A Bee and Butterfly Garden is simply a garden that has been mindfully planted and cultivated with plants and flowers which attract these lovely little insects. You can quite easily transform your garden or back yard into an appealing haven for bees and butterflies, providing a safe place for them to rest, feed, and find mates.
Why are Butterfly and Bee Gardens Important?
The population of bees and butterflies is declining worldwide as a result of the presence of parasites, the use of pesticides and herbicides, and climate change. This is not only incredibly sad; it is also a potential tragedy and threat to our very existence, as we rely on bees and butterflies (as well as hummingbird pollinators) to pollinate our food supply and the food supply for other animals, bird, and insect life. Without bees and butterflies, at best, the world would be a much less colorful place. At worst, we would all be ultimately doomed.
By cultivating a bee and butterfly garden with plants that attract them and provide them with shelter, we can each play our own small but important role in maintaining and building thriving happy bee and butterfly populations in our local area for now and into the future.
What are the benefits of a butterfly garden?
- More bees buzzing and butterflies fluttering in your garden in the warmer months
- Stunning floral displays
- Better harvest of flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables
- Actively promote stronger local bee and butterfly populations
- Encourage biodiversity
- A sustainable, enjoyable hobby
Growing Butterflies from Caterpillars can be a Fun and Educational Experience for you and Your Children to do together. Did you know that you can buy Butterfly Kits to Grow your own Butterflies
Starting a Butterfly and Bee Garden.
It doesn’t take much to start a butterfly and bee garden, and you can be as active or relaxed in this endeavor as you desire. To a certain extent, simply being a little lazier about your garden can be a great first step!
- Contrary to what you may expect, a manicured lawn is not an oasis for bees and butterflies. So keep some parts of your yard “messy”. Allow some small twig piles to remain on the ground in spring and some fallen leaves to remain in autumn. Don’t over-prune and don’t be too quick to pull up flowering weeds like clover.
- Build (or purchase) a hive or insect house where pollinators can lay their eggs and hunker down over winter. If you purchase a pollinator house, ensure it’s made from nontoxic wood.
- Never spray pesticides! These are most toxic to bees and butterflies and ultimately affect the pollen and nectar of entire plants.
- Predatory wasps, flies, spiders, praying mantises, twig insects, and ladybugs have an important role to play and a place in your garden. Nocturnal visitors like bats are also great as they eat crop pests.
- Plant pollinator plants – including natives and clumps of plants of many shapes, scents, and colors. Include larval host plants as well for caterpillars.
Tips for your Bee and Butterfly Garden
- Provide a shallow water source for these little critters. A great idea is a shallow bowl or dish filled with marbles, twigs, or pebbles and topped with water; the insects can land on these to drink without drowning. Empty and refill regularly to keep it fresh.
- Dead branches or tree trunks can be a great home for wild bees.
- Plant a diverse array of flowering plants in preference to having a larger lawn area.
- Single flower tops like marigolds and daisies provide much more nectar and easier pollen access than double tops like impatiens.
- Avoid minimally-seeding hybrid plants.
- Plant to maximize blooming throughout the seasons.
Attract bees and butterflies to your garden with plants such as:
Varieties of flowers and plants native to your area maybe different to these listed, so check with your local nursery.
- Cut-leaf Daisy
- Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Marjoram
- Pincushion Hakea
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Flannel Flower
Did you Know:
- That bees prefer flowers that are blue or yellow?
- That butterflies are more attracted to flowers that are red, yellow, orange, purple, and pink?
- That native bees rarely sting?
- That wasps eat aphids?
- That male bumblebees have little tiny mustaches?
- That bees are vegetarians?
Enjoy your butterfly and bee garden, and learn to identify your little visitors. We guarantee you’ll love welcoming them!