I have been on the search for the ultimate butterfly gardening guide for awhile now and with this one concentrating on the use of native plants, thought I would add it to my library. Up until recently I hadn’t taken into consideration the importance of using native species so wanted to learn more.
In the past, butterfly gardening was basically buying nectar plants that would attract butterflies, whether they were native or not. What people initially didn’t realize was that native butterflies responded to non-native plants differently than with natives. On top of that, it was possible that the non-natives would eventually crowd out the natives, which is what the butterflies would actually prefer to go to. Thankfully this is now a recognized issue and books are being produced to address this problem.
I came across this book, and author Christopher Kline, just recently and became very interested in what he had to offer. This book, though only 124 pages, is of a nice quality and has some great information for the butterfly enthusiast. Books like this need to be more readily available so that butterfly gardeners start out the right way.
“Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants” is broken up into six chapters:
How to Use This Book
Butterfly Gardening Basics
Garden Design Basics
Common Butterflies in the Garden
Gardener’s Guide to Host Plants
As an introductory book it is highly recommended. I love the garden designs provided and plan on using these both at home and at work. The butterfly species covered are the most common ones that you may encounter, but keep in mind that Christopher is from the Ohio area so a lot of this information is more geared for that part of the United States. I did find though that most of the species he lists are native to my area as well so this book works quite well for me.
For each butterfly species, he covers description of species, season, habitat, host plants and a section called “Attracting to Your Garden,” a nice bonus of what you can have specifically in your garden to attract each species. At the top of the page is also a calendar showing the months of the year that you should be able to see each species. For each species there are also pictures showing the upper wings as well as undersides, for easy identification. There is also usually a picture of one of the hostplants.
For each nectar plant species, he covers description of species, what season the plant is in bloom, what kind of habitat they can be found in naturally as well as what butterfly species are attracted to it. As with the butterflies, he also includes a calendar showing the blooming time and there are pictures for identification.
The host plant section is in chart form and has an area on trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. Each species is then broken down by Common Name, Scientific Name, Height, Sun/Shade, Flower Color, Full Color and the Associated Butterfly. In the back of the book are also some blank pages, where you can take your own notes.
Overall, this is a great book for the butterfly enthusiast, especially if attracting them to your hard is something you want to do and do correctly. My only recommendation is to cross reference the species he lists to make sure that they are also native to your area as well. To buy your own copy, just click on the image below.
Look for more on Christopher Kline soon, including a review of his book “Tropical Butterflies of American Conservatories” and an interview with the man himself.