity. Mounting evidence is showing that butterflies as a whole, not just the Monarchs, have been in decline at exceptional rates.
|Monarch on Ageratum|
The forward, written by Robert Michael Pyle of Gray's River, Washington pens that "by nurturing, enriching, and diversifying your own habitat of home, you are taking part in real butterfly conservation."
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Carolina Jessamine|
|Question Mark finding minerals in sandy soil in driveway|
A large part of the book consists of native plant profiles, which support butterflies. Beyond garden design, the authors discuss plant selection, installation and maintenance. I was thrilled to see an entire chapter on gardening for moths included.
|Pearl Crescent on coreopsis|
And even if you don't have a place to garden at home, the book (and arguably perhaps the most important section) discusses how to get your community to incorporate gardens to support wildlife, be it businesses, college campuses, parks and greenspaces, roadsides and utility corridors, or farms and wild areas.
|gray hairstreak on summersweet|
|The Xerces Society 'Gardening for Butterflies' page 265|
This book will benefit novice and veteran butterfly gardeners alike. Whether you are looking to start a garden that attracts these beautiful creatures or spruce up and expand your established butterfly garden there is information in here for you. Reviewing the best plants for butterfly gardens (by region), I found that there are still a few plants I need to add to our garden.
|Eastern Tiger swallowtail on buttonbush|