|taken at Zoro Garden|
Having attended the 'How to Build and Maintain a Better Butterfly Garden' seminar by Pat Pawlowski of Animated Gardens this past week, I'm all fired up to attract Monarchs into my garden at home. The lecture, hosted by the San Diego Floral Association, was not only informative but truly enthralling. As she recounted her own history with her ongoing infatuation with butterflies, Pat's passion for nature and her commitment to sharing her knowledge shone through as she whipped out the basics with endearing humor and humility. She walked us through the four stages of the butterfly life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult butterfly) and told us that the secret to attracting butterflies is providing what is needed for each of those four stages. Each species of butterfly is associated with its own type of host plant. Because I'm interested in attracting Monarchs, I'd plant Milkweeds. The female Monarchs lay their eggs on the Milkweed family in particular because they have the nutrients that will sustain the Monarch caterpillar (which Pat has deemed 'the cutest'). The chrysalis stage only requires a sheltered spot while the transformation happens. The adult butterfly needs nectar, so a garden with a variety of flowers will keep the adults flitting around the yard. (Lantana, Butterfly Bush, Verbena, Pentas, Aster, Zinnia and Purple Cone Flower just to name a few) A water source, a rock to bask on and a pesticide free atmosphere (there was an entire hand out dedicated to 'Beneficial Buggy Buddies') are all necessary for success. She topped off the lecture with recommended books like The Butterfly Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes and Ernest Williams or California Butterflies by John S Garth and J W Tilden. She also gave handouts of additional resources like The Monarch Program , The Natural History Museum's Entomology and Botany Departments , she advocated for native plant education (CA Native Plant Society) and nurseries( Las Pilitas Nursery). I'd recommend buying her booklet: We ended the seminar with a walk over to the Zoro Garden where there were many varieties of nectar plants and butterflies identified. I'd highly recommend this seminar to gardeners of all experience levels. Bravo Pat!