The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is perhaps the most popular butterfly in the world. Its large size and contrasting orange and black coloration make it highly recognizable and its annual migration of up to 3,000 miles south make it seen by more people than perhaps any other species of butterfly in the world.
I have been a butterfly gardener for many years. Each year I try to add to existing gardens or take out gardens that don’t seem to be performing as well as I would like (when I say perform, I mean attracting butterflies). This year I wanted to do something new with an existing garden that over the past few years had just become overgrown, not only with weeds but with wildflowers and trees as well. This 13 foot by 13 foot garden had become unmanageable and with the exception of a butterfly bush and a wafer ash tree, nothing in it was attracting butterflies (the wafer ash was attracting giant swallowtails pretty regularly).
Gardening, without a doubt, is one of the best hobbies out there, for many different reasons. First off, it gets you out into the fresh air and you truly get to interact with nature. It is relaxing and yet the payoff is amazing. Whether it is the resulting vegetables from your gardens, fruit from your trees or the gorgeous flowers that bloom, there is no better feeling of satisfaction than the one you get after growing something yourself. Everyone has their type of gardening preference; whether it is growing fruits and vegetables or just growing flowers. Mine is butterfly gardening. This will be a work-in-progress so check back often.