Thursday, March 8, 2012

Butterfly Watching

Have you seen them yet? Butterflies that is, fluttering around your garden. While I haven’t seen a large number of individuals yet, I have seen a good number of types of butterflies and moths fluttering around or on my plants. The images in this post are of a salt marsh moth, Estigmene acrea, that seemed to show up from nowhere just after emerging from its cocoon. (After reading about its pupal stage, I think it most likely emerged from the leaf litter at the base of the wall and crawled up the wall a bit to a sunny spot to “stretch its wings”. It was fascinating to watch its wings expand and become ready for flight over the next couple of hours.

You may be lucky enough to see something similar at the Butterflies in the Garden exhibit at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. They usually have a butterfly hatching area. The butterflies that you will find at the exhibit are all tropical varieties. They are a lot of fun to watch flying around the conservatory. Sometimes they even land on visitors. This exhibit will be in Fort Worth through April 8, 2012 and you can find out more information on the Botanic Gardens website.

You can usually find information about out how to attract butterflies to your garden at this exhibit that comes to the Botanic Gardens every other year. One way to encourage butterflies to come to your garden for you to watch is to plant nectar plants for the adult butterflies. I will have some good butterfly nectar plants available for sale at the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market on Saturday, March 31 from 8 am to 1 pm. There will also be short gardening talks at the Market that day on a variety of topics as part of the Smart Yard Symposium. If you are in the area, come out and say hi. Contact me if you want an on site evaluation of how to attract more butterflies to your garden.

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